Here’s the situation folks. The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Islanders 4-2 Thursday night on a go ahead goal by Sidney Crosby. Just prior to the goal, Crosby laid a hit on Johnny Boychuk. Boychuk commented after the game he was hit in the head and if the roles were reversed, he’d be suspended.
The obvious suggestion is the NHL gives preferential treatment to superstars in general, and Sidney Crosby specifically.
I wrote an article for my crew at Let’s Talk Pens: Boy Oh Boychuk.
The main point is I find Boychuk’s statement about as accurate as this:
Video: andrea acquaroni
There are some, however, who are inclined to agree with Boychuk. After my article I received this tweet from a friend:
I encourage you all to click the link. Yes he writes for an Islanders blog, but people could say (and have said) the same about me being biased when I post on the Pens blog. To be clear, I know Mitch so far as a reasonable hockey fan in general. He’s also part of a newly developed neutral podcast called Ridin Pine Show. I think this is how he actually feels about Sid as opposed to a case of Isles blinders.
Having said that, I now say this: Wow. Really? Looking at the incident in question alone, it’s hard to believe anybody in any jersey could think of this as a dirty head hit. Crosby keeps his body low, his arm tucked in, he doesn’t accelerate or jump at all, and there’s not even one percentage of an upward thrust. As I said and can’t stress enough, Crosby doesn’t even throw a hit. That’s the winner right there. All he does is wins the race to the puck and puts himself in great position to win the battle. The only reason Boychuk stumbles isn’t from head trauma. It’s because for some reason he keeps going right into Crosby with his own momentum. He actually hits himself. I look and I look and I look for head contact and see none. But even so, for suspension the head must be the principle point of contact AND it must be targeted. Neither of those happened. See for yourself:
To take it even a step further, this particular Crosby hit is everything I’ve been preaching so far as the perfect hit. I’m actually going to use the video in a later post as a model for how to decrease the potential for injury by doing exactly what he did here. That’s how strongly I feel about it.
Now, even if after all this you think Crosby got away with one, the question is does Crosby get preferential treatment? I don’t see how this instance would prove it, especially when coupled with the three examples provided in my above link. Crosby takes more of a pounding on any night than most players will in their entire careers, yet the league continues to allow it. I think he’s treated the same as everyone else. What do you think?
Mention me on Twitter at @ToughCallBlog and Mitch at @TLOMitch to let us know who you agree with!