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Sidney Crosby on John Tortorella’s whiner label, why it’s ‘ridiculous’

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

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Philadelphia Flyers assistant coach Craig Berube said he "whines to the refs all day and all night." New York Rangers Coach John Tortorella indirectly called him a "whining star."

On Friday, Sidney Crosby responded to two Eastern Conference rivals — one a playoff opponent, the other a potential one — labeling him an arrogant complainer who, like his Pittsburgh Penguins teammates, gets away with dirty play.

After Penguins practice, Crosby said he vaguely heard Tortorella's critique after Brooks Orpik's hit on Derek Stepan but that "I figured he was just blowing up. I'm sure he'll apologize today about it and everything will be forgotten."

On being labeled, with Evgeni Malkin, as "whiners" by the Rangers (via the Penguins): "I don't know what he's talking about. I mean, if you want you can put a camera on us all game, put a camera on (Ryan Callahan) all game. You'll see who's over there more. He should worry about his own players."

On Berube's critique of his demeanor: "It's coming out of Philly, which has been coming out for seven years since I've been in the league. I'll be the first one to admit my first couple of years I was pretty hard on the refs. I've come a long way since then, but I'm nowhere near where I was then and to get those kinds of remarks every day is uncalled for and not warranted. I don't really know how much I can say. I don't need to sit here and defend myself for something that's not going on, but if they want to try that garbage, try it."

Later on Friday, Crosby went into more detail about the accusations and the whiner label that he admitted he earned as a young player, but that he feels is a mislabel in 2012.

Just because he talks to the referees as a captain doesn't mean he's whining, you see.

From Crosby's interview with Mark Madden on 105.9 The X, the Penguins star was asked about Tortorella to lead off the chat:

"It's not a coincidence that all of this nonsense is going on this time of year, especially where it's coming from, it's not a coincidence. It's something we've all dealt with before and shouldn't be surprised by it.

"In the case of last night, he's obviously upset that his player gets hit, but I don't know when all this stuff started where all this bickering had to go on in the media. The game is played on the ice. There's things that happen out there that I'm sure both teams don't like, and that's been the case since a lot of guys played before us. That's hockey. I don't know when everyone started having to complain through the media … it can stay on the ice a lot of times. It seems to be a pretty common thing here lately."

Yeah, it's weird … seriously, who uses the media to bitch about things that happen on the ice?

Madden later made a quip about how Crosby didn't "whine" when he asked about increased obstruction in the NHL as the playoffs near; Crosby then launched into an explanation of his "whiner" label:

"Maybe it's because there's a camera on me a lot, so the odd time that they do show me asking a question or whatever's happening out there, they see it.

"I was guilty of [whining] my first couple of years. I still am intense, but I wasn't able to channel it the right way, probably got that reputation early. But with each year that's gone by I've realized that's not the right way to do things, and there's no benefit from doing that.

"That being said, there are times I get emotional. It's who I am. I'm passionate about the game. I want to win. I'm not going to try and pretend that doesn't happen, but not to the extent that's been talked about in the last week.

"It's pretty ridiculous, to be honest with you."

Crosby said that his captaincy has him discussing things with the referee and linesmen throughout the game, and that's where some of this perception comes from.

He also mentioned he's still living with Mario but building a new house in Pittsburgh. And that he's looking forward to seeing "American Reunion." That too.

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