I started writing this in the comments section of my post from yesterday, but it got a little long, so I've moved it to it's own post.
The post suggested that the Pittsburgh game could have been a character building evening for the Bruins, and further suggested that if Sidney Crosby responded to the talk of running or injuring superstars by dropping the gloves like some of the other, more physical captains in NHL history, he could diffuse the situation on his own, and give his team some momentum after getting run off the rink by New Jersey all year.
First off, wow- that stirred the pot!
And now, to address a few points:
-The Bruins only put 17 shots on goal last night, at least two of which were met with mock cheers. You're not going to win like that, and frankly, an effort like that makes the post I wrote kind of moot. Sidney Crosby doesn't need to skin his knuckles for opponents who put up so pathetic an opposition. That said, I still feel that the majority of the comments I received were reactionary, and several of them were downright ignorant. Not all- some. Here they are:
This is one of the good comments, and the concern you raise about Sid getting injured is a valid one. You write that if that were to happen, "The Pens season would be over." Well, exactly. That's where the Bruins are right now. The leading scorer on the Bruins is now done for the season thanks to unpenalized, Pittsburgh thuggery, which is the entire reason the reprehensible talk of running Pittsburgh's stars was brought up.
My thought was if Pittsburgh's stars, specifically Crosby, assumed some leadership (and with it, yes risk of injury) in a standup, straightforward way, it would diffuse the situation, and put any notion that Crosby and the Pens were a cheap, dirty team to rest. As I mentioned, the way the Bruins came out last night for the final two periods, there was no need, which speaks to the Bruins lack of motivation and team identity much more than the Penguins.
"why talk about Lemieux's non-fighting ways when we could say the same about Gretzky? Didn't have Mario's size or his proclivity to give slashes to the ankles, but should Captain mean "Go fight whenever needed"?"
This is a good point as well- and no, a captain's role is definatley not "go fight whenever needed" but I do think it's "lead by example." And if you're playing a team which is out for blood, and a member of your team was responisble for it, I don't think that suggesting a fight is out of line in this instance. I like that you bring up Mario's "slashes to the ankles." I would never suggest that a captain, simply becuase he wears the C, has to be a fighter. Mario I brought up because he played a chippy, cheap shot kind of game when it suited him, and cried like a spoiled child if anyone gave it back to him. It might be beside my main point, but it's true.
Anon #2: Ha ha! You think I'm a journalist? You say "what a biased joke" this article is. Uh, yeah, dummy. It says "American Hockey Fan" up there. FAN. Not journalist. What, did you think this was- the Globe and Mail?
Anon #3 This is a good comment. It brings up the point that Crosby had wanted to fight Savard earlier this year (last year maybe?) took his visor off, and Savard wouldn't fight. I remember this, and it's a point well taken, even though it obtusely ignores the fact that THE BRUINS NO LONGER HAVE MARC SAVARD. The reason we don't have Marc Savard is not because Sidney Crosby honorably challenged him to a fight, Savard accepted his challenge and got hurt. Marc Savard, (and likely the rest of the Bruins season) is done for the year because of unpenalized thuggery on the part of Matt Cooke, who is a repeat offender. I admire Crosby for taking off his visor in that instance, and am ashamed of Savard for not answering that bell, but it's a very different situation here, and you have huge balls to bring up Savard at all. Was Savard "a chicken" when Matt Cooke hit him from the blind side, knocked him to the ice and gave him a season ending injury? Does he deserve having this happen to him becuase he didn't fight Crosby months ago? All this does is back up my point, that Crosby does have it in him to step up and fight when it's required. You also say that "the leadership Crosby has to show is to tell Matt Cooke that no matter who or how many times the Bruins want to fight 'you are going to fight'." Wow- so that's your idea of a leader? Tell a member of your team that he's on his own? If you're that embarrassed of the guy why not cut him? Or suspend him internally? You really think it's the role of a captain to say "go fight your own battles?" I would think the role of a captian would be to stick up for each and every member of his team and lead by example. If Cooke gets in a straight forward one-on-one fight, then no worries, but I think it's Crosby's job to say "if anybody takes cheap shots or liberties with Matt Cooke, or any other member of this team, I expect you to go after them, and I'll do the same thing."
"From this article I can only assume the only Penguins hockey you've ever watched is highlights of the Savard hit and maybe the hit on Cam Neely based on your comments about Ulf doing some dirty work."
Well, I have seen more Penguins hockey than that, but I did also see both of those hits, both of which were dirty, both of which were on superstars, both were by men with a history of hurting people, and both of which you should be ashamed of.
"How about you suggest that the players on your team quit acting like pussies, man up and fight Cooke so we can all move on."
Um, I did. I didn't say "pussies" but I did say this could be a physical scrap-filled game that could bring the Bruins together as a team, much the way the Dallas game did last season. I also said that "Cooke would get his whuppin." This article wasn't really about Cooke.
"Why should Crosby turn himself into a goon for one game just to satisfy the bloodlust of some braindead Bruins fans?"
OK- look. The point of this is not to satisfy Bruins' fans bloodlust, the point of this was there were a lot of people wringing their hands about some Bruin intentionally hurting Crosby, which is repellent. The reason people are bringing this up in the first place is that is exactly what a member of the Penguins did to a superstar on the Bruins. So, that's not really "bloodlust" and with Savard suffering from a concussion, I'd like to hear maybe a word of condemnation towards Cooke before throwing around terms like "brain dead." And there is a big difference between a fight, between both guys who are facing each other, and a blind side shot. The Bruins didn't create this situation, a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the NHL did. I was suggesting that a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, namely the captain, could have stepped up in an honorable way. I was only suggesting that Crosby become "a goon" if you would also classify guys like Iginla, Ray Bourque, and Mark Messier as goons. I would certainly not.
Anon #4 "Mario Lemieux cried and whined? Are you a fucking idiot?"
Yes he did. Over and over and over again. I may have muddied my point by taking a shot at Mario Lemieux, but am I an F-ing idiot for saying this, not at all, in fact, you kind of are by denying it. It's all on tape dude. Mario Lemieux was arguably the most dynamic offensive talent in NHL history. His undeniable skill was thrilling, and I admire his ability to recover and return from illness and injury. But this guy had about as much class on the ice as Wayne Gretzky did behind the bench. This clip took me about 4 seconds to find online, and if you watch the whole thing, you'll see the Pittsburgh announcers defend him over and over again, until it's obvious that he's a spoiled child throwing a tantrum in a professional game. It's a disgrace.
Pittsburgh fans like to say that I'm somehow making this up because I'm bitter about the way those Pittsburgh teams beat Boston in the early 90's, and while yeah, that sucked, losing to those teams had nothing to do with my negative opinion of Lemieux. Mark Messier beat the Bruins in the cup finals twice, Gretzky did it once, and despite losing to them, I look back on both their careers fondly. Mark Recchi was a member of at least one of those cup-winning teams, and I rejoiced when I heard he was going to be a Bruin. But Mario Lemieux played a style of hockey that said "I'm so much better than everybody else that I deserve different rules" and I don't respect that style of play, no matter how good you are.
"it's an interesting notion, but i'm just wondering who you think crosby should fight?"
Well, since he's Crosby's not a goon, he should stay away from career punchers like Thornton, or big fellas like Stuart, Chara or Lucic but there are any number of guys on the Bruins that he could have challenged. His first NHL fight was against Andrew Ference, which I mentioned. It could have been Bergeron, Sturm, Sobokta, Krecji, there's lots of guys in his weight class, and as in a game like this, the Bruins needed a physical answer from everybody. Of course, they didn't do this, so as I said the point is moot, but had the game even partially lived up to the hype, Sid could have found a dance partner.
"Lemieux was a whiner? Idiotic."
"Crosby should fight? Moronic."
"Cooke should and probably will fight, but he'll be smart about it. The Bruins better be, too. If I were Cooke? I'd wait and goad someone like Thornton into taking the extra minor, or I'd fight Chara. Cooke would probably lose that fight, but taking Z off the ice for five minutes is a win for the Penguins."
This is a good comment. Except for denying that Mario was a whiner. I cannot for the life of me see how Pens fans are so blind to that. For the record, Cooke "taking Chara" off the ice for five minutes would be a win for the Penguins. How do you feel about Cooke taking Savard off the ice for the rest of the season? Is that a big win for the Penguins, too? Crosby standing up for himself and the Penguins, as a team, wouldn't be applauded? Wow.
Is your Vezina backup playing tonight? If so I think Crosby will let his goals do the talking...
Touche. Thomas hasn't had as good a year as last year. But I'd blame the team in front of him and their lack of scoring much more.
Anon# 6 wrote:
"For those of you who are dumb enough to believe the Lemieux whining or not fighting comments...check this video out" and then said "notice I never denied the cheap shots."
Here's the video he linked.
Yes, Mario did get in a couple of fights in his career, but that last one, where he chases a guy down form behind, slashes him and tackles him kind of supports my point. You even say that you"never denied the cheap shots." Well, if you're gonna live by the sword, you die by the sword, and Mario, over and over again, would throw cheap shots, and react violently when someone did it back. When he wasn't scoring, the guy did not play honorably.
You sir, are an idiot. What exactly is it that Crosby has to prove to the Bruins?
In a regular game, nothing.
"The Pens are LEADING their division (despite their supposed "slide") and are looking to lock up the #2 seed in the East. Two points is more important to them than chest thumping."
All true. But you forget- it was his team's player's dirty cowardly hit, along with the NHL's non-response that started the chest thumping. He's the captain. Just saying.
"If Crosby breaks his hand in a fight, how exactly does that help his team??"
It doesn't at all. And having Marc Savard sitting in a dark room because he's too sensitive to light doesn't help his team. And this was the Penguins fault, leading some to suggest that somebody run Crosby, which could have injured him, which wouldn't have helped the Pens either. I suggested that instead of people wringing their hands about retaliation against Crosby, the guy himself could send a message that he, and the Penguins, can stand up for themselves. That's all.
Anon# 7 wrote:
"Comparing Crosby to Bobby Orr and so forth is ridiculous, different place and time."
Aww, c'mon though. It's fun.
"That guy takes enough crap for being the face of the NHL, and all he does is continue to improve and deliver."
All true. And I was suggesting yet another way his stature could have risen in my eyes. I'm not sure why all these Penguins fans are so afraid of that.
"It will also probably be tough to fight with your Gold medal on while holding the Stanley Cup. Let the goons fight and the skill players play."
Well, trashtalking aside, I'd love to let the goons fight and the skills players play except for your goon knocked out our leading skill player, and didn't allow him to play. So once that happens, where do we go from there, in a situation when the league did nothing? It's a problem, and to solve it, I was suggesting that there was a better way to do this than the Pittsburgh Penguins/Matt Cooke blind side hit on a superstar way. There were some people out there suggesting that Crosby get attacked by a Bruin. I suggested something else.
Anon #8 wrote:
(another version of the Savard/Crosby visor incident and then) "maybe this was the hockey gods taking their revenge on Savard for being not throwing with Crosby!"
I already addressed this, but that last part is really ignorant. OK, here's a hypothetical- say Bergeron challenged Crosby last night, and Crosby decides he doesn't want to go. So Crosby deserves to get a blind-side, season ending concussion from a non skill player with a history of dirty hits? If those are the hockey gods you worship in Pittsburgh, you're doing it wrong.
Gregoire said something that really wasn't clear, and then this:
"If Crosby (or anyone else) answers every Bruin check with one of their own, accept every glove dropping challenge, and stand up to the Bruins mano-a-mano, who "wins"? "
I don't know. What's the score? But either way, he certainly would have played with honor, risen to a potentially ugly challenge, and provided a counterbalance that the Penguins aren't the kind of team that behaves like a gang of Matt Cookes. If that happens, I think Pittsburgh's fans, win- no?
Anon# 9 said:
"Funny..you don't call out adam Oates, or Gretzky, Or Marcel Dionne for not fighting. Only Lemieux."
As I said, Lemieux was a cheap shot artist, which makes him a lot different than those guys, who were all pure class.
"Pittsburgh hockey fans are like anyone else..we like winners. Crosby's job is to score goals and he can't do that from the penalty box."
That is true. And Savard can't dish out assists from his blackened room where your goon put him. And the NHL didn't call a penalty or a suspension. So again- where does that leave us? With people threatening Crosby. If he fights, he takes control of the situation. I can't believe this many Penguins fans are not only stunned by this, but totally blind to the fact that is was a situation their team was responsible for. There is a shocking lack of contrition about that, by the way. All I was doing was asking the captain to take responsibility and lead by example.
"You sir..are an idiot."
Well, I disagree, but appreciate your formality.
Anon# 10 writes:
"Ron Francis or Joe Sakic ...yeah...what terrible captains they were huh?
Let's see...Gretzky (non fighting captain), Lemieux (non fighting captain), Francis (non fighting captain), Sakic (non fighting Captain)...and what do they all have in common? Stanley cups and the hall of Fame."
With the exception of Iginla, (who came one game away, and is still an active player) all the captains I mentioned also have Stanley Cups and are in the Hall of Fame. I didn't suggest that non fighting captains were bad, I just suggested that there were several Hall of Famers who might have faced this situation head-on.
"now sit down and have a nice glass of stfu."
a "nice glass of stfu?" WELL PLAYED! I can't wait too read your next comeback on the front of a Snorg Tees T-shirt! Maybe next time you can put me in my place with a hilarious LOLCatz picture!
BigTommy raised the same, valid (other non-fighting captains) argument, and then said:
"Cooke deserves to have his bell rung in a good 1v1 fight i think clean with the bruin top bruiser thats it then crosby can be a leader AFTER the game and say "well it was a good game and i think everythings settled now we can all move on and look for another cup"
This is pretty much right on, and that's what happened- I was just suggesting another way.
Anon# 11 wrote: "This article sucks and so do you."
Boy- it's always the anonymous ones with the most class. Those penguins fans love their blindside hits, don't they?
"This still all points back to the NHL's weak stance on illegal hits. If he's suspended then there is no buzz concerning retaliation. Cooke can take care of himself, and the Bruins can take care of Cooke- my prediction- tonight will be a flame-out as far as cooke is concerned. An early fight- nothing special- wrestling match 5's for both and themn the real game can begin."
This is exactly what happened.
"What the Bruins team needs, is to see every player on every opposing team the way they see Cooke tonight. If they don't play passionate, pissed off hockey for three weeks they are out. Its playof time for the B's."
This is exactly what didn't happen
"and for everyone who says "shut the fuck up" What fun would this be if someone didn't stir the shit?? Give a little credit to those who put something out there other than stats and watered down garbage."
Thank you, sir.
"Oh yeah- and Anonymous, grow a pair! God I hate Pittsburg fans. you're all such entitled pussies. Yes you've won stuff, but if you can't see Lemeiux as a whining bitch (no matter how good he was), and Ulf as a spineless dirtbag (no matter how bad he was), than you need to wake up and watch some games without Crosby's chode on your chin. Oh yeah and nice powder blue uniforms-"
I think you might have been able to phrase that without Crosby's chode, but yeah. And I'll add that powder blue is how you crying baby boys dress. So there's that.
Finally, DaBich wrote:
"Alec, you'rr just a big a loser as the author of this article."
Huh, well that makes sense, since I agreed with pretty much all of what he wrote. The wings fan also made some sense. Penguins fans, in general, seem to be the unhinged ones here.
"Lemieux a whining bitch? YOu've lost your marbles. Ulfie was Ulfie, he dished it out but he sure took it too."
Sigh. Go watch the video again. Your argument that Lemieux isn't a whiny bitch is cheapened by following it up with a statement that Ulf Samuelsson was some kind of equal-opportunity everyman. He was a dirty player. That's a fact. If you're gonna defend Ulf's playing style, you're supporting exactly the kind of thing Matt Cooke did. Which is shameful.
OK, team, we did it.
Now let's never do that again, shall we?