You can count Don Cherry among the growing number of critics calling out Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby.
On his regular CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Coach’s Corner, Cherry said Crosby needs to stay away from the cheap tactics and simply concentrate on putting up points. During the segment, a clip was shown of Crosby giving Flyers forward Brayden Schenn a shot in retaliation for an earlier hit.
Schenn then cross-checked Crosby later in game — a hit that partially set off a brawl between the Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers in the waning minutes of last Sunday's game.
"He’s the best player in the world," Cherry said. "All I’m saying when you slash guys, stop doing that stuff. Play the game and just score goals.
"A long time ago when Crosby was coming out I tried to warn him: 'Quit diving, quit whining.’ I was the worst guy in the world … and all I was trying to do was help him. All I was trying to do was help him. All I said was 'stop whining, stop diving and snapping the head back.'
"If you want to survive in this league, he's got to suck it up and stop getting stupid penalties and going back at guys."
Crosby needs to react more like NHL leading scoring Steven Stamkos when someone takes a run at him, Cherry said.
"Listen, I admire him, but he should be like [Montreal Canadiens Hall of Famer] Guy Lafleur," Cherry said. "All you have to do is look at Stamkos — he gets more abuse than anybody. You cannot be the greatest player in the world and expect to get a free ride. And what you've done, you've turned the league and teams against you."
After his New York Rangers lost 5-2 to the Penguins Thursday night, coach John Tortorella accused the Pittsburgh organization of being a dirty team. He also called out Crosby and centre Evgeni Malkin, referring to them as "whining stars" after Pittsburgh defenceman Brooks Orpik delivered a knee-on-knee hit to Rangers forward Derek Stepan.
"It's a cheap, dirty hit," Tortorella told reporters. "I wonder what would happen if we did it to their two whining stars [Crosby and Malkin] over there. I wonder what would happen. So I'm anxious to see what happens with the league with this. Just no respect amongst players. None. It's sickening."
Tortorella fined for comments
The comments made by Tortorella, who was fined $20,000 US, were on the heels of statements made by both Hockey Night in Canada analyst Mike Milbury and Flyers assistant Craig Berube, who both took shots at Crosby.
"So you know, Crosby gets cross-checked, big whoop," Milbury said last Monday. "He said after he came back from his 35th concussion, 'I'm not going to do this anymore, I'm not going to get into this scrums, I'm going to stay away from that stuff.' He couldn't help himself because there's a little punk in Crosby."
Milbury apologized for his comments a day later, which was rejected by Crosby's agent Pat Brisson.
However, Berube didn’t back down when asked about the melee between his club and the Penguins on Tuesday.
"I've got no problem with what Schenn does," he added. "And if somebody runs [Crosby] over, that's great. They should run him over," Berube told CSN Philly Daily News Live.