Hopefully by now you've seen the video of Sidney Crosby and his attempt to light a fire under his teammates by mugging Brett McLean during Saturday's game in Pittsburgh. Actually, it looked like he may have been trying to steal McLean's lunch money. Following the game, both sides had an opportunity to sound off on the showing, and the word "embarrassing" was thrown around the Florida locker room.
First, let's start with Crosby and the Penguins. In his locker room interview with the Pittsburgh media, Crosby acknowledged that he asked McLean if he wanted to go -- as was initially pointed out in the comments section of our earlier post -- and Crosby, naturally, claims that he accepted the challenge.
When a reporter pushed for further confirmation that McLean agreed to dance, Crosby repeated his "yes" and offered up the possibility that the Panthers forward didn't take his offer seriously. He also made some reference to "wasting 20 minutes in the box," while also suggesting his efforts weren't worthy of 19 minutes in penalty time. I'm guessing those statements will fly like a led balloon with hockey fans outside of the 412 area code.
Anyway, if Crosby really did challenge McLean, why did it appear that McLean was ambushed right off the draw? Here's what he told George Richards of the Miami-Herald.
''He said something before the drop but I really didn't pick up on it. So, I kind of wish I had now. Like I said, everyone can understand what he was trying to do for his team. He's their leader, their captain.''
Interesting. None of this, of course, changes the fact that Crosby jumped McLean right off the draw -- as McLean was attempting to play the puck -- while he insisted on fighting with his visor on, and essentially tried to mug him while he was down on the ice.
Richards also asked defenseman Nick Boynton his opinion on what transpired. First, Boynton was asked if he would have liked to have seen Crosby back on the ice at some point in the third period -- he was let out of the penalty box with three minutes to play -- to which Boynton replied, "Oh yeah."
He then followed up with this:
'That was just embarrassing. I can understand a little bit what he was trying to do, but that's a not a very professional move. You ask a guy to fight. You don't jump a guy when his head is down taking a faceoff. That's pretty immature and childish. ''He's just, whatever. He's not happy with the way things are going and he was trying to get his team going. But there's no need for that.''
So, Crosby claims he offered fair warning. McLean responds by saying he didn't understand what Crosby was saying. Boynton is still under the impression that Crosby flipped his lid and violated the code. In case you're wondering, these two teams meet again on March 5, in Florida.
Meanwhile, Eric McErlain asks via e-mail: with Gary Roberts gone, is there a veteran in that locker room who has the gravitas to take Crosby aside and tell him how far off track he's gone with both this latest infraction as well as smacking Valabick in the crotch?
That's actually a really good question, and my initial answer is, no, no there's not. MaybeBrooks Orpik. But that's about it.
But, as long as we're piling on Crosby, it's worth pointing out that he too has been in a slump recently, being held without a point in seven of his past 12 games. Just pointing it out, mainly because there's plenty of blame to go around for the Penguins recent struggles, Crosby included.
Aftermath of Sidney Crosby's 'Fight' With Florida's Brett McLean originally appeared on NHL FanHouse on Sat, 03 Jan 2009 20:45:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.