Sidney Crosby, idiot fans and coach’s challenges (Wednesday Countdown)

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 10:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins reacts as he skates off the ice after being defeated by the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 in the NHL game at Gila River Arena on October 10, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 10: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins reacts as he skates off the ice after being defeated by the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 in the NHL game at Gila River Arena on October 10, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Ed. Note: The column formerly known as the Puck Daddy Power Rankings.)

8. The Bryan Bickell demotion

This player who over-performed career norms in the playoffs and got a huge deal out of it but then started playing like he always had and was more or less immediately not worth his contract?

It was impossible to predict, I tell you.

7. The Puck-Taking Man

Adults take sports far too seriously. If you say a thing about how you don't think a player on their favorite team is good, they will complain about it to you for weeks or even months. If you say their team isn't good, they will never stop crying about it.

Part of that zealotry also extends to the need to be jerks to kids at sporting events. When the opportunity to get something at a game they attend presents itself, to them it becomes a Darwinian struggle:

Every man for himself, women and children be damned.

Go to any game where they throw free t-shirts into the crowd and watch as grown-ass adults with mortgages and kids of their own wrestle over a free shirt from Chipotle, snatching the precious, precious prize of an XL white t-shirt with a tiny team logo printed the left breast from each other like greedy hyenas. Many years ago at a Sox game, a 350-pound man almost knocked a friend of mine, who couldn't have been more than 10 at the time, over the railing of the upper deck trying to catch a foul ball that he had no chance of reaching if his arms had been twice as long.

And so it was that the crappy old man who was sitting near the Sabres bench at a Penguins game last week stole away a puck from a small child and then beat a hasty retreat like the cowardly bandit he was.

That guy sucks. No one likes that guy. And yet he probably had to go home to a wife or kids or whatever and be like, “The bad man is me.”

Even if he just had to go to work the next day, everyone knew he was The Puck Taker and glared at him.

Is that enough of a punishment? I don't know. People were acting like he should never be allowed at a Pens game again, but if we're using that logic, this is true of nearly all adult males who like their team (and the opportunity to get free stuff) just a little too much. By that token, the Bad Man's biggest mistake was not knowing he was on camera when he behaved like millions of other men have behaved in the past.

All that said, the kid shouldn't have gotten a jersey out of it. I bet his dad is gonna take it anyway.

6. The coach's challenge

Hey, the idea of getting goal calls absolutely 110 percent correct is a great one. There should be a chip in the puck and a guy whose only job is to make sure the puck went in and everything was clean as a whistle about the play. No kick, no throw, no goalie interference, none of it.

But because this is the damn NHL we're talking about, of course a system to check and make sure goals are good or not-good got screwed up badly. This is seriously supposed to be a binary thing, with very little room for interpretation.

And yet if you watched Saturday's Oilers/Flames game (which ruled) you would have seen the refs disallow a clear goal for Edmonton because someone happened to lightly make contact with the goaltender a full second before the puck crossed the line.

If “literally no contact with the goalie ever” were the rule, then fair enough. It would be like that Bruins/Capitals playoff game where a late goal was disallowed because a player had a toe in the crease. Back then, you couldn't have a toe in the crease (unless it was the Cup Final against Buffalo), so while that was a stupid rule, you could at least look it up and say, “Hmm, well I guess that's right.”

But the rule in the NHL as it currently stands is along the lines of “you can't make contact with the goalie in such a way that it impedes his ability to make the save.” On this goal, there was clearly no such impediment despite the contact, but as they said on the Hockey Night In Canada broadcast, that's how the refs are calling it. Which is stupid. Because that's not the rule. If you wanted to make that the rule, then by all means go for it.

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Bob Hartley or any other coach, though, shouldn't have the ability to get a three-minute timeout just because an opponent was somewhere in the vicinity of the crease and maybe if his stick happened to tap the goalie three seconds prior to the goal.

Everyone always says the NHL wants to see more scoring. So why enforce a rule so that it effectively removes a number of goals from the scoresheet over the course of the season?

5. The dreaded vote of confidence

Bruce Boudreau is lucky he picked up a 'W' on Sunday night, because it came right after Bob Murray said he wouldn't make any rash firing decisions. That's always the kiss of death.

Here's another thing that might be working in his favor, though: Compensation.

If the Ducks fire Boudreau now, they potentially have to give up a second-round pick to do it. Now sure, they might get a pick back if Boudreau is hired anywhere (and by god he ought to be). But what if teams are just waiting out the calendar before they can their coaches?

We all know that the league is going to significantly revamp or even strip away the current compensation rules in January. If, or perhaps when, that happens, it's probably a pretty safe bet that plenty of coaches get canned. Obviously that comes with the caveat that teams will have had an extra few months to evaluate where they stand, and more coaches would be likely to get fired by then anyway if the team still stinks. But still, you'd have to think Columbus giving up what's likely to be a high second-round pick to get John Tortorella kind of scared everyone straight for a while.

4. Crosby is bad! Ovechkin is better!

People in Pittsburgh for some reason now love detailing the many ways in which Sidney Crosby has let them down in their own lives. Look at all these points he's not-getting! Look at all these shots he's not-taking! You know, a dozen games into the season.

What I've never understood is, “Why can't they both just be great?”

Remember when Ovechkin had those seasons in which he “only” scored 30 goals twice in a row? And everyone in Pittsburgh was so delighted and people were saying, “I bet he's off steroids now!” but then within a pretty short amount of time he went back to scoring 50-plus like clockwork? Yeah.

What do you think is more likely here: That Sidney Crosby suddenly became an average hockey player, or that he's going through a difficult stretch of his career and will still somehow figure out a way to put up mega points once again in the near future? I know what answer I'd go with, but then I'm not personally disappointed in anyone here.

3. Critical video

Funniest story of the week was how the Canucks told Jake Virtanen and Jake McCann they made the team for the full season. They did it by mercilessly pointing out every flaw in the rookies' games.

They almost made McCann cry. Hilarious.

2. The Pacific Division

Well the good news is that no division in hockey is going to end up being more insane. The bad news is that at least one flat-out terrible team is almost certainly going to make the playoffs out of it. Even at this point, how low is the bar for “third in the Pacific” going to be? About 91 points or something like that? Maybe 93 if we're lucky?

It's kind of pathetic, really. You'd have thought that the league originally moved away from the divisional playoff format because of how bad some of the teams sneaking into the postseason always ended up being, and were therefore edging out better clubs from tougher divisions that actually deserved to make it. There's a non-zero chance that, like, Vancouver gets in with 91 points and prevents a 95- or even 97-point team from the Central from getting in. How pissed do you think that team (probably the Jets) would be?

On the other hand, it sure is nice to watch the world burn, isn't it? The Coyotes are still fourth in the division. The third-place team is currently on pace for something like 89 or 90 points right now. And that doesn't feel like it's in any way an issue of “they started out slow but they're going to get better. That feels like exactly where a third-place team in that division should be.

And boy is that sad. But also very, very funny.

1. The Oilers

I don't think a team has been this fun to watch in years. They win in entertaining fashion. They lose in even more entertaining fashion.

All blessings to these Oilers and their 12 first-overall picks. They make hockey beautiful.

So get well soon, Connor.

(Not ranked this week: Losing the right to do a racist thing.

How were people actually mad that the Jets said they couldn't wear head dresses and war paint to a game at MTS Centre if they happened to be a fat white guy from the Greater Chicago Area?

Look, you want to parse the origins of the Chicago team's racist nickname and say, “Actually it's not racist because...” then okay fine. It's racist but you might be able to convince some people that it's not. The logo, though? Extremely racist. Racist as the day is long.

Also racist is war paint and a head dress. It really isn't that much different from those morons who wore blackface to a Habs game because they like PK Subban. But of course white guys are mad about it, because this is the kind of thing they love to get mad about.

And hey, here's some good news, Chicago is a gross organization that will let you be as racist as you want all day long. Go to a home game and you can do the goddamn tomahawk chop if you want to, you pig.)

Ryan Lambert is a Puck Daddy columnist. His email is here and his Twitter is here.

(All statistics via War On Ice unless otherwise noted.)