Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: Sidney Crosby
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.
The Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek spoke with Sidney Crosby at the conclusion of Hockey Canada's Olympic orientation camp in Calgary. While Crosby is no longer a "kid," the gentleman who scored Canada's "golden goal" in 2010 suggested that he's approaching the 2014 Olympics from a very different perspective:
“If I look back to last time, I was probably more in awe and trying to learn from those guys,” Crosby said after the 72-hour orientation camp came to a close with a farewell dinner that also included the women’s Olympic hockey team. “I don’t think [taking on a leadership role] is a conscious decision you make, it’s just a natural progression. You played on the team before; you understand things a little better. It’s a comfort level. It’s a totally different mindset … going into your first Olympic camp and your second.”
from Amy McConnell Schaarsmith of the Pittsburgh Posg-Gazette,
You know the Department of Motor Vehicles drill. You took a half day off work to renew your driver's license during business hours. Inside the DMV office, dozens of fellow would-be motorists with glazed expressions sprawl in rows of hard plastic chairs, their bored and cranky children squalling the misery felt by all. And there's no telling how long you will wait.
Unless you are Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, or a "celebrity" of equal fame and disruption potential, that is.
In that case, as Mr. Crosby demonstrated to amazed patrons of the Duncan Manor DMV office in McCandless Friday morning, you get to skip to the front of the line, taking care of business in minutes while mere mortals -- including fans -- wait as they must.
Some of those fans said Friday they don't mind their hero enjoying the state's policy of preferential treatment for celebrities, which is meant to keep disruption to a minimum. But others said the double standard sends the wrong message that a famous person is more important than the average human.
from Paul Grant of ESPN,
With all these comparisons flying around, this week we're going to cut through the crud and make a call. Given two players, one active and one retired, in their primes, who would be better? And the best part of it is that you, the user, get the final word.
For our second installment, how about: The two best players of their generation, if not the two best players in the history of the game in Sidney Crosby and Wayne Gretzky. This is such a timeless comparison, we're going to do it again, only more lo-fi..
from Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,
The NHL is seven months removed from a lockout that could have crippled its popularity.
No such result occurred, and now league officials believe their product can achieve unprecedented appeal.
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby is among the biggest reasons.
NHL executive vice president of marketing Brian Jennings was in Pittsburgh last week for the league's annual NHL Exchange, a merger of merchandise ideas and retailers. Jennings, though, wasn't spending time thinking about T-shirt designs or promotional giveaways.
He had the game's brightest star in mind.
“Sidney Crosby is a big part of what has made us so successful in recent years,” he said.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
The Penguins had gone up, up, up in the Crosby era – missing the playoffs, losing in the first round, making the Cup final, winning the Cup – until that loss to the Canadiens. It has been a roller coaster since – a first-round loss with no Crosby or Malkin, a first-round loss with Crosby and Malkin, and now this. The Eastern Conference final is a step forward, but not far enough.
Crosby has risen to a new level, battled concussion problems, come back as great as before and suffered a broken jaw. He missed a month and put up seven goals and 15 points in 10 playoff games, and suddenly he's struggling.
He is still only 25. He is still the face of the NHL and should still have much to look forward to. Yet if anyone should know not to take anything for granted, it should be him, and if the Penguins lose this series, one more precious chance will be gone. Crosby will have been humbled, not just by his own mistakes, like his brutal giveaway that led to a goal early in Game 2, not just by the Bruins, who have smothered him, but by the game itself.
Crosby lost his helmet in double overtime of Game 3. He kept chugging with that head and jaw exposed, trying to create something, trying to do what the best player in the world is supposed to do. But not long afterward, the puck ended up in the Pittsburgh net instead. Just when he thought he appreciated how tough it was to get to the Cup final, it got even tougher.
from Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe,
All eyes will certainly be on Sidney Crosby. Now that LeBron James has rescued the Heat in a Game 7, Crosby is the sports star with the most to prove in the spring of 2013. His reputation has taken a massive hit in the first two games of this series and he risks morphing into a Wilt Chamberlain/A-Rod pinata if he continues to pout and put up zeroes.
The sub-headline in Sports Illustrated’s May 13 cover story on Crosby reads, “You can’t keep Sidney Crosby down. You can only marvel at how hockey’s best player keeps coming back even better than when he left.’’
Well, the Bruins certainly have kept him down for two games. And the only thing to “marvel” about is the new notion that Crosby is a baby and a no-show on the big stage. He’s supposed to be the face of the NHL and the successor to Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, and Mario Lemieux, but thus far in this series, he’s not nearly as good as Torey Krug. And let’s not embarrass him with the numbers about his faceoff failures against Patrice Bergeron.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
One NHL coach told ESPN.com this week that he felt that the Penguins, and Crosby in particular, had been "hardened" by recent playoff losses and that their play this spring has reflected that.
"Sid has been really gritty, good to see," the coach said. "He is a great player, but he used to cheat to score. Now he doesn't.
"He stops on pucks, plays better defensively. Losing the last three years has hardened that team."
Crosby doesn't disagree that the Penguins' disappointments since 2009 have altered the team in some fundamental way.
"Hopefully we learned from it," he said. "Yeah, I think that's fair to say. I think when you have those expectations and there's certain things that happen, you have to be able to learn from them and you can't accept that that's OK and you can't say, 'Oh, that was just a weird series last year against Philadelphia.'
"You have to find out why and what needs to be better, and I think we were all pretty honest with how we evaluated that and what we needed to improve. The bottom line is that you've got to give yourself a chance to win. I don't think we did that in those previous series. Even if you give yourself a chance, there's no guarantees, [but] you've got to at least do that."
from Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star,
The pillowy lips part to reveal a mouthful of ruin, a graveyard of tombstone teeth and mutilated gums.
There’s a gap between the lower bicuspids, a V-shaped hollow through which sibilant sounds emerge, a whistle of consonants and vowels.
Sidney Crosby is lisping.
“Thith is going to be the toughetht tetht yet.’’
Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal against the Senators-at-home, he meant: Toughest. Test. Yet.
from Sam Kasan of the Penguins website,
Crosby, who missed Game 1 Wednesday and the last 12 games of the regular season with a broken jaw, met with his doctor Thursday after practice and was cleared to return to game action.
“I’m cleared to play tonight,” Crosby said. “I’m excited to get back in there and play in the playoffs.
“(The doctor) was around and I wasn’t sure if he would give me the OK or even consider it. I’m happy that he did and happy to be back.”
“(Returning) is not really up to me. I’ll just keep talking with the doctors. It’s something they have to feel comfortable with the healing. As soon as they say the word, I’ll be ready to go.”
-Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins after practicing today. More from Sam Kasan of the Pens website.
Penguins announce he will not return to the game.
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
Forget the shortened season, what Sidney Crosby is managing this hockey year is stunningly comparable to anything anyone has accomplished in hockey history.
You can add it up.
Crosby is scoring at 1.62 points per game, a number that would give him 133 points were this a full season of play. And while that doesn’t seem anywhere near Wayne Gretzky’s record total of 215 points in a season or Mario Lemieux’s best number at 199 points, it does when you take into account the difference in the game Crosby is playing.
continued plus some hockey notes...
If the answer is yes, check out Sidney Crosby's pass to Pascal Dupuis tonight.
“With Matt’s history, he probably gets a tough call on that one. I think that’s unnecessary.I think we all saw the play and know what happened and know that it was an accident. If you ask anyone that understands the game at all, they’ll tell you that it’s pretty hard to try to intentionally do what he did. Unfortunately, his past creeps in and people probably give him a hard time. He’s really tried to clean up the way he plays and I think he’s done a pretty good job with that. His past gives him a tough guy, but he’s made a strong effort of making sure that he’s better.”
-Sidney Crosby on Matt Cooke and the Erik Karlsson injury. Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun has more quotes from the Penguins side, including Cooke himself.
from Chris Johnston now of Sportsnet,
What stands out most during a few days around the Penguins in the early stages of the 48-game season is how significantly Crosby's narrative has changed. No longer is he asked endlessly about the well-documented concussion and neck injuries that cost him most of the last two seasons.
Even the frustration stemming from a lockout took another 34 games off the prime of his career has quickly faded into the background.
"I just think he's back to being the normal Sidney Crosby," said Penguins GM Ray Shero. "He's thinking about everything else except his health. He's thinking about the team, he's thinking about how he can be better, how he's training, how we can improve this or that. Now it's back to normal, which has been awhile.
"That is really something that we haven't had for a long time."
The optimism doesn't come solely from seeing Crosby back on the ice. Instead it's rooted in how good he's felt for the better part of 10 months. His official comeback (version 2.0) came in March with a 20-game stretch to complete the regular season and playoffs, and was followed by an intense summer of workouts and long fall of waiting out the lockout.
from Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
On the flavor of the talks: It's pretty one-sided. I don't really know what (the owners) have given up to this point. They're trying to take away all the contracting rights. The question I'd ask is why would we change that? I think we all think it's the most competitive league in the world so why would you go and change that -- the way contracts go and the way teams can operate? If it's not broke, don't fix it. I understand their point. At the end of the day it's dollars, but at the end of the day you want to get a deal done. I don't think they're going to get a deal done if they're trying to take away guys' contracting rights.
from the CBA negotiations in Toronto,