Sid 'public enemy No. 1' in Philly

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (R) talks with Philadelphia Flyers' Claude Giroux (L) during the...

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (R) talks with Philadelphia Flyers' Claude Giroux (L) during the first period in Game 3 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff hockey series in Philadelphia, April 15, 2012. (REUTERS/Tim Shaffer)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:28 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA - Sidney Crosby could not be more despised here in the City of Brotherly Loathe even if he was wearing a Dallas Cowboys jersey.

That’s tough to do.

Remember, this is the same town where the Cowboys are so hated, fans actually once rose for a standing ovation upon seeing that Dallas wideout Michael Irvin had blown out his knee and needed to be scraped off the field and onto a golf cart at the old Veteran’s Stadium.

But if you listen to Flyers forward Scott Hartnell, it seems Crosby has reached those same heights -- or, in this case, those same low depths.

“Sid is Public Enemy No. 1, I think, in this town, bar none,” proclaimed Hartnell on Sunday afternoon.

Hartnell then started in on his own line of Sid bashing, something the rabid sellout throng at the Wells Fargo Center had kicked off hours earlier when the first of hundreds of “Crosby Sucks” chants were uttered when the Pittsburgh Penguins team bus rolled into the parking lot.

In his own calm, cool and collective manner, Hartnell accused Crosby of chirping, initiating scrums and various other heinous acts you can think of.

“It’s not fun playing in that kind of stuff,” Hartnell said after his Flyers had posted an 8-4 victory in what was a festival of cheap shots.

“You ask the best player in the world, Sidney Crosby, what they were thinking and he said 'that’s playoff hockey.' For me, that’s not playoff hockey, it’s dangerous hockey. It’s trying to hurt some people out there.

“It’s scary. You got to keep your head up at all times. Crosby comes up and grabs me from behind. Another guys comes in and throws about eight bombs at the back of my head. (Thankfully) I’m no worse for the wear.”

Asked if that was the dirtiest tactics he had ever seen from an opposing team in the playoffs, Hartnell once again brought up Crosby’s name.

“After every scrum we made it a point to walk away every time,” Hartnell said. “And I think Crosby started almost every scrum.”

If that wasn’t enough, Crosby actually dropped the gloves with Flyers star Claude Giroux at 12:02 of the first period. By that time the Flyers already had built up a 3-1 lead and, even from up in the press box, you could sense the bubbling frustration of the Pens getting ready to boil over.

“I think Giroux went to pick up a glove and Sid went to knock it away,” Hartnell said. “There’s no reason for that type of stuff. The play was over. (Giroux) stood up for himself and that was good to see. You don’t see Sidney Crosby fighting at all and when he’s doing that type of stuff, it’s great. He’s off his game.

“The fight he had with Giroux ... almost every thing that happened, he was out there.”

Let’s have some perspective here. This is Scott Hartnell talking, not a Lady Byng candidate. Nor should the Flyers be considered choirboys themselves. In fact, back when Mike Richards was still a popular captain with the Flyers, fans here viewed his efforts to get under the opposition’s collective skins as a sign of heart and leadership, especially if he took three or four hacks at the glove of the other team’s goalie like Crosby did to Ilya Bryzgalov in the first period.

Really revealing were the words of Flyers' defenceman Kimmo Timonen, the furthest thing from a goon you can find in this league. On this particular afternoon of shinny lunacy, even he got into the act, kicked out of the game for scrapping with Pens' defenceman Kris Letang.

“(There was) some stuff going on earlier and Crosby did something. I knocked his stick out and we went at it and (Letang) came up from behind. That’s it,” Timonen said.

“I’m disappointed. There are some guys running around who don’t usually do that, who are not supposed to do that. I don’t understand that.”

Was Crosby one of those “guys?”

“I don’t know,” he replied, playing dumb.

Scott Hartnell does.

 

mike.zeisberger@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/zeisberger

 

 

 

 


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