We covered almost all of these incidents in our post on the Philadelphia Flyers' Game 3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, but this compendium of hits, fights and cheap shots from alander94 on YouTube really does bring home how [expletive] insane the nastiness was in this game:
Sidney Crosby: For the last time, not a goody two-shoes.
As was previously reported Monday, the NHL will have Arron Asham and James Neal answer for their actions in Monday hearings — Neal, in fact, will have two of them.
Asham has been offered an in-person hearing Tuesday morning for his match penalty for cross-checking Brayden Schenn at 14:15 of the first period. Asham received a match penalty on the hit.
Neal's hearings focus on the hit against Sean Couturier in the third period, as well as the charging penalty he received for a hit on Claude Giroux later in the period. Neal was not penalized on the Couturier hit.
There are three themes coming out of this mess for the Penguins, heading into Game 4.
Composure, or a Total Lack Thereof
Crosby can talk all he wants about how the Penguins weren't frustrated, but no one's listening. It's one thing for an opponent to agitate a team into taking stupid penalties; it's a whole different level of psychological damage when the Penguins become what they (allegedly) loathe, which is a collection of cheap shot artists with impulse control problems. And against the Flyers, no less. This is Batman blowing away The Joker with a 12-gauge stuff.
Hypocrisy, Sidney Crosby Edition
Sid was in the middle of a lot of the rough stuff in Game 3, instigating conflicts with the Flyers by poking away Jakub Voracek's glove and then restraining Scott Hartnell from going after James Neal. Elliotte Friedman of CBC believes that because of Crosby's injury history, he's lost the right to throw himself into the fray like that:
Crosby loves to compete and play a gritty game, but, on Sunday, he crossed into "What are you going to do about it?" territory. He can't do that anymore. The consequences are too great.
You can love Sidney Crosby or you can hate him. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion. The problem is: if someone does do something about it, everyone loses.
How do the players feel about that?
Hypocrisy, Mario Lemieux Edition
Well, you knew this was coming. From Mario Lemieux's February 2011 on the New York Islanders' goon tactics:
"Hockey is a tough, physical game, and it always should be," Lemieux said in a statement. "But what happened Friday night on Long Island wasn't hockey. It was a travesty. It was painful to watch the game I love turn into a sideshow like that.
"The N.H.L. had a chance to send a clear and strong message that those kinds of actions are unacceptable and embarrassing to the sport. It failed.
"We, as a league, must do a better job of protecting the integrity of the game and the safety of our players. We must make it clear that those kinds of actions will not be tolerated and will be met with meaningful disciplinary action. If the events relating to Friday night reflect the state of the league, I need to rethink whether I want to be a part of it."
Travis Hughes of SB Nation and Broad Street Hockey believes the Penguins tarnished the reputation of their franchise on Sunday and goes right to the Mario letter:
"His team is the one turning the game into a sideshow."
Mario deserves it. Every bit of the backlash. His "take my puck and go home" threat to the NHL attempted to claim a moral high ground that no professional hockey team — let alone one with Matt Cooke, before he found Hockey Jesus — should attempt to claim. And now that the Penguins are the ones endangering the safety of players … what say you, Mario?