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March 25, 2019
by Michael Menser Dell, Editor-in-Chief
It’s always nice when mainstream hacks pretend to be hockey fans. Passan, who according to his Yahoo bio is “an award-winning reporter who previously was the national baseball writer for The Kansas City Star,” wrote a column today excoriating the NHL for its blatant double-standard in not suspending Evgeni Malkin for his instigator penalty at the end of Game Two.
Passan, a Syracuse University graduate with a degree in journalism, must be too busy being a corporate douchebag to actually watch hockey or “know what he’s writing about.” But that journalism degree sure looks swell next to his autographed picture of Jay Mariotti.
Let me hip you to some hockey history there, Jeffy. These automatic one-game suspensions have been rescinded in the past. This isn’t the first time it’s happened. The NHL didn’t throw out the rulebook to show Malkin preferential treatment.
I realize you’ve probably seen like two or three hockey games in your entire miserable, ink-stained existence, and you must be exhausted keeping up with that fervent Kansas City sports scene, but Shane Doan and Brenden Morrow have both had instigator suspensions overturned. I know you have no idea who Doan and Morrow are, but please keep pretending like you do.
The whole thing started because Talbot pushed Osgood over with his stick. It wasn’t a spear. It was unnecessary and cheap, but it wasn’t a spear. The ref was literally six feet away and staring right at it. Talbot’s blade was flat against Osgood’s belly and tipped him over.
Zetterberg came in to defend Osgood and potshotted Talbot in the face. Malkin saw it and went after Zetterberg. He did the exact same thing Zetterberg did only he’s man enough to drop the gloves. That’s hockey. If you don’t like it, go back to baseball.
Crosby is playing great. He’s competing, he’s sacrificing, he’s generating chances, he’s winning draws, and he’s doing everything he needs to do to win hockey games. You can’t control results in hockey. You can only control effort, and Crosby is bringing it every shift.
I love how everyone is making this out be Zetterberg shutting down Crosby. It’s not Zetterberg vs Sid. It’s Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, and Chris Osgood against Sid.
Crosby has the most trouble with clean, honest defensemen who can skate, and that’s Rafalski to a tee. Rafalski doesn’t take cheap shots to rile Sid, and he has the speed to keep up with him. And Lidstrom is only the second-best defenseman to ever play hockey. So Zetterberg’s getting plenty of help.
Crosby could easily have three or four points. His linemates had nine shots in Game One. How’d that happen? It wasn’t because Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz were flying solo. Crosby set them both up for glorious chances. Guerin’s wasted two sure assists already, including a bullet off the bar in Game Two that would have tied the score. Crosby had five shots last night and a post. With any luck at all, Sid has a goal and two assists, and the Pens are going home with at least a split.
Crosby also should have had two penalty shots. Zetterberg’s covered the puck in the crease twice already, but the calls weren’t made, so those opportunities don’t show up on the scoresheet.
And I love how Crosby is getting “frustrated” and “shut down,” but no one seems to mention Zetterberg isn’t scoring, either. He has one secondary assist courtesy of the Joe Louis end boards. Crosby’s outshot him 7-5 and created more scoring chances, and he’s doing it all against Lidstrom and Rafalski, not to mention Franzen and Hossa some shifts.
Everyone needs to step back from the ledge. Crosby is fine. The Penguins are fine. These are two great teams competing at an extraordinarily high level. These games could have gone either way. Detroit won because they got the bounces. That’s what home ice is for.
Now let’s see what happens in Pittsburgh.