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Detroit coach digs at Crosby

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Morning practice tidbits hours before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final:

BABCOCK: CROSBY A HEAD HUNTER

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock took a well-disguised dig at Penguins C Sidney Crosby on Sunday morning.

“To me the battle they had going last night between (Red Wings C Henrik) Zetterberg and Crosby was a great battle, I thought,” Babcock said.

I thought (Crosby) went head hunting right off the hop. (Zetterberg’s) ability to respond was good. I think that’s a game within the game. If you’re a hockey purist and you like superstars who bring it, that’s a nice match up.”

Crosby seemed aware of Babcock’s intention with his thinly-veiled shot, and…

“I’m not getting involved in those games,” he said. “He can say whatever he wants. I don’t think I’ve been known as a head hunter throughout my career, so he’s the first one ever to say that. It’s pretty interesting stuff.”

Kiddies, Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final is shaping as a Crosby Moment in the making.

GAME 2 LINEUPS

Babcock said Cs Pavel Datsyuk (foot) and Kris Draper (lower-body injury) will not play tonight. Neither player was available for Game 1 on Saturday.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma indicated he has not decided yet to play seven defensemen for a ninth consecutive game.

“Phil Boucher adds something to our power play on the last 30 seconds; not having him, we would have to find a different solution,” he said. “You know, playing the 12 forwards, while it may initially look from the on set that it would alleviate ice time from our (centers) – it doesn’t if you can look back at the games when we did play 12.

“So going to play (two games in two nights), you know, getting a fresh set of legs out there is something that we’ve talked about as a coaching staff. And with the amount of power plays there seems to be in the game right now, if yesterday was an indication, we’re weighing those options and we’ll go with that at game time.”

The Penguins and Red Wings were awarded only three power plays combined in Game 1.

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Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

 
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