I find it the ultimate irony to be sitting in suburban Philadelphia writing about how a professional hockey team tried to goon it up in a Stanley Cup Playoff game, baiting and cheap shot-ing their way through all sixty minutes…and that team wasn’t the Flyers.
Truth be told, those “Broad Street Bullies” from the 70’s left town a very, very long time ago, but I digress…
A heavy favorite to win this year’s Cup, yet finding themselves down 2-0 in the opening round, the Pittsburgh Penguins decided to try a tactic they enlisted a couple of weeks back in a regular season game against Philadelphia…albeit at home. They committed to bait and hurl themselves at the Flyers in a reckless, dangerous manner with the intent to injure and punch out any Flyer who attempted to fight back.
It didn’t work then.
It didn’t work yesterday.
The Penguins are now down three games to none and on the verge of being swept away from a Playoff season that just began. For Flyers fans, each game has been a case of…“well, there’s no way we can top that.”
Game 1 – Flyers down 3-0 at the first intermission. Win 4-3 in overtime.
Game 2 – Flyers down 3-1 at the first intermission. Win 8-5.
Which brings us to Game 3, of course set within the “City Of Brotherly Love.” And to Sidney Crosby, the Captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins. An acclaimed superstar of the sport. Arguably the very face of the NHL.
What an ugly, pathetic face it is today.
You can Google any comment I’ve left on fellow sports bloggers’ web sites and try to find one single, negative word I have ever typed about Sidney Crosby…until now. I have stood up for him in the face of relentless attacks. A whiner. A cheap shot artist. An instigator. A flopper. A guy afraid to fight his own battles. And each time, I’ve politely said his God-given talent is great for the sport, the NHL…and also great for a city that almost lost hockey completely not that many years ago. I rooted him back from his concussion issues and indicated I couldn’t wait to see him play once more. Heck, I went to school in Pittsburgh for a year and consider it one of my very favorite cities of all.
But I take it all back now when it comes to Sidney Crosby. Because of one game.
Yesterday’s Game 3…an 8-4 Philly win.
A Captain of a hockey team gets a “C” because he’s a leader. He sets the tone for his team. He’s poised. He represents the city and the franchise with dignity and class.
Sidney Crosby’s “C” as far as I am concerned now stands for Classless…Clueless…Both.
On at least two occasions, Crosby grabbed Flyers from behind yesterday with the apparent sole intent to dance with them just long enough for a fellow Penguin to take over and instigate a fight. On a third, he swept away a glove Flyer Jakob Voracek had dropped and was simply trying to retrieve. He also was caught jabbing at Philadelphia Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov’s glove…which happened to still be very much on Ilya’s hand.
When queried after the game…which featured 158 penalty minutes, most of which Crosby helped create directly (as noted above) or indirectly (by inciting his team mates to go down this failed road to futility)…here’s part of what he had to offer up…
“There’s more than one team getting in those things. You can make a story all you want about us getting frustrated. They’re doing the same things we are.”
“I don’t like them, because I don’t like any guy on their team.”
Classless for his actions on the ice – he made it clear he had no respect for his opponents or the game. Clueless because of the fact his Penguins tried to drag Philly into the mud a couple of weeks before the end of the regular season and the Flyers defended themselves then quite admirably in every instance…and came out on top. And also…because of those idiotic comments about both teams doing the same things. Don’t even go down the road of “it takes two to tango.” A team has every right to defend itself. That’s all the Flyers were doing.
No Sidney. There are most definitely three things you and your team have done in this series the Flyers have not done…
1. You and your team made a mockery of the sport yesterday executing your frustrated, flawed strategy of goon hockey.
2. You and your team have lost every game.
3. You personally have yet to finish one instigation you’ve started. We hardly call your dancing about with Philly’s star Claude Giroux fighting. You cheap shot someone…hide behind a lineman or a team mate…and watch the mayhem unfold. I won’t even bother to detail the flops in Game 1 because, indeed, your true colors appeared yesterday.
You really are “Sid The Kid.”
A very, very little Kid at that.
Just like your detractors always said you were…