Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Crosby v Ference: Sidney Crosby's First NHL Fight

Below is a recap of events leading up to and reaction to Sidney Crosby's first fight in his NHL career in Boston on December 20, 2007. This is something I've wanted to put together since the day after it happened, but I haven't had the time. I was inspired to get it done today after I read Ference's reaction to the fight. Read on to see what I mean...

I received this tidbit of information from someone who was in Boston for the game that night (this Friend of The Show requested to remain anonymous):
Let me tell, Sidney Crosby looked like a man possessed tonight. Even before the game, he was in the hallway warming up his legs and he just looked... you know what? He looked downright creepy. Maurice Richard used to get "black coal eyes" when he got real determined and really pissed off. The kid is no Rocket, but he's got the look down pat. He just had this look that was pretty damn scary - he was on fire. I didn't want to disturb him so I walked by him.
Maybe that was a good idea, Anon, because later that night Sidney got into his first fight in the NHL after ex-Penguin Andrew Ference hit him into the boards and then punched him in the face. Immediately he tossed his gloves and went nuts on Ference's face. When they finally fell to the ice and were separated, Ference was bleeding. They both were given 5 minute penalties for fighting, but Ference was given an additional 2 minute penalty for roughing.

For all the talk out there that Sid should have tossed his helmet and visor when he tossed his gloves, check out these photos that show Ference too came to the man-dance wearing his own helmet and visor:

Sidney lets his fists do the talking...

...as Ference responds in kind.

Here are two clips of the fight, each from different angles:

Friend of The Show Alex M. sent me this video clip of Sid's reaction to the melee:

And just a few minutes ago, Friend of The Show Cassie C. sent me this article on ESPN.com chronicling Ference's reaction to his tangle with The Kid:

Q: Last month you fought Sidney Crosby in his first NHL fight. How did that fight start?

AF: I wish it was a better fight, since I get to talk about it so much. It started like any other fight. I finished my check on him in the corner and then he punched me and I punched him back, then we fought. I was surprised it was his first fight, because I've seen him punch guys before after he gets hit. I figured someone else would have grabbed him and started a fight. It would have been a fight no matter who it was because that's the way hockey is supposed to be -- if you give a guy a shot in the face, you better be willing to drop the gloves to follow up with it.

Q: What kind of reaction did you get from friends, fans and the media after fighting with arguably the game's biggest star?

AF: My sister called me, she's a teacher in Alberta, she told me she has been getting a hard time from her students [laughs]. My friends kind of laughed and said they wished it was a little longer, they wanted more punches thrown. Guys on the team have thought it was funny how much exposure it got, especially since they think it was the worst fight I have had this year.

Q: But can you really win a fight like that? Let's say you broke his jaw or gave him a concussion. Then you're known as the guy who injured Sidney Crosby. Isn't it a losing battle for you?

AF: [Laughs.] if I did that, I would have to fight Georges Laraque every time we played Pittsburgh. I wouldn't want that [laughs].

Q: Did Laraque or any of the other Pens have words for you after you fought Crosby?

AF: No, nobody said anything. That's the thing, nobody should have to say anything, the kid's not little. He's bigger than I am.

Q: Crosby cut you during the fight. How good a fighter is he?

AF: No, his visor cut me. He came up and his visor cut the top of my head. Go back to that Jarome [Iginla] question. Jarome in my books is a better hockey player than Crosby because he does those things. He will fight, he will lay his body on the line and take the hit and not complain if someone hits him and stuff like that. The superstars of the league should have to do that because they're hockey players, they're not ice-skating princesses. Hockey is an emotional game, you have to stand up for yourself. You have to stand up for your actions. If you punch somebody in the face, then you should fight, that's the way hockey is suppose to be.

Q: So are you saying Crosby is a little soft?

AF: Well, he's not Jarome.

WOW. I feel a rematch coming, and my money's on Sid: Anyone that's learning how to fight by working with Big Georges Laraque and Gary freakin' Roberts is not someone you want to piss off so flippantly. Stay tuned - for some reason I'm thinking that this isn't the last we'll hear of this.


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(Based on all work at sidcrosby.blogspot.com.)