Last night, in a 3-2 OT loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 3 of their 2nd round playoff series, Sidney Crosby left the game with an injury and did not return.
Driving to the net early in the first period, he was the recipient of a vicious cross-check to the neck and head area from Matt Niskanen, who received a 5-minute major penalty and a game misconduct.
Sidney Crosby hurt after taking a Niskanen cross-check to the head pic.twitter.com/T8P3iGK1m8— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 1, 2017
We’ve got a lot to unpack here. Crosby took maybe four good shots in a timeframe of as many seconds. His foot kicked out from behind by Alex Ovechkin, some stick work slashing immediately afterwards, and then the cross-check from Niskanen, all the while his leg was all tangled up underneath him. Not good.
You could see right away that Crosby was in bad shape. He had that awful look in his eyes that anyone hates to see. Crosby would leave the game and not return.
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said it as best as he could last night. The Penguins need to move forward to Game 4 regardless of what Crosby’s status is. Last night completely confirms and proves that his mantra to his players of “Just Play” is perfect. The team loses Crosby for the night, ends up losing Conor Sheary as well, and they don't give up. They're playing with 10 forwards, but they battle back and tie the game and force overtime. It was interesting to see that Sullivan cared not to offer his opinion on the hit. It wasn't the same situation across the hall with Barry Trotz, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Sorry Matt, but I’m just gonna disagree with you on this one.
Just gonna get out ahead on this one. Let’s not speculate on anything with Crosby’s injury and health status.
Crosby just walked by me in the arena. Full suit. Winked at a worker and appeared to say "i"m ok." Walking briskly. No sign of a limp.— Tim Benz (@TimBenzPGH) May 2, 2017
Sidney Crosby doesn’t seem like a winker to me, and sure his knee and leg are fine, but let’s ignore the fact that he just got his head rattled extremely hard. Do less of this please.
The Penguins will tell us an update on Crosby. Let’s wait until then.
Blame Games and Name Calling
While Mike Sullivan cared not to give his opinion on Niskanen’s hit on Crosby, it wasn't exactly the same situation over in Barry Trotz’s media room.
Barry Trotz calling it a ‘hockey play’ is embarrassing in it’s own right, first and foremost.
" Hockey Play " Whoever uses that line on this is embarrassing to the game... pic.twitter.com/nUIDStC9tR— Tie Domi (@thereal_tiedomi) May 2, 2017
In typical fashion, local columnist Rob Rossi went full WWE promo guy:
This series is just heating up, and depending on how Game 4 goes tomorrow night, we could be in for a long series that's only going to get more jammed up the farther it goes.