Monday, January 16, 2006

Sidney Learning at the School of Hard Knocks

As Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux can attest to, the big stars always get more attention both off and on the ice.

Shawna Richer of the Globe and Mail takes a look at a banged-up Crosby.

In the visitor's dressing room at the United Center after a weekend game, Sidney Crosby sported a fat, tender lip, not the first of his rookie National Hockey League season and, he glumly agreed, not likely his last.

A Blackhawks defender elbowed him hard in the chops on a surge to the net. No penalty was called. He was not surprised. And in a new approach to things, he did not argue for one.

This is the Pittsburgh Penguins centre's latest challenge in navigating his first professional season, and it's a perplexing problem more suited to a philosopher than a hockey player: How at once does a man change yet find a way to stay the same?

Mr. Crosby recently realized that the aggressive and uber-competitive style that made him the consensus No. 1 choice in the NHL entry draft hasn't earned any breaks from referees, on calls and non-calls both for and against him. He's learning his reflex to object can hurt his team, which is struggling with just 11 wins, second fewest in the league, entering last night.

The "New NHL" was supposed to protect the stars from getting hooked, held, and basically obstructed from doing 'their thing'. The refs can't protect Crosby from everything, and his style of play will lead him to getting hurt. Peter Forsberg, the biggest diver of them all, has suffered many serious injuries from his style of play. Mario Lemieux suffers from painful ailments because of the love he's been given by opposing defenders over the years.
Either Crosby becomes a total floater, or he learns to deal with the aches and pains. Paul Kariya's game really suffered as a member of the Avalanche when he became afraid to go anywhere near the high traffic zones. Eric Lindros, too, also suffered when he became a shell of himself. Can Crosby handle the love?

Full article can be found here.

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