You'd think by now I'd know it's hard to get into a nuanced argument in 140-character bursts.
Anyway, here is more detail into my twitter argument
that a Sidney Crosby injury in the final seconds of today's Pittsburgh/Philadelphia melee
would be devastating for the NHL.
First thing's first: No Flyer could be blamed for fighting Crosby at the end of that game. He was in the middle of everything and not in a good way.
Tell you a quick story. Just before Crosby suffered his first concussion in January 2011, I was scheduled to do an interview with him. As part of the preparation, I asked a few Flyers for their opinions. They were complimentary -- even Mike Richards, who hated him the most. They said he'd really decreased his complaining on the ice and just played hard.
That's why it was so stunning to watch him in Game 3. Undoubtedly, the Flyers were telling each other, "We've got him. He's totally unglued." Swatting the glove away from Jakub Voracek was so...high school.
If I was a Flyer, I'd have wanted to rip into anything in a white jersey after James Neal's hit on Sean Couturier. It was dirty and made Aaron Rome/Nathan Horton look like a tickle fight. Crosby was on the ice and getting involved.
This is not about protecting Sidney Crosby or the Pittsburgh Penguins or having any issue with what was going on or cheering for a particular team or anything that myopic people accuse us of. Best for the sport
It is about what is best for the sport.
Remember how big the Todd Bertuzzi/Steve Moore incident was? Remember how big the Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty was? If Crosby suffers another serious injury in the middle of that brawl, the reaction and consequence would eclipse both of those stories combined.
Like him or not, Crosby is the NHL's most marketable player and -- at his peak -- its best (although Claude Giroux is trying his damndest to disprove the second part.)
After re-watching the last few minutes several times, can't help but wonder if Flyers forward Scott Hartnell held back. That's a mismatch, and Hartnell really didn't try before Craig Adams stepped in. Remember his second comeback when a few guys looked nervous to hit him? Imagine you're the one who throws the punch that ends his career. That might lead your Wikipedia entry.
Here's Coach's Corner from last week.
I have a better understanding now of what Don Cherry was talking about. Crosby loves to compete and play a gritty game, but, on Sunday, he crossed into "What are you going to do about it?" territory.
He can't do that anymore. The consequences are too great.
You can love Sidney Crosby or you can hate him. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion. The problem is: if someone does do something about it, everyone loses.
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