Sunday, January 4, 2009

The latest Crosby-gate

Surely by now you've seen what we're referring to. Mirtle agrees with Nick Boynton (who's no saint himself) by saying it's embarassing. Puck Daddy thinks Sidney Crosby earned it and throws in a few jabs like only he can about the merits of jumping a man ala Jerry Springer. Some clown at AOL acts like Crosby's the first guy to ever fight while wearing a visor.

As usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle and there's a lot of reactions from people that probably didn't watch the game in it's entirity (as we had the unforunate pleasure of doing). Most probably undetrstad the context of the season right now, the Penguins have put up several clunkers at home and can't seem to catch a break right now. Everyone is frustrated and pissed off, no one moreso than the leader of the team.

What most probably don't get if they didn't see the game was how this specific game unfolded; it' not like the lowly Panthers were all the utmost of gentlemen and were innocent bystanders. Gregory Campbell was chirping all game long, getting in Crosby's face and the two exchanged pushes, cross-checks and punches behind the play earlier.

Max Talbot decided he had enough and challenged Campbell to fight. The two fought a lengthy and honorable bout within the contexts of hockey's rules (both written and unwritten). Talbot clearly had no reason to fight Campbell other than for how the Panther was treating his captain.

On the next faceoff the infamous Crosby/Brett McLean fight went down. For those that didn't watch the game, and didn't realize that McLean apparantely agreed to a fight with El Sid, it does look a little raw to see a guy get pummeled.

But if you didn't think that maybe McLean threw in a little comment about Talbot doing Crosby's dirty work by fighting Campbell, you haven't played too much hockey. McLean wasn't a bystander who just got jumped, he surely had a handle in it. It's not like Crosby beat the hell out of someone like Michael Frolik or Richard Zednik or anything. The antigonist was, well, antagonizing him at one point and the frustration boiled over.

So if you hate Crosby this is a perfect excuse to let it out with some keyboard courage. Go right ahead, it makes no difference. It's a game of hockey. Tempers get out of control when you care about the outcome. If you don't get mad, you'll never get back in it.

Mark words, in the long-run this might be the turning point of the season. Sure, Crosby took himself out of the game with 19 minutes worth of penalties, but if you watched the game you would know that even though the score was 4-1, it might as well have been over. The Pens, as usual these past couple weeks, weren't doing anything with the puck, and their goalies were offering only shaky attempts to keep pucks out of their own net. If Crosby was in the game, maybe it's a 5-2 or 6-3 loss at best. Sometimes standing up for yourself and making a point is a little more important than the result of the game. We think on this day it was.


Doc Nagel said...

Well, it was a disgusting display, but the over-reaction to it by commentators is pretty disgusting, too. I don't think it'll matter. I can't even imagine the Panthers deciding to take it as a pretext to attack Crosby in the next game.

Steigerwald and Errey both agreed that Talbot and Crosby were "sending a message" to their own teammates. What I want to know is, what's the message? And why would this message matter, when all the other messages haven't?

Hooks Orpik said...

The message, I suppose, is that they care enough to get upset about taking personal offense to opponents....But it wasn't like Campbell or McLean were scoring or running over Penguin players, they were largely yapping their mouths off.

Going after disrespectful opponents is one thing, ralling around each other to play a better brand of hockey is another. I'd agree with you Doc in thinking the two do not automatically go hand in hand.

Doc Nagel said...

I hope, but doubt, that something good will come of it, for the Pens. My sense of it is that hockey is roughly equal parts passion, preparation, skill, will, team-spirit, courage, and athleticism. The Penguins have sorely lacked 4 or 5 of these attributes lately. They have to come together, though, don't they? Passion is good to see, better to see in some productive capacity, but in itself insufficient to get the team going in the right direction.

In any case, as I think your title is meant to demonstrate, "Crosby-gate" is taking the wrong bait here. Sid's whack on McLean was clearly a garden-variety hockey-player attempt to get his teammates fired up.

But it also sadly reminds of Monica-gate. Back in the proper day, my ex and an ex-pal and I drove around the Watergate (where Lewinsky lived at the time) and called out "Monica! Monica!" for a quarter-hour. Seemed like a good idea at the time. It's rather like Sid's effort on Saturday.