The “intentional” assault on Crosby’s jaw was used to explain why the 25-year-old was so upset at the end of the second period of that game. On his way off the ice after the second with the Bruins leading 1-0, Crosby said something to Chara, drawing a laugh from the 6-foot-9 defenseman. Crosby then bumped into Rask and appeared willing to get into a jousting match with the netminder. Then, after Evgeni Malkin and Patrice Bergeron fought each other and fell to the ice, Crosby and Chara confronted each other at the center ice faceoff dot. They exchanged words, with Chara leaning over to look Crosby eye-to-eye, and they eventually walked to their respective locker rooms.
Crosby went on to be held without a single point as his Penguins were swept by the Bruins.
Crosby did sort of refer to the play in question after the game.
“They’re letting a lot go out there, and the more it gets like that, the more it’s going to escalate,” Crosby said of the referees, who penalized him for interference as well as slashing in Game 1. “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.”
Crosby might not have referred to the “punch” specifically at the time, because he knew his video team would need some time to rewrite history before it went public.
Just like the many instances of Crosby doing things on the ice that the most talented player in the world does not need to be doing, it’s disappointing to see. It’s why those of us who had hoped we were seeing the next Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux have come to terms with the fact that we simply are not. Crosby may be more talented than anyone else on the planet, but the more he gets caught up in nonsense like this instead of simply dominating hockey games, the less likeable he becomes.
That shift Crosby had in double overtime of Game 3 in Boston, when he lost his helmet and went on a determined rampage to try to score the game-winning goal? That’s the Crosby we all want to see. Knowing he’s capable of that but seeing him get tangled up in this is what makes it so difficult to embrace Crosby as this generation’s greatest player.
By coming out and not only claiming a regular post-whistle shove was a direct punch but also claiming Chara purposely targeted an injured jaw is a legitimately low and contemptible action by Crosby, who continues to act like he is bigger than the game. Hopefully some day, he’ll learn he is not.
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