Crosby a world-class whiner?

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:58 PM ET

MONTREAL – There are a couple of ways to look at Sidney Crosby’s actions in the Eastern Conference semifinal.

One way: the Pittsburgh Penguins captain is a world-class whiner, leading to him being dubbed by one caller to Team 990 here, “Sidney Crybaby.”

The other: he is doing whatever he can to help his Penguins win by being a world-class whiner.

Crosby has no goals in the Eastern Conference semifinal heading into Game 4 Thursday night and no goals in his last eight games at the Bell Centre, but his club leads the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 in the best-of-seven set.

One of the things that make Crosby so good is his intensity. If there are players who work harder or have more try than him, I can’t name them.

That level of compete has manifested itself in different ways in this series.

Crosby smashed his stick over the post to the left of Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak in Game 2 and started a bit of a gong show at the end of the second period in Game 3 after getting brushed with a stick. He clutched his face and fell on all fours but when no call was forthcoming, he whacked Canadiens defenceman Josh Gorges across the leg with his stick.

Big scrum, more facewashes than after pudding time at daycare.

“Did you see what happened at the end of the period? You see Josh Gorges stick hit me in the back of the head?” Crosby asked a questioner Wednesday. “I don’t think anybody likes getting a stick in the back of the head.”

After retaliating against Gorges, Crosby then got in the face of the officials - twice - right after the scrum and then once the period had ended by the gate leading to the Penguins dressing room.

Just before all that, Crosby used his Platinum Superstar Status with the refs to wring a holding penalty out on Habs defenceman Hal Gill. The Canadiens wound up with Gill on the hold and then partner Gorges in the box after the scrum, their two best penalty killers. The Penguins scored on the power play, of course, on their way to a 2-0 win.

Just before all that, Crosby used his Platinum Superstar Status with the refs to wring a holding penalty out of Habs defenceman Hal Gill. The Canadiens wound up with Gill, for the hold, and then partner Josh Gorges – their two best penalty killers – in the box after the scrum. The Penguins scored, of course, on the power play on their way to a 2-0 win.

This is not to say any of Crosby’s histrionics are wrong. It is completely unsavoury to the Habs faithful, but it’s what makes Crosby tick. You pull out all the stops at this time of year.

“It’s the playoffs. It’s the way it should be. Nobody is squeaky clean. If you are, you’re in the wrong game,” shrugged Canadiens forward Scott Gomez, who wrapped his glove around Crosby’s face in that second period scrum.

Frustrating?

“Probably,” said Canadiens coach Jacques Martin, “because they missed the guy who started the ruckus.”

That would be 87.

So, did Martin think Crosby is benefiting from the double standard afforded the best player in the game when it comes to the officiating?

“That’s not for me to say. I think the league handles those situations,” said the coach. “You look at Crosby, those superstars, do they get a different treatment? You guys see a lot of games, you guys have your own opinions. I think that’s what’s meaningful.”

So, I wondered, is Martin saying they get preferential treatment or asking if they do?

“I’m leaving it up to you,” he said. “You probably have more of an influence on (NHL commissioner) Gary (Bettman) than I do.”

Thanks, Jacques, but Gary wasn’t sharing with me any of the Jos. Louis cakes he got from the wonderful staff in the Jacques Beauchamp press lounge at the Bell Centre Tuesday night.

It’s the way it’s always been, or perceived to be: there’s a double standard when it comes to guys like Crosby.

If you’re Crosby, you take advantage of it.

“Everyone out there is like (Crosby’s) not allowed to hit back. It’s the way hockey should be. Hey, I used to play on a line with Claude Lemieux,” said Gomez, referring to his old teammate with the New Jersey Devils.

“Anything anybody does is not going to shock me.”

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca


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