Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: Sidney Crosby
from Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
The Selke Trophy is handed out annually to the NHL's best two-way forward. Crosby's defensive numbers are at career-best levels, and they're on par with every Selke nominee over the past half-decade, guys like Jonathan Toews, Patrice Bergeron and Pavel Datsyuk.
So can Crosby win the Selke?
“Why not?” said assistant coach Rick Tocchet, who has worked with Crosby to refine his defensive game. “He's going against the elite players on the other team a lot of nights. When you're on the plus side a lot of those nights, you have to be considered.”...
How is Crosby's game different? Essentially he's around his own net more. On 50-50 plays, where he once might have cheated toward offense, Crosby is staying below the puck and supporting the defensemen. There are slower, safer breakouts. And he's not taking as many risks.
Things looked grim for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the beginning moments of Saturday’s tilt against the Boston Bruins when Evgeni Malkin briefly left the game after a strong shoulder from Chris Kelly. He would later return.
Malkin did not return to the bench at the start of the 2nd period.
Also, Sidney Crosby took the pre-game but was a late scratch by the Penguins.
Only update from the Penguins...
Sidney Crosby took pre-game warmup but determined that he could not play in the Bruins/Penguins game
Watch his pre-game skate below...
"I wouldn't change anything I'm doing, to be honest with you. I'm working hard. I'm doing my best. If people's expectations are higher than mine, then I can't change that."
-Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins after practice today. More on and from Crosby by Shelly Anderson at the Vancouver Province.
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Haven't seen you around much,” Crosby said. “What's going on?”
I had the same question for him.
After our talk, I'm convinced that answer is one we all should have seen coming but couldn't because nobody likes to acknowledge the one opponent who is undefeated and never really challenged.
Father Time is a jerk. His most hurtful prank is sneaking up on us.
Crosby is 27, which seems so wonderfully young for a professional athlete. That age, or thereabouts that age, is thought to be the prime for an athlete. That's what it is for the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen (28) and the Steelers' Antonio Brown (26).
McCutchen and Brown have combined to play 11 seasons at the highest level of their respective sports. Crosby is finishing his 10th NHL season, and his 95 postseason games have him essentially working into a 12th campaign with the Penguins.
That's a lot of whacks to the lower back, slashes behind the knees, hip checks into the boards and pucks shot off unprotected skate boots.
It's all been too much for anybody to fairly expect continued dominance by Crosby. A toll was inevitable, and we all ignored the obvious signs last year, during and after the Olympics, that Crosby had already paid a steep price.
This was unexpected:
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby still has more than half of his career in front of him, and there's a growing consensus he's already a lock for the Hockey Hall of Fame.
"I'd have put him in the Hall of Fame last night," NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes said.
Mike Rupp, Crosby's former teammate, also said he'd vote Crosby into the Hockey Hall of Fame if Crosby never played another game. Former NHL goalie and longtime television analyst Darren Pang said the same thing. So did NBC analyst Eddie Olczyk, who was Crosby's first NHL coach.
"No doubt," Pang said. "There isn't even any hesitation on my behalf."
"I would for sure, because of the personal history," said Olczyk, who will call the NBC Game of the Week on Sunday between the Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.
Olczyk said the only blemish he can find on Crosby's resume is the disappointing finishes the Penguins have had since winning the Stanley Cup in 2009. Crosby has been the face of some of that disappointment in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, particularly last season when he had one goal and nine points in 13 games while playing with a bad wrist.
from David Ebner of the Globe and Mail,
Sidney Crosby is in a slump.
It is an odd thing to say about a hockey player who, as of Sunday morning, was the fourth-leading scorer in the NHL, 56 points in 49 games and only two points out of first....
There have been recent flashes of the real Crosby. Last Friday night in Calgary, he delivered two beautiful goals, the second of which was collected as a pass in full flight, after which he split the Calgary defence and cracked a laser of a wrist shot past the Flames goalie. But the next night, in Vancouver, the same old problems. Crosby looked strong and savvy at times – but managed only one shot at the net, a backhander from in close at a near-impossible angle that had no real hope of going in.
When he does get his chances – and Crosby is driving play this season, as always – the simple fact is he’s connecting at a strong but not superstar level.
This is Sidney Crosby in a slump: excellent, but not amazing.
His shooting percentage is 11.3 per cent, the lowest of his career looking at seasons when he’s been healthy, and the number is down several percentage points from his normal elite rate of 14 per cent-plus.
USA Today's Kevin Allen discussed the maturation of Sidney Crosby--or perhaps the lack of the need for any real maturation--in a particularly long "backgrounder," and this...Well, this is, in my opinion, why people find Crosby so frustrating in terms of his off-ice personality:
"I'm pretty old-fashioned," Crosby told USA TODAY Sports. "I never feel the need to say where I am. Because I do a lot of interviews, people might believe I want my opinion heard. But I don't ever feel a need to share my opinion. This just comes with the territory."
Some athletes bristle at tough questions, or joust with the news media about questions being asked. But that's not Crosby's style because it's not his personality.
"When you are asked a question, that question reflects someone else's opinion," Crosby said. "And my opinion may be different than their opinion, but it's not the place to get into an argument over my opinion and your opinion. They are trying to do their job the best they can, and I have to do my job by answering the question the best I can."
from Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
COLUMBUS, Ohio- Sidney Crosby's first decade in the NHL is almost over. And here is what he needs to know: Being Sidney Crosby isn't his job anymore.
Just being Sidney is all any of us should ask of “The Next One” who became “The One.”
Being Sidney Crosby meant breathing life into hockey after the NHL attempted to suffocate the game at its highest level. Being Sidney Crosby meant resuscitating a Penguins franchise that was on life support while calling a decaying Igloo home.
As Crosby became the world's finest player, Being Sidney Crosby came to mean raising the NHL and Penguins from their respective deathbeds. Either feat should have exhausted Crosby. Both tasks were too much to ask of any “Kid.”
Now a man at 27, Crosby can take the deep breath he is long overdue. His Penguins are perennial contenders. More importantly, they're financially sound, with 360 consecutive home sellouts and supreme regional TV ratings. His league is thriving, topping $4 billion in revenue, and working peacefully with its players' union to finally bring promise of tangible growth.
Being Sidney Crosby wasn't necessary here this weekend.
via the NHL,
Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby will miss the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game because of a lower-body injury, executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford said Thursday.
Crosby has been playing with the injury and will need about a week to heal, the Penguins said.
As a result of missing the All-Star Game, Crosby will not be permitted to play in Pittsburgh's home game on Jan. 27 against the Winnipeg Jets.
No explanation needed...
Because TSN doesn't give us nearly enough Bob McKenzie thanks to the NHL's new TV deal with both Sportsnet and McKenzie's TSN = a whole hell of a lot of geo-blocking videos, here's 2:35 of McKenzie talking about the NHL's mumps outbreak with NBCSN's Kathryn Tappen (via Pro Hockey Talk's Dhiren Mahibian).
McKenzie explains that Sidney Crosby had already suffered damage to his salivatory gland thanks to a scrap with Riley Nash, so that was the reason that the Penguins allowed him to meet with the media--and he does a superb job of explaining why childhood immunizations aren't 100% effective:
My hope is that the NHL's teams, which are finally providing booster shots to players, coaches and team personnel (from a Wings perspective, it was fascinating to hear Mike Babcock's lecture on the subject because he revealed that many European players don't get the mumps-measles-ruebella vaccine) will be fitting the bill for booster shots for the media.
Working with NHL players = understanding that you're going into an environment in which massive amounts of physical activity, sweaty equipment, heavy travel schedules and workloads for everybody and everyone bringing in the germs of any school-age kids to a giant petri dish of handshakes, coughing, spitting, sweating and talking in close proximity...
But the fact that this virus can be passed on while people aren't displaying symptoms + vaccine success rates in the 85% range = there's significant risk for not only the NHL's family, but also the families of the people who cover the team. Prophylactic immunization of all adults interacting regardless of employer makes the most sense here in terms of nipping this damn thing in the bud.
added 11:32am, via the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Sidney Crosby has been diagnosed with the mumps, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced today.
Crosby will continue to be monitored daily, but specialists believe he should be through the infectious period by Monday.
He will not play in Monday’s home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
via the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Sidney Crosby will be held out of the Pittsburgh Penguins' next two games as a precautionary measure, Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said today.
Crosby has not been feeling well. Medical specialists made the recommendation after further test results came back today.
"There is no indication at this time that this is the mumps, but we are going to hold him out as a precaution," Rutherford said. "We'll have additional test results in a few days."
The Penguins host Calgary tonight and play at Columbus Saturday.
A number of NHL players have been diagnosed with mumps in recent weeks.
from Cathal Kelly of the Globe and Mail,
We tend to forget that Sidney Crosby saved hockey.
That was the narrative pinned to him as he was drafted nearly a decade ago. The NHL had just lost the 2004-05 season. People were throwing around words like “beleaguered” and “troubled” in connection with the sport.
Though it didn’t turn out this way, everyone assumed hockey was going to take a post-lockout, baseball-style nosedive in popularity.
n the midst of all that angst and expectation, Crosby floated into our lives. He’s been there 10 years. It feels like 30. Crosby has risen to the highest conceptual plane any pro can reach – he’s become a means by which we measure time in our own lives.
He’s still only 27. But as Crosby begins to take on the lean look of athletic middle age, we’re reminded just how much older we’ve become since he arrived.
Sidney Crosby registered 5 assists in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 6-1 win over Buffalo on Saturday, and NHL.com posted a highlight clip spotlighting Crosby's assists:
(Oh, the oblviousness of the Root Sports gang...)
from Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun,
With the Penguins coming into Toronto to face the Leafs on Saturday, the Sun sat down with Crosby for a one-on-one looking back — and ahead — on his prestigious career. Without further ado, we present the fourth edition of Sidney Crosby: Unplugged.
First off, are we to assume that your healing wrist is fine after your three-point night against Anaheim on Thursday?
“I feel great. Healthy. Ready to go.”
You’ve taken a pretty good pounding in the first nine seasons of your career, including concussions. There actually have been claims that, even as you approach the prime of your career, your body is breaking down. How do you address those allegations?
“I don’t know. It’s not really up to me, I’m going to try to play the same way. I don’t know how you avoid that. I mean, you want to play in the Olympics. You want to play in the playoffs. And everything that goes with it. So, I’d much rather be harder on my body and competing than being on the outside looking in watching in April. If that’s a tradeoff, then I’ll take it.”
You’ve taken a physical beating during the playoffs, a time when opposing teams seem to target you even more than normal. How do you deal with that?
“I don’t think you are going to avoid that. I think that’s just the nature of it. It’s a different game, the playoffs. They don’t seem to call those games the same as they do in the regular season. You just have to deal with it, find ways to get through it and find ways to create. It’s team toughness. It’s picking your spots. It’s sticking together. There’s really no set rule....
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
They came into the league out of the ashes of a soul-sucking lockout that scuttled an entire season and got the kind of fanfare that precedes players maybe once in a generation.
They were asked to do nothing less than restore hope and guide the NHL into a new future, a new golden age of hockey.
So on many levels, it's hard to argue that Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin haven't delivered on those demands in spades, time and time again.
"They're still the face of the league. For sure they are," said one longtime NHL player who has worked at a number of positions with a number of teams around the league.
Between them, Crosby and Ovechkin have collected five Hart Trophies and six Ted Lindsay Awards as the players' MVP in the past eight seasons. And then there's Crosby's Stanley Cup ring and two Olympic gold medals.
"That's not going away," the source said of the two players' accomplishments, regardless of whatever issues assail their respective franchises.
from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
While Crosby didn’t necessarily anticipate an offseason quite as chaotic as the one the Penguins experienced this summer — when general manager Ray Shero, coach Dan Bylsma and assistant coaches Tony Granato and Todd Reirden were fired and a number of established players left the organization — he figured a fifth consecutive playoff loss to a lower-seeded opponent might have major repercussions.
“I knew, obviously, everyone wasn’t pleased with the way things happened,” Crosby said after an informal workout Wednesday at Consol Energy Center. “At that point, you don’t know what’s going to happen and you know there are going to be changes, but to what extent, I didn’t really even think about it.
“I knew everyone was going to have to answer for it, so to speak. It’s just something you have to deal with when you don’t win, and the expectation is [high]. It’s never a fun time.”
Bylsma has been replaced by Mike Johnston, who will be Crosby’s fourth coach in the NHL. He broke in under Eddie Olczyk before playing for Michel Therrien and Bylsma.
His relationship with Johnston is in its embryonic stages, but Crosby seems impressed by the way Johnston has approached his first few months on the job, citing the new coach’s “calm demeanor” and the way he has tried to connect with his new players in the offseason....
“Hockey is all the same language once you get on the ice, but I think he wants to get to know guys personally. It was great by him to do that.”
Oh boy. Per the QMI News Agency:
Pittsburgh Penguins centre Sidney Crosby was arrested by Ottawa Police late Tuesday while driving a rented Porsche, sources have told QMI Agency.
Reasons of his arrest were unknown, but appear to be driving related.
Sources say Crosby was taken to the Ottawa police headquarters on Elgin street for fingerprinting and a mugshot.
It is unknown at this time why the NHL star was in Ottawa.
Ottawa Police have been unable to be reached for comment.
I hope he's okay and I hope that this isn't what I think it might be.
added 7:57am, via the CP and TSN,
Ottawa police are denying a published report that they arrested NHL superstar Sidney Crosby.
QMI Agency quoted sources as saying the Pittsburgh Penguins captain was arrested late Tuesday while driving a rented Porsche.
The report said the reason for the arrest was unknown but that it appeared to be "driving related."
The Ottawa police duty desk told The Canadian Press: "It never happened."
Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau also tweeted that the police "have had no dealings with Mr. Crosby."
The Penguins also confirmed to TSN that Crosby is in Vail, Colorado training for the start of the season. "Penguins confirm, Crosby is in Vail, Colorado training this week," tweeted TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger on Wednesday morning.
Paul and I scratched our heads regarding the Naples News' rather relaxed interview with Sidney Crosby, who was skating at Germain Arena in Esthero, FL (home of the ECHL's Florida Everblades) alongside Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo...But strength and conditioning coach Darryl Belfry's camp was supposed to be hush-hush from the get-go, so protocol ws followed.
The AP made sure to dispatch a correspondent to speak with Crosby before he left Southwestern Florida, however, and Crosby addressed the state of his not-surgically-repaired right wrist (albeit in classic Cliche Crosby mode)...
Pittsburgh Penguins star center Sidney Crosby's right wrist appears to be on the road to recovery. The reigning NHL MVP said Friday he's pleased with the way his wrist has responded to treatment over the summer and is anxious for training camp to begin as the Penguins try to recover from their second-round collapse in the playoffs.
"It's good," Crosby said. "You want to see how things progress throughout the summer once you start skating and get back to that regular routine. You want to see how it reacts so I'm happy with the way it's gone."
And Crosby addressed his team's roster, behind-the-bench and front office changes as well (and the AP reports that David Clarkson also attended the camp):
via Ryan Toohey of the Naples Daily News,
Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby and a handful other NHL players wrapped up a week of training at Germain Arena on Friday.
Rookie of the Year Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche, John Tavares and Kyle Okopso of the New York Islanders, and David Clarkson of the Toronto Maple Leafs also have been in town.
The star-studded group of players traveled to Southwest Florida to train with performance coach Darryl Belfry.
“The environment here is nice – it’s relaxed,” Crosby said. “You’re able to recharge a little bit here before the season starts."
Below, watch Crosby talk about the training the players went through. Of course, if the video does not play, just click the Naples Daily News link.
from Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Sidney Crosby isn't having arthroscopic surgery on his injured right wrist, after all.
Not yet, anyway.
But if the injections he has decided to receive in lieu of an operation don't have the desired effect, Crosby still could undergo surgery before training camp opens in September.
"If this treatment works, you avoid surgery and move on," Pat Brisson, who is Crosby's agent, said Tuesday. "If it doesn't, he will have to go that [surgical] route."
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, citing a source who requested anonymity, reported last Wednesday that Crosby was going to have surgery on his injured wrist "within the next few days."
Brisson confirmed that, as of July 8, "a couple of doctors [had] recommended the surgery," but said Crosby sought another opinion the next day and received yet another -- this one, from the doctor who suggested the injections -- Monday.
via the Pittsburgh Penguins,
Statement from Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford:
“After seeking additional medical advice, doctors have decided not to perform surgery on Sidney Crosby’s wrist. Sid will continue treatments and be evaluated regularly while he prepares for training camp in September.”
Sidney Crosby is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on his right wrist within the next few days to repair damage that a source said impeded his performance in the postseason.
Despite saying during and after the Stanley Cup playoffs that he was at full health, the Penguins center "did play with a terrible wrist," the source said Tuesday night.
Crosby could not be reached for comment.
An individual close to Crosby, who requested anonymity, said the surgical procedure "is not major, but you can't play the same way" with the kind of injury Crosby had.
From the NHL:
NHL ANNOUNCES 2013-14 ALL-STAR TEAMS
LAS VEGAS (June 24, 2014) -- Center Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and defenseman Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins, who each earned his third career berth on the First All-Star Team, head the list of players voted to the 2013-14 National Hockey League postseason All-Star Teams. Crosby received First Team honors for the second consecutive season, while Chara earned a spot on the First Team for the first time since 2008-09.
Joining Crosby and Chara are two second-time selections to the First Team, right wing Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks and defenseman Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks. The squad also features two first-time recipients, left wing Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars and goaltender Tuukka Rask of the Bruins.
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I'll try to keep a "live tally" of the NHL Awards show via Twitter-based updates:
Ted Lindsay Award (NHLPA MVP): Sidney Crosby:
Selke Trophy (best defensive forward): Patrice Bergeron:
Sidney Crosby is currently in Vancouver, attending Hockey Canada's end-of-hockey-year awards banquet, and ESPN's Pierre LeBrun also happens to be attending the event, so LeBrun asked Crosby to weigh in on the Penguins' front-office tumult (i.e. the firing of Ray Shero and then Dan Bylsma):
"Yeah, it's a new situation for us," Crosby told ESPN.com on Monday, in town with other Canadian Olympic teammates to receive their championship gold medal rings.
"We haven't had a big change like that since going back to the year we won when you think about it. It's never something you want to see happen, Crosby said. "Obviously with the expectations being so high like they are in Pittsburgh, we understand that it comes with it. The unfortunate part is, most times the coach or the GM pays the price. It's definitely not something you want to be dealing with every year. We didn't do a good enough job. Personally, it wasn't the playoff I wanted to have. It's something I have to learn from and definitely be better for it."
Crosby, off to Las Vegas on Tuesday where he's favored to win his second career Hart Trophy as NHL MVP, said he's spoken with both Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma since their firings. The Penguins hired Jim Rutherford to replace Shero, but remain in the market for a new head coach.
"Yeah, I mean we won a Stanley Cup together. You feel like you let them down," Crosby said. "As a player you have to get the job done. You feel a sense of responsibility for that and like I said, the coach and the GMs are usually the ones that pay the price. We had some good years together. You know that they'll be working pretty soon and be part of another team. But it's still not easy."
Crosby and LeBrun continue...
Tomorrow, finalists for the NHL Awards will be made available to the media from 2:30pm until 4:00pm ET. in Las Vegas.
Even though the atmosphere is much more relaxed than let's say a post-game dressing room plus all different types of media probably have been granted access, I don't think I would want to be in Sidney Crosby's shoes.
Assuming he will be in attendance, I am sure he will face a barrage of questions regarding the current state of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The hockey media types will want his opinion and will ask him the same type of questions but with different angles. The media who are in attendance for the event itself, well you don't know what type of questions Crosby will be asked and it could be a long 1 1/2 hours for Crosby.
At an event where everything usually has a positive vibe to it, it just may be the opposite for Crosby.
added 2:30pm, Just received an update, Crosby will not be at the media availability event tomorrow but will be at the Red Carpet event on Tuesday.
added 2:42pm, This may explain the reason why Crosby is not available (Babcock too) on Monday.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
You certainly get the sense that this may be the point at which the Penguins and Capitals aren’t really linked any more, or at least not as much. They’re as different as they are alike.
Players like Steven Stamkos, Henrik Lundqvist, Jonathan Toews, Ryan Getzlaf and Anze Kopitar have caught up to Nos. 87 and 8 when it comes to the best and brightest of NHL stars.
Beyond that, nobody sees Pittsburgh and Washington as teams with limitless futures any more.
The golden talents of Crosby and Ovechkin allowed these two clubs to exist above the muck for years. Now they’re in it with most everybody else.
The CBC's Elliotte Friedman just posted his "30 Thoughts" column, and after wondering how the Penguins will be able to keep all of their unrestricted free agents-to-be, even with the rising cap (they won't be able to do so--a trade will be necessary or people will walk), he offers more than a few intriguing observations. Among them:
1. Just for comparison: the 2012-13 cap was $70.2 million, similar to what we're expecting next season. Chicago won with its top-three salaried players (Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews) taking 26 per cent. Kane and Toews can be extended this summer, with the new deals beginning in 2015-16. That percentage is going to go up, but by how much? They took almost $5 million less than Crosby/Malkin per season on their second deals, critical to their second Stanley Cup (and maybe more). Western Conference opponents are expecting to deal with them for eight additional years. "I hope [their salary number] starts with a nine," one rival exec laughed.
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I am sure we will be finding out the answers in the coming days but for now we can watch Sidney Crosby's reaction to the game last night.
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
The whispers and questions about Sidney Crosby have begun. Is Sid the Kid still the best hockey player in the world?
Seems sacrilege even to debate it.
But not the way he and the Penguins are performing lately.
And not the way Jonathan Toews is playing. Toews may well overtake Crosby for the title these playoffs.
from Mike Brophy of CBC,
Crosby once again has been the target of abuse, first by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round and now by the New York Rangers. Typically, he isn't putting up with any of the nonsense.
The only problem is, Crosby has been thrown off his game. One goal and nine points in 12 games might be decent numbers for many NHLers. But not for Crosby. His production is off and his eye has been taken off the prize. Rather than being the leader the Pittsburgh Penguins have grown accustomed to seeing, he has become a problem for a team now facing a Game 7 after having held a 3-1 series lead.
It certainly isn't all Crosby's fault. But his lack of composure has not helped Pittsburgh's cause. It can be argued that as his team's best player, Crosby should not be fighting his own battles at this stage of the season. He should be receiving the same type of protection afforded Wayne Gretzky in his prime.
The Penguins have done a lousy job protecting their leader. And now out of sheer frustration, Crosby is off his game. That was obvious when he speared Dominic Moore in the groin after a whistle and when he cross-checked Brian Boyle at the conclusion of Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Rangers.
On the one hand, it is admirable that Crosby stands up for himself. However, when it becomes a distraction and interferes with his team's ability to win, it must stop.
George here on the late shift. I'm getting ready to wake up a little bit early to watch Wings players take part in the World Championships, which begin on Friday. The European press tends to look at the NHL playoffs from a rather Machiavellian perspective--sometimes actively rooting against the teams whose players include important national team contributors--and as such, I had one thought as Evgeni Malkin's 1-0 goal slithered past a goaltender who's more or less been left to his devices in Henrik Lunqvist:
"[Team Sweden coach and GM] Par Marts must be watching this game thinking, 'I can get Henke to Minsk by Sunday!'"
The Penguins defeated Lundqvist's Rangers 4-2, taking a 3-games-to-none series lead, and while the Penguins lost Brooks Orpik's services, the Rangers' combination of struggling stars on offense and a sometimes-shaky defense reminds me of--dare I say it?--the Wings-Bruins series.
from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
Penguins winger Lee Stempniak unintentionally delivered the funniest line of the playoffs Saturday morning at Southpointe.
“I don't think anyone's really worried about Sid or Geno,” Stempniak said.
He's partially right. Nobody's too worried about Evgeni Malkin since his hat trick in Game 6 at Columbus.
As for Sid, well, nobody but an entire region (Western Pennsylvania) and an entire country (Canada) seems all that obsessed with his travails. My goodness, in Canada they're running Zapruder-style films of his speed variations and wondering, with reason, if he is injured.
All I know is this: Crosby often seems strangely disengaged in these playoffs. And it's a fact that if he doesn't find the net Sunday in Game 2 of this Eastern Conference semifinal, he will be mired in the longest goal-scoring drought of his career.
The CBC's Don Cherry had a very selective memory on Saturday evening. He lamented Brandon Dubinsky's ability to attack Sidney Crosby at will in Game 1 of the Penguins-Blue Jackets series, he mocked Duncan Keith for jabbing at the Blues' stars--suggesting that Keith "got Seabrook pumped up" (before sidestepping that topic)--he reviewed the Blues' game-winning goal against Chicago, lamenting Patrick Kane not blocking a shot, he very briefly praised Pavel Datsyuk's game-winner and suggested that the Wings are the worst team for the Bruins to play as their lack of retaliation prevents the Bruins from playing their game (no Loosick mention on Saturday), and then he praised Corey Perry scoring against Dallas and Ryan Getzlaf's persistence (no spear there, either).
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The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons returned to North America from Sochi, Russia in a contemplative mood, and he's focusing on one particular topic in a Saturday night/Sunday morning column--suggesting that Jonathan Toews has succeeded Sidney Crosby as hockey's most valuable all-round player:
One player to choose to start a franchise? You can have Sidney Crosby.
I’m taking Jonathan Toews.
I’m taking the 25-year-old who already has two Stanley Cup rings and two Olympic gold medals, a player who intrinsically seems to comprehend what it takes to win and with a willingness to do whatever it means to get there.
For the second Olympic Games in succession, Toews was Canada’s best forward: His line with Jeff Carter and Patrick Marleau, was Team Canada’s strongest line throughout the Olympic hockey tournament.
He’s not fancy like his teammate, Patrick Kane, or as offensively gifted or driven as Crosby, or with a rocket shot like Steven Stamkos, or even with Phil Kessel’s speed: He is just complete. As absolute and certain as there is in today’s world of hockey.
Simmons continues, addressing numerous topics...
If Alex Ovechkin had as much star support as Sidney Crosby the Big 8 would leave The Kid in the dust.
-Stan Fischler of the Fischler Report where you can read more short topics...
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons weighs in on Nazem Kadri's possible trade value for the Maple Leafs, and Simmons also reveals that a certain Pittsburgh Penguins general manager wants to make Sidney Crosby available to the Canadian Olympic Committee should they want to counter Zdeno Chara's status as Slovakia's flag-bearer in his Sunday column, and, well...
Penguins general manager Ray Shero told the Toronto Sun by email Saturday that he agreed with the Boston Bruins move to allow captain Zdeno Chara to miss a National Hockey League game so the captain could carry the Slovakian flag in the opening ceremony on Feb. 7.
But what about his captain?
“Hard to turn down that opportunity,” Shero wrote. “Agreed with Boston on letting (Chara) go.”
Crosby would be an ideal choice to carry the flag, which will likely be decided among bobsledder Kaillie Humphries, hockey’s Hayley Wickenheiser, skier Erik Guay and speed skaters, Christine Nesbitt and Charles Hamelin. That didn’t seem in any way possible until the Chara move was agreed to by the Bruins.
Now that the way has been cleared it is up to the COC to make the call: The flag bearer will be announced Thursday. Is there time to make it Crosby? And does he want to do it?
Sidney Crosby answered questions from hosts Scott Oake and Craig Simpson plus responded to questions from fans.
The Penguins held a Kids Open Practice today and Crosby decided to visit with a few of his closest, screaming kids...
Sidney Crosby when asked this question...
Is it necessary for a player to start a fight after a teammate is hit legally?
"That’s been around for years. I don’t see a problem with that. I don’t see a problem with Thornton going over to [Orpik] and asking him to fight. That’s the response. But to do what he did was totally unnecessary. It’s terrible. I’m sure he knows that more than everybody. He’s made a living at protecting his teammate and sticking up for them. But to confront [Orpik] and ask him to fight, I think every team wants a player like that. There’s nothing wrong with that. But to do what he did to him is not acceptable. He could have done the exact same thing and gotten a two-minute minor for five shifts in a row. There’s nothing wrong with it. … there’s nothing with [Orpik] saying no either. He’s got to play 25 minutes a night against top guys."
more from Crosby at Empty Netters...
There are 4 NHL games tonight including the Pittsburgh Penguins visiting the Washington Capitals at 8:00pm ET on NBCSN and TSN2.
The battle between Crosby and Ovechkin continues tonight...
via ESPN SportsNation Poll (click for view state-by-state voting),
Sidney Crosby is averaging more than two points per game, which hasn't been done over a full season since Mario Lemieux in 1995-96. Will he keep up his average until the end of the season?
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
The nickname no longer seems appropriate: Sid is not a Kid anymore.
He may look like a kid with those large eyes and that wide, familiar smile. He may be only 26 years old, young to some of us, but not necessarily by sporting standards.
But here’s the startling number when it comes to Sidney Crosby, who sometimes, just not often enough, has been the best player in all of hockey: This is Year 9 of his National Hockey League career. And somehow that seems in need of recount.
For all kinds of reasons, this still seems like the formative stages of his career. He still feels like a resource untapped. Like the best has yet to come for Crosby.
And maybe it will. Maybe this year as the NHL returns to a full 82-game season. Maybe this is the year of Sid The Adult.