Crosby cheats in the faceoff circle. This is the latest claim against the world’s number one player, and it seems pretty petty. Sour grapes from a team down 2-0.
I don’t think that’s the case though. It’s more a ploy by a team that’s getting spanked in the faceoff dot to the tune of 65% by Crosby so far this finals. It’s the desperate plea of a team Crosby went 71% on in game two, including on the very last draw of the game leading to Connor Sheary’s OT winner.
When you have Sidney Crosby go from man to man telling everyone exactly what’s about to happen, then still allow him to win the draw and do everything he wants in the next 5 seconds to win the game, you have to do something, right?
Seeing him smiling smugly as his team mates high five him, laughing it up at your expense. That’s too much to take. There’s only one thing to do about that: take the focus off you and place the authenticity of his dominance into question all in one fell swoop.
It’s a very transparent move, a clear challenge to linesmen for the rest of the series. It’s sickening that this sort of thing works. Almost like the stripper pole making regular appearances on music award show stages the world over. But if we keep rewarding the cheap gimmicks and lack of creativity, we’ll keep getting them.
As we’ve seen already this post season, if you make public complaints or accusations to the press about unfair suspensions or antics, chances are it’ll eventually force the league’s hand down the road. Down 2-0, why not try it?
They’ve picked an awful battle though because there is pretty much never a legal faceoff ever. Players are constantly shifting and fidgeting, trying to time for the puck drop and the movements of their opponent. One player is lucky to be in a completely legal position at any given time. Getting both players to be in a legal position is rare. Getting them both in a legal position at the exact same time, AND having them hold that position long enough for the linesman to drop the puck, is absolutely impossible.
This isn’t one of those “everyone cheats so it’s ok for my guy to do it” arguments. No one is actually cheating. It’s just that chances are one player won’t be technically legal at the time of puck drop. It’s like musical chairs. The Sharks just have to be better at timing so that it’s not one of them standing there looking foolish when the linesman’s hand opens.