What’s wrong with Sidney Crosby’s beard?
Sidney Crosby has played more minutes than ever before in 2013-14. Is he simply fatigued? Have his headaches started back up? What are we all missing?
The Penguins won’t release any injury information. The only way we’ll hear something is if Crosby or a coach or a player slips up and says something accidentally. It appears Crosby is dealing with some type of groin or foot injury. He broke a bone in his foot in 2007 but didn’t miss a game.
He has little burst and that’s a trademark part of his game. During one intermission in the media area at Consol Energy Center, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Josh Yohe commented that the least amount of burst he’s seen from Crosby in his 10 years of covering him.
Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said Sidney Crosby appeared to be favoring his foot at some point in Game 2 against the Blue Jackets.
I went back and tried to pinpoint when Crosby might’ve gotten injured. I took a close look at the 12:45 mark of Period 1 – even though Crosby hadn’t looked like himself since the opening puck dropped.
Brandon Dubinsky rammed Crosby, who was carrying the puck, into the end boards to goalie Sergei Bobrovsky’s left. This was a monster check, not a Ryan Whitney special. Crosby crumbled awkwardly onto the ice and covered up as Dubinsky sticked the fallen Crosby to regain his own balance.
Using his right leg, Crosby got back up. Surprisingly, the puck was between him and the boards. Dubinsky cross-checked him and sticked him on his face shield.
Crosby turned away from Dubinsky with the puck and skated in the direction of the Columbus net along the boards.
Blue Jackets defenseman, Fedor Tyutin, held Crosby up along the boards and was signaled for a holding penalty. Dubinsky then put another elbows-first check on Crosby behind the net. Again, Crosby controlled the puck, kicking it to his stick and passing it back out to the point.
Crosby slumped over and fell gently into the boards for a final time after making his pass. There was little contact but Crosby was understandably dead-tired by this point.
The camera catches Crosby skate off the ice, winded but without making facial gestures referencing any particular pain.
The mystery continues …
It’s very possible Crosby suffered whatever injury he has during the regular season, when Pittsburgh sat him out for two of the team’s final four games.
Sidney Crosby’s playoff goalless stretch reached 12 games Friday. His last goal came in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Ottawa last year. Crosby’s backhander beat Craig Anderson to extend Pittsburgh’s third-period lead to 6-2. Tyler Kennedy picked up the lone assist.
The score gave Crosby seven goals in the first nine games of the playoffs.
Game 1 Pens-Rangers, first period reactions
00:29 Kris Letang came down the slot with a glorious opportunity but missed the net. His aggressive nature nearly gave the Pens an early 1-0 lead – but he couldn’t hit the net.
1:09 Sidney Crosby got a free hit on Mats Zuccarello. Crosby saw the Rangers were offside and Zuccarello left himself exposed. The Penguins center took full advantage of the freebee and administered a solid body check.
1:27 Beau Bennett, as the F3 forward pinched-in and missed the puck in the offensive zone, leading to a NYR breakout.
2:12 Marcel Goc and Craig Adams nearly connected for some magic in front of Henrik Lundqvist.
3:00 Crosby buzzed behind the NYR net. He looks to be gliding instead of taking those choppy, little strides.
3:21 Crosby loses a puck battle behind his own net, Rangers dish it out front but nobody home.
3:40 Daniel Carcillo knee-on-knee hits Joe Vitale, who goes flying on the ice. No penalty called.
4:45 Marcel Goc wisely gets back on the bench after nearly getting called for a too-many-men penalty.
5:04 Benoit Pouliot uses speed to create time and space, getting off a wrister which beats Marc-Andre Fleury from the top of the slot. Fleury would like to have that one back. Pittsburgh’s Olli Maatta and Matt Niskanen backed of Pouliot, who was skating with so much speed. The net result is a goal for NYR.
5:22 Fleury overplays the puck behind his own net as if he has no internal clock or urgency to get back between the pipes. Paul Martin fumbles the puck and NYR nearly makes it a 2-0 game.
7:00 Paul Martin registers first Penguins shot. Letang rushes NYR blue line, leaves puck for Evgeni Malkin, who passes to Martin just inside the blue line. No Penguin is in front of Lundqvist, who makes an easy catch of the puck.
7:25 NBC misses an entire faceoff sequence (live) and Pittsburgh’s best opportunity to score, featuring a promotional ad over the screen. They show the replay while the broadcasters gloss over the mistake.
7:43 Rick Nash makes an impressive offensive zone entry, holding the puck while fending off Letang. He takes a shot which Fleury is forced to make a blocker save.
7:54 Chris Kunitz takes a shot from above the left circle, with Crosby camped to Lundqvist’s left. The goalie catches the puck – no rebound opportunity.
8:02 Pouliot knocks Fleury’s stick out of his hand. Rangers mount some pressure but don’t get off shot.
8:47 Crosby, Malkin and Kunitz come onto the ice as a line for the first time.
9:10 Malkin passes from low along the boards to Kunitz, who’s in front of the net. He tries stuffing it
past Lundqvist, but can’t. NYR’s Dominic Moore called for cross-checking.
9:14 Pens go on power play. Matt Niskanen (left point), Paul Martin (right point), Malkin, Kunitz, Crosby out front. Crosby awkwardly attempts to bat a pass out of the air. He doesn’t extend body, looks like my grandma trying to stretch out (perhaps a bit harsh, but that’s what I thought of first).
10:15 Predictably, NYR gets better scoring chances during Penguin power play, which come on the ice with nearly one minute left on PP. Second unit comes on, with James Neal, Jussi Jokinen, Kris Letang, Paul Martin, Crosby. Martin St. Louis gets not one, but two point-blank chances. Fortunately for the Pens, St. Louis fails to connect.
11:02 Neal with a late chance that’s blocked. Has any Penguins’ player stocked dropped more than Neal in the postseason? Taken off top PP, benched late in games because of defensive inadequacies.
11:37 Beau Bennett takes an offensive zone penalty
After a TV break, Regis McGuire interviews coach Dan Bylsma, who says Olli Maatta had “two great opportunities” but passed them up on the power play.
12:22 Fleury stops Richards on a wrister from the right circle on the power play. Solid glove save, no rebound. Fleury needs to be a “little less athletic and a little more structured,” according to NBC’s booth.
13:00 Pens appear to be more aggressive on the PK, offensively, forcing action in the NYR end.
13:43 Craig Adams puts a turnover on a tee for Derek Stepan, who shoots a wrister on Fleury. The goalie makes an awkward stop, but a stop nonetheless.
14:18 A crowd shot of CONSOL behind Pittsburgh’s net looks like a scene from the movie “The Natural,” where all of the people are cardboard cut-outs. No life (or movement) in the building. Maybe the Pens should consult the Indianapolis Colts for piped-in crowd noise.
14:54 Daniel Carcillo with a strong move down the left wing, forces Fleury to make a good save on a strong wrister.
15:17 Rob Scuderi with a rare shot from the left point.
15:39 Vitale with a strong move, brings the puck to the doorstep, stumbles over top of Lundqvist.
16:10 Fleury plays the puck behind his net again while CEC waits for something bad to come of it. Nothing does, this time
16:35 Malkin gets away with a “playoff check” in his own end on Derek Dorsett, could’ve been called penalty.
16:52 Refs blow play, say puck went out of NYR end while in Pens’ possession when it does not. Crosby with a nifty behind the back pass to himself befuddles refs. Admitting mistake, puck drops in NYR left circle for faceoff.
17:03 Rookie Olli Maatta loses 1-on-1 battle behind Fleury to Carl Hagelin. Hagelin passes out front to Brad Richards, who scores on his birthday. Matt Niskanen loses his man in nowhere land. Richards makes a heckofa move on Fleury for the goal.
19:45 Late holding penalty on Kunitz, NYR will go on power play for Period 2. Crosby shows frustration, rifling puck into boards while touching puck to gain possession.
Saturday Penguin Audio
Jussi Jokinen and Lee Stempniak:
(Courtesy, Pittsburgh Penguins)