Thursday, January 24, 2008

So Just What Was Sid Looking At?

Monday's Penguins Q&A with Dave Molinari (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) dealt with - what else? - Sid's injury. A reader named Kim from Canada asked Molinari if Sid's full-on style of play is a bit too reckless. Molinari's response follows:
Crosby doesn't leave his feet, whether it's to go into a full-fledged sprawl or simply to drop to one knee, because he's interested in making it into the day's highlights show. He does it when he believes that's the way to maximize his chances of making a particular play, usually to capitalize on a scoring opportunity.

As Crosby discovered (or perhaps was reminded) last Friday night, there are risks to leaving one's feet, but it's worth noting that he didn't do it voluntarily, having had his skates taken out from under him. Remember, Tampa Bay defenseman Paul Ranger picked up a slashing minor on the play.

Also, there did not appear to be anything particularly ominous about the sequence that ended with Crosby getting a high ankle sprain. He wasn't moving particularly fast -- there have been times when he's hit the boards so hard, one half-expects him to burst into flames -- and seemed to have ample time to prepare for the impact he knew was coming.

Unfortunately for Crosby, there are indications his focus shifted as he was nearing the boards, quite possibly because he wanted to see how the play that was now behind him finished, and his right skate ended up in an awkward position when he made contact.

That was a painful (for Crosby) and costly (for him and the team) lesson, but don't expect it to change the way Crosby goes about his work. Next time he's in a game, he'll leave his feet in a nanosecond if he believes that's the right play to make.
I was originally going to quote a section of Molinari's response, but in light of what my husband saw on television yesterday, I thought I should print it in its entirety. You see, being that I do live in the dead center of Pennsylvania, I am fortunate enough (or unfortunate - depending on your point of view) to get T.V. stations from both the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia markets. Yesterday, he was watching a replay of the Flyers/Devils game. The intermission report featured a segment about Sir Sidney's injury. One of the sportscasters made the comment that Sid went down because he wasn't paying attention to what was in front of him, which is 100% true. You can clearly see in the video that Sid's head is turned away from the boards (until he hits them, of course). The sportscaster then went on to offer his own opinion as to why Sid was looking back: because he wanted to make sure he had drawn the penalty on the play. (I wish I had a link or a YouTube clip of the segment for you. If anyone has it, let me know.)

Now, as we establish at the top of the page in the longest header on the Internet, we don't know Sid. At all. Never met him. Ever. BUT I can tell you that the world's best hockey player is NOT going to risk injury checking to see if he's drawn a penalty. This is a kid that will take a high stick and ignore it to keep cycling the puck on a delayed penalty. He's certainly not going to look back at the ref for a penalty signal while speeding towards the boards on his arse. Any hockey player worth his salt knows that he is extremely vulnerable when he is off his feet. All control of forward motion is lost. Sid may be a lot of things... Stupid isn't one of them. For the record, I'm with Molinari: Most likely Sid was looking back to keep track of the whereabouts of that puck.

Now here's something for a laugh before our big game against the Flyers tonight. First, I'm sure you remember this quote from Andrew Ference:
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.
Well, it inspired good Friend of The Show Cassie C., who apparently has waaaay too much time on her hands (Just kidding! You know I ♥ you, girl!), to create this:

Remember that game time is 7:00pm Eastern tonight! GO PENS!!!!!!!

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