Sidney Crosby was in the highlights quite a bit this week, which on its own isn’t unusual. But instead of making headlines for his goals or assists, hockey fans took notice of a few plays that could be deemed as dirty.
First came on Tuesday, when Crosby gave Ryan O’Reilly of the Buffalo Sabres a sneaky slash between the legs that left O’Reilly cringing in pain. Speaking to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston on Saturday, O’Reilly played down the incident.
“I didn’t expect it, he apologized after the play and it was understood,” O’Reilly said. “It threw me off, I wasn’t expecting anything and then something happens. I think he’s a good guy, he’s just playing hard and he takes a beating every night, too.”
The more noticeable transgression, though, came against the Ottawa Senators Thursday night when Crosby slashed defenceman Marc Methot in the hand, forcing him to leave the game with a “shattered finger.”
On Coach’s Corner during Hockey Night in Canada Saturday night, Don Cherry weighed in on the Methot slash and said the result of the play had more to do with the equipment than anything dirty Crosby had done.
“He did slash him,” Cherry said. “He didn’t really..he just gave him a tap.
“I’m going to show you what happened there. These are the gloves I use — the gloves are no good actually for protection. See how that separates like that? See the separation? He just happened to hit him right there and that’s what he did to his finger. He’s not a dirty player.”
While Cherry believes this was just a play with unintended consequences, he also pointed out a hit Methot threw on Crosby a few years ago and noted that Crosby took down his number. Was this was one premeditated? Seems like a long shot…but you never know.
“There he hits him there a couple years ago — now watch Crosby get him and he’s checking who did it. I don’t know. We see him checking the number and he’s got a big memory Crosby.”
Cherry also weighed in on Roman Polak’s hit against Columbus rookie Oliver Bjorkstrand, for which the Maple Leafs defenceman received a two-game suspension. Cherry doesn’t believe the hit was suspension-worthy, and thinks Bjorkstrand put himself in a vulnerable position by turning his back to the play.
“All he had to do was keep on going and nothing would happen. He turned back and that’s when you get creamed,” Cherry said.
“Kids when you get the puck don’t turn back.”