Crosby cowardly? Not a chance

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby skates past fans holding signs before Game 4 of their NHL...

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby skates past fans holding signs before Game 4 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff hockey series. (REUTERS/Tim Shaffer)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:15 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia Flyers sniper Claude Giroux used the word “embarrassing” at least three times.

We lost count after that.

No, Giroux was not referring to the cover of Wednesday’s Philadelphia Daily News, which depicted Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby as the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz, complete with facial hair.

That was funny. Even Crosby laughed after the Penguins morning skate when he was shown the paper, complete with the headline “The Cowardly Penguin.”

“That’s one of the nicer things they’ve called me here,” Crosby chuckled.

About 10 hours later, he was smiling again, this time after a 10-3 thumping of the Flyers at the Wells-Fargo Center to prevent a sweep in their NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal.

Down the hallway in the Flyers dressing room, however, grins were scarce.

Just ask Giroux.

“We have to regroup,” he said.

Added teammate Jaromir Jagr: “If anyone would have told us in this room last week that we’d be up 3-1 in this series at this point, I think we all would have taken that.”

Maybe. But if the wobbly goaltending of Philly's Ilya Bryzgalov continues, that lead in this series quickly will whittle away.

A year ago, Flyers goalie Brian Boucher compared himself and fellow struggling puckstoppers Michael Leighton and Sergei Bobrovsky to the Three Stooges. That term isn’t relevant this time, because there is only Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky. “Two Stooges” just doesn’t sound right.

Bryzgalov got the hook in the second period after allowing five goals. It could have been more. In four games of this series, the Flyers have fished 22 pucks out of their net. Somewhere, Bernie Parent, even at his advanced age, should be getting fit for equipment.

Asked what he could take out of this game by a local TV talking head, Bryzgalov furrowed his brow and said: “A loss.”

Heading into Game 4, this city was ready to bury Crosby. Instead, when the final horn sounded, they wanted to bury their heads in “embarrassment,” to use Giroux’s word.

Crosby had taken a lot of heat in this series. And that didn’t change on Wednesday night.

Should he have said after Game 3 that he didn’t like anyone on the Flyers? That’s debatable. Either way, he should not have been surprised that the Philly organization responded by handing out orange T-shirts to every fan entering the arena for Game 4 on Wednesday that featured the words: “Guess what? We don’t like you either!”

The Flyers certainly get the award for originality in that one.

One of the places Crosby was criticized was in a blog post penned by Jagr, who questioned the way Crosby had chirped in Game 3. Having said that, the former Penguin was not surprised at how hard Sid The Kid played in Game 4.

“He plays every game like that,” Jagr said. "That wasn't the question. It was about that there were a lot of scrums (in Game 3) in he was involved in almost all of them.

"He's a world class player, probably the best in the world. When you are Sid Crosby, everything you do gets attention and gets written about."

Jagr was asked by QMI Agency if that was the same thing he experienced in his younger days as a superstar with the Pens.

"I wasn't that popular," he said, bursting into laughter.

On this "embarrassing" night, that was about the only laughter coming out of the Flyers dressing room.

mike.zeisberger@sunmedia.ca

Twitter.com/zeisberger


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