Okay, so it was Sidney Crosby, but he fights like a scrub. There is leadership, and then there is taking your best player out of the game for five minutes because of a clean hit. I’ve called for responses from the Sabres when Miller gets hit behind the net or hacked like in Saturday’s game, but that’s a completely different story. Ballard threw a clean hip check, Malkin tried to avoid it and exacerbated the situation.
If you’re going to get that extra penalty in a tie game, you better win the fight. He didn’t, the crowd got into the game, and the Panthers turned the tide. Florida scored less than 90 seconds later and never looked back. The Penguins dominated the first period, out shooting Florida 17-9, but left trailing 2-1. I know it may sound hypocritical coming from me, but no one is paying Sidney Crosby to drop the gloves every time a clean hit is thrown. It may be a sort of leadership, but it’s not the way he’s supposed to act as captain.
I do give him credit for stepping up, but I think the problem with Crosby is that he’s still way too young to know his role. When you consider all the pressure on him just to play the game, adding the letter has only complicated things for him. What’s his role in the locker room, or on the bench, or to the media or his coaches? Crosby has been declared the face of the league, and I think that pressure is bound to force you into irrational things at times.
Still, good for Ballard to stand up for himself and punch through Crosby’s visor. Kid got wrecked before he tried his Greco-Roman wrestling act.