Everyone is weighing in on Sidney Crosby slamming P.K. Subban’s head to the ice behind the goal last night during the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 6-0 victory over the Nashville Predators. Sports writers and analysts have plenty to write / talk / blog / tweet about today, and the casual hockey fan is all over Facebook making a case one way or the other. Thankfully for me, I have a blog just for my thoughts on such matters. So here we go.
First of all, let’s get a few things out of the way:
- I’m from Pittsburgh
- Do I think what Sidney did was wrong? Yes
- Should it have been more than a 2 minute penalty? Yes
So now you know where my allegiance lies, and you know my answers to the two main arguments circulating social media.
But I’m going to defend Sidney Crosby. I’m not saying what he did was right, but I’m at the point where:
- I can’t blame him
- I’d have done it myself
- He needs to give the NHL a middle finger, and I think he just did
If you watch closely in the above video, before Sid actually falls down on P.K. Subban you actually see Subban ignore the play, drop his stick and immediately go down to grab Crosby’s ankles. I don’t know what the hell Subban was doing, but this all started with Subban’s own dirty antics.
Sidney Crosby’s Reputation Outside of Pittsburgh
Ok. I’m well aware of what most people think of Sidney Crosby outside of Pittsburgh. He’s a whiny cry baby. That’s been his reputation since his first year in the league. Admittedly, Crosby’s first few years warranted that reputation. He did whine quite a lot. Enough so that even a Pittsburgh’er has to admit it.
But here’s the deal. Sidney Crosby whines and bitches more than other players, because he has more to whine and bitch about than every other player. Every player who lines up against Sidney Crosby takes liberties with him. Some do it because they just can’t keep up and compete with him. Most do it because, hey it’s Sidney Crosby. You almost know that if you go and take cheap shots on Sidney Crosby, your fan base will probably appreciate your efforts, not condone them.
Every time Crosby touches the ice, the players on the other team take liberties on him. If you’re not from Pittsburgh, sorry but you cannot argue against this. You don’t see the fact that Crosby is getting cheap shots to every part of his body every few seconds he’s on the ice… and most of the time the cheap shots are to his head.
The NHL Is A Joke
And that’s where the blame comes in to the NHL. Any fan in any city can admit that the NHL’s concern over player safety is a joke. A lot of talk about player safety, but very little action to back up the talk. Hits to the head are still treated like a hit anywhere else on the body. This is what is probably most infuriating. After everything the NFL has gone through with concussions, the NHL really isn’t taking any effort to get head shots out of the game. And they should. A shot to the head should be treated as badly as it can. Ejection, huge fines to the player and even fines to the coach and owner. If the NHL wanted head shots out of the game, they’d be out of the game.
The above video is when Crosby took a stick to the head from Matt Niskanen earlier in these playoffs during the Pittsburgh vs. Washington series. In the reply you’ll see that before he took a shot to the head from Niskanen, he actually took a shot to the head from Alex Ovechkin.
Crosby’s Drum Solo on P.K. Subban’s Head
I hate to repeat visualizations that others have already applied to what Crosby was doing, so I’ll just call it Sid’s drum solo.
Again, was it wrong? Yes. This is black and white. Would you teach your kid who is playing hockey to do this? No. Then it is easily identifiable as wrong.
So why am I defending it? I’m not defending Sid’s actions. I’m defending Sid’s reputation. Again, Sid the cry baby simply has more to cry about. That’s all. Fans in other cities see Sidney bitching, but don’t really bother to acknowledge that he has more to bitch about. Ok, enough on this. I’ve made my case
Let’s also not pretend that P.K. Subban is an angel. Part of his reputation is that he is constantly hacking at players ankles. Apparently Sid even stated that prior to him doing his drum solo, Subban was attacking his ankles. Here’s the quote from bleacherreport.com
Eventually, the pot boils over. If you’re Sidney Crosby and everyone is constantly taking liberties with you, you try to be the captain of your team and maintain your cool as long as you can. But when it keeps happening and a very long playoff season continues to show that the refs allow NHL playoffs to be the wild west, eventually frustration wins and you take it out.
Crosby Being the Face of the NHL
A few weeks ago, one of our Pittsburgh sports analysts, Mark Madden, wrote how he wishes Sid would stop being the face of the NHL. I loved it. Basically his point was, if the NHL is going to continue to allow a league to be unsafe and create an environment in which Sid is constantly getting beat up on, then he should basically give the NHL the middle finger and be done as the face that promotes their brand. I loved it and couldn’t agree more. The drum solo on Subban’s head to me was that middle finger.
My Final Take On The Matter
I would like to enjoy a NHL that promotes only skill and the best of the best. One that lays down the law when it comes to protecting all players. Sports are more enjoyable when we can watch high caliber players perform at their best.
What Sidney did was actually pretty embarassing, for himself and Pittsburgh. I’m annoyed we have to defend him in this instance, but I’m happy to defend him overall. I am cringing ( a little ) when I see my fellow Pittsburgh’ers enjoying the replay of the video, but trust me, not that much. I can’t deny that if I was Sidney Crosby, eventually my frustration with all the shit he deals with would also boil over. It’s the NHL’s problem to solve, and I hope the NHL moves on to another poster boy. Crosby gets used by the NHL to promote a brand for a sport that allows his career to constantly be jeopardized.
Last night Crosby was the face of the real NHL. And people don’t like it.
Agree or disagree, I want to hear your comments below.