Hey, remember when this happened to Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Final? He of the healing jaw, and Zdeno Chara of the strength of 20 men?
Chances are you missed it in real time but caught the replay on TSN, which manufactured a controversy after Crosby’s agent Pat Brisson made noise about the incident. As CBS Boston reminds us:
“TSN’s Darren Dreger actually took Chara aside to show him the video. Chara is in the middle of playing for the Stanley Cup.”
Hey, gotta keep the sources happy. Every journalist does occasionally.
What did Crosby think about this heinous assault after the whistle that probably happens 10 times a game during the playoffs?
CTV caught up with Sid, who was training with Nathan MacKinnon in Halifax, and asked about the Chara Punch:
“It`s part of the game,” says Crosby. “Refs can’t always see that kind of stuff. There’s nothing you can do. It’s part of the game. Guys are going to do that, I can’t do anything. If Zdeno Chara’s going to decide he`s going to punch me, what am I going to do? So, you kinda hope it gets called and if it doesn`t, you play through it.”
Crosby said his jaw injury was “not a factor” in the sweep loss to the Boston Bruins.
One other interesting comment on the Bruins from Crosby, about physical play:
“It is playoff hockey,” says Crosby. “At the end of the day, we didn’t score. I don`t think it had anything to do with the physical play. If anything, I think we did a pretty good job of initiating that. Maybe we were more physical than they were at certain points. We didn’t score. It’s something that we’ve turned the page, we`ll learn from it, nothing we can do now.”
Remember Crosby’s complaint after Game 1 that the referees had allowed the Bruins to “escalate” the physical play?
"They're letting a lot go out there, and the more it gets like that, the more it’s going to escalate. You can only control and channel that stuff so much. You keep letting guys do that stuff, you’re just going to push the envelope.
"That’s something we obviously want to stay away from, but it’s kind of a natural thing when it gets like that."
First off: It’s nothing the Penguins wanted to stay away from. As Crosby said, they initiated it by design.
But when the Bruins counter-punched, there were allowed “push the envelope” by the officials, in ways the Penguins didn't want to push it.
Why didn’t the Penguins score? A variety of reasons. But one of them, in the end, was trying to be something they’re not, or at least what they’re misguided into thinking that could be: Big and bad, like the Bruins.