What? You deserved it?? On Friday night, Sidney Crosby told the Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi that the Penguins “deserved” better in the last couple of games. Before I delve into the absolute absurdity of this comment, I feel like I need to preface this so any Pittsburgh fan, post-Crosby draft doesn’t immediately jump down my throat. Despite this terrible, awful, and embarrassing series, he still is the best player in the world (little backhanded there…). Okay, now having said that, these playoffs have been very showing of the true “captain” and “leader” that Crosby apparently is. The fact that he said that the Penguins deserved better really is pathetic coming from someone who did not register one point in 4 games.
The New York Islanders series and Ottawa Senators went by with only a small sweat broken in the series against their Atlantic division foe. Crosby did not have to be as emotional and vocal, because he let his game speak for itself. He had 15 points in the first two series, 7 G – 8 A, including a hat trick. Impressive numbers, especially since seven of those points came on the power play playing with arguably the best power play personnel in the entire league. But then came the Boston series.
As we all know, the Bruins absolutely shut down the Penguins and completed the much-surprising sweep. Honestly, I along with most of us did not see that coming at all. But here is where I take issue with Crosby’s leadership skills that we have already crowned him for some reason. First issue is the fights he tries to start. Lets go back one year to the Flyers series. Not to fault Crosby, but it was one of the most emotional series the NHL has ever seen, and nearly every player on each bench had at least one fight it seemed. But it’s whom Crosby went after that irked me, Kimmo Timonen. Kimmo has been in the league forever, and the scuffle with Crosby that led to a fight with Kris Letang was his first and only since then.
Okay back to the Boston… from the beginning of the series, Tuukka Rask was in the heads of every Penguins shooter. After shutting them out in game one, the Penguins were frustrated, and it was apparent to anyone who watched the game. In game one, the frustration mounted when Crosby pushed Rask heading off the ice after the second period in game one. This baffled me. If you want to get into the head of the goalie, you rattle him by scoring goals right? You start capitalizing on all of the power play chances you get- not by pushing him and jawing at him as he slowly skates towards his bench after stopping a flurry of shots to end the period. He has nothing to say, the goose egg in the scoreboard says enough. Then Crosby went up to Chara, the biggest goon to ever put on a pair of skates, but…but… a great captain. Chara has the ‘C’ because he earned it, because he leads by example, and because he doesn't get distracted or rattled. It seems almost too easy to shake Crosby of any focus he may have. Crosby will always try to spark his team, but always seems to go about it the wrong way. The Flyers and Bruins series are prime examples of this the past two years.
Crosby can lead, with his game, but that’s about it. But when things go wrong, the wheels come off quick and can prove to be some entertaining television for those of us not watching in the steel city. I watched in Pittsburgh for 4 years so I lived it, I saw it all first hand. But the last two years have had playoff series that have been trying for the leader he is “supposed” to be. Emotions sometimes take control of all of us, but when you are paid to be the leader who shows his team how to succeed, you can’t let them get the best of you. If Sidney Crosby wants to be regarded as highly as NHL greats like Gretzky, Howe, etc you name it, its time to stop saying that you deserved better. You go out and earn it, nothing is handed to you, especially in playoff hockey. Boston deserved to win, because they outplayed you.
See you on the links Sid.
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