Wayne Gretzky stands up for Sidney Crosby | Hockey | CBC Sports

NHLWayne Gretzky stands up for Sidney Crosby

Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 | 01:26 PM

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Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby led the NHL with 104 points, including 36 goals, in 80 games during the regular season, but he disappointed with just one goal and nine points in 13 playoff games thereafter. (Leon Halip/Getty Images) Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby led the NHL with 104 points, including 36 goals, in 80 games during the regular season, but he disappointed with just one goal and nine points in 13 playoff games thereafter. (Leon Halip/Getty Images)

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Wayne Gretzky, considered by many to be the greatest player in hockey history, fully expects Sidney Crosby to bounce back from a poor showing in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Sidney Crosby was the first to admit he did not play well in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Hey, it happens.

Wayne Gretzky, considered by many to be the greatest player in hockey history, is not worried about Sid the Kid at all.

Gretzky took his lumps during his career and survived, and reckons Crosby will do the same.

"That's part of being the go-to guy," Gretzky said on Hockey Night in Canada Radio. "You get to hold your hands out and accept the flowers when you are successful and you'd better be able to stand there and take the heat when things aren't going your way."

After leading the NHL in scoring with 36 goals and 104 points in 80 regular-season games, Crosby looked tired and worn down in the playoffs, during which his Pittsburgh Penguins were bounced in the second round by the New York Rangers, losing in seven games after holding a 3-1 series lead.

Crosby managed just one goal and nine points in 13 post-season games.


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"Sidney has played a lot of hockey over the past four years, maybe more emotional hockey than any player in the history of the National Hockey League," Gretzky said. "He has been in the Stanley Cup final ... the Stanley Cup playoffs ... maybe the biggest game in Canadian international hockey; an overtime game and he scored the winner.

"He went to Russia, the first time we sent our best players to Russia since 1972. And to play the way Canada did, at the level it did, it's tough.

"It's mentally draining. I think it's more mentally draining than it is physically draining because these guys are in such great shape.

"He'll be fine. A couple of months off and he'll bounce back."

'Proud that he stood up'

Crosby faced his critics after the Penguins were eliminated and didn't sings the blues.

"I was really proud that he stood up and said he didn't play great and he wasn't hurt," Gretzky said. "I'm kind of tired to listening to players at the end of the playoffs making excuses that they weren't physically at 100 per cent because nobody is.

"Everybody plays with injuries. One year, Kevin Lowe played the entire playoffs with a cast on his wrist with a broken wrist.

"That's part of it. This time of year, you hope you can overcome that exhaustion by the emotion and excitement."

Follow Mike Brophy on Twitter @HockeyBroph

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