It was a controversial week for Sidney Crosby.
He appeared to slash Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly in a sensitive area, then broke Senators defenseman Marc Methot’s finger in half with another whack. The latter incident resulted in a pretty ugly injury (NSFW) and some angry comments from Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.
Melnyk told TSN 1200 that the league needs to “hammer these [players who slash]… you say you know what? You are done for 10 games. We all know who [Crosby] is. The guy is a whiner beyond belief. You do this kind of stuff—I don’t care who you are in the league, I don’t care if you’re the number one player in the league—you should sit out a long time for this kind of crap.”
The comments were criticized by fans and media; Mike Johnson called the comments “off base” and tweeted a video of Senators players slashing opponents. Senators captain Erik Karlsson defended Crosby by saying plays like that “happen all the time.”
Ahead of Sunday’s game versus Philadelphia, Crosby responded to Melnyk’s comments. After declining to comment, Crosby said “he likes to hear himself talk, so let’s leave it.”
Superstars like Crosby are often the target of those little “whacks”; small slashes that go uncalled. Earlier this season, Johnny Gaudreau missed 10 games after being whacked at least 20 times by different Wild players in the same game.
“I’d love to see them crack down on it,” said Crosby. “It’s something that happens a lot… Obviously [Methot is] an example where if you get it in the wrong spot, it can hurt. Hopefully he’s back out there soon.”
- The USA Women’s National Team is boycotting the upcoming Women’s World Championships over a dispute with USA Hockey. The players are currently paid just $6K for the six months leading up to the Olympics, and nothing else. The players want fair wages and for USA Hockey to put more money into the program to grow the women’s game. USA Hockey has been asking (and being declined by) high school players to play in their stead. Now the Men’s Program may be getting involved. Player Agent Allan Walsh reported that American NHL players may refuse to play in this spring’s World Championships in solidarity; the NHLPA has already come out in support of the women. Last year, the American side finished fourth in the tournament, the rosters for which are populated by NHLers who are no longer in Cup contention and the occasional draft-eligible player.
- After Leon Draisaitl cracked the 70-point barrier on Saturday night, the Edmonton Oilers will have two 70-point scorers (the other being Connor McDavid with 88 points) for the first time in 11 years. The last time they did, it was Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff with 77 and 73 points respectively in 2005-06. Incidentally, that’s the last time they made the playoffs. The Oilers have also surpassed 90 points for the first time since 05-06, and if they manage to finish first in their division (currently tied with San Jose and Anaheim for first), then it will mark the first division win since 1986-87.