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Concussed Crosby critical of Steckel hit: ‘I don’t that’s responsible on his part”


Penguins C SIDNEY CROSBY, still feeling “off” from a mild concussion sustained Wednesday night during a home win against Tampa Bay, spoke Saturday morning for the first time since his injury was diagnosed by team doctors Thursday night. Most interesting were his thoughts on controversial hits he took over the past week from Washington LW DAVID STECKEL at the Winter Classic and Tampa D VICTOR HEDMAN – hits reviewed by the NHL, but hits that were not punished with fine or suspension.

“I didn’t like them,” Crosby said. “You talk about head shots and dealing with them, and that’s been something that’s been pretty big points of interest with everybody – GMs and players. When I look at those two hits… I mean, we talk about blindside, and that’s a big word, unsuspecting player. There’s no puck there (on) both (hits) – and direct hit to the head on both of them. If you want to go through the criteria I think they fit all those.

“I know it’s a fast game and I think if anybody understands it’s a fast game – I’ve been hit a thousand times – but when you get hit like that there’s nothing you can do, there’s no way you can protect yourself. Those are things that hopefully (the NHL) pays more attention to. It’s easy to say that being in this situation, but those two hits – looking back I can’t say I should have done something different or had my head down. I wouldn’t change anything.”

 Crosby also discussed the NHL’s crackdown on blindside hits as it applies to his situation:

“On the Steckel one it’s tough,” he said. “It’s really tough to decide whether he meant to or didn’t mean to. I felt like he could have got out of the way or avoid me. Whether he tried to hurt me only he knows. I guess we’ll never know that. You still have to be responsible out there. I can carry my stick up around my head and say I’m protecting myself, but I’ve still got to stay responsible out there with whatever I do with my stick, if I end up high-sticking someone. It’s the same thing. In that situation I don’t see anything – he sees me there, he sees the whole ice, and he doesn’t avoid me, so I don’t think that’s responsible on his part. Whether or not he tried to hurt me only he knows that, but he’s got to be the one to try avoid me in that situation.”

More to come…



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.


  1. Skeptical Penfan says:

    I agree with Crosby. Whether the hit to the head by Steckel was intentional or not, it still met the criteria passed by the league in new NHL rule 48 which states “that an Illegal Check to the Head is a lateral or blind side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or is the principle point of contact is not permitted.”

    Clearly the Steckel hit met this criteria and should have netted a suspension. Compare to the Joe Thornton hit earlier in the season. The Sharks brass nearly had a seizure over it, but Joe was suspended two games for a “unintended hit” because the head was the primary contact point.

    The Cooke hit on Savard was awful, but at least at the time it was a “legal hit.” However, with the new rule, there is no way the Steckel hit (even if accidental) was legal.

  2. Shawn says:

    Maybe Gary Bettman saw how much fun Goodell was having enforcing rules for everyone but Pittsburgh…

    How was Joe Thornton suspended for hitting a guy with the puck whose head was down but nothing for Steckel?

    Letang got a major for the cleanest hit you ever saw.

    It’s absurd.

    If you don’t think the Steckel hit was dirty, I’d like to talk to you about some great business opportunities involving bridge real estate. The Hedman hit is so clearly a hit to the head, from behind, while boarding.

    I hope Crosby is not being left unprotected as proof that the league doesn’t revolve around him for his critics.

  3. John says:

    If Crosby was looking in the direction he was skating…..he would have never been hit. Take responsibility for not looking in the direction your skating in. Oh, its hockey, grow a pair!


  4. mario lopez says:

    once again the NHL drops the ball, there INCONSISTENT nature of rules, fines, suspensions, etc…

  5. Lisa says:

    John, you are a jackass! Period.
    The Steckel hit was dirty. We all saw it. Now we have idiots like
    you who say it’s Crosby’s fault!

    Please Sid, get well soon.

  6. Paul says:

    As we should all know by now, “Cindy” (as he’s known in every other NHL city) Crosby has no responsibility for anything. He can do no wrong. For those still defending the Cooke hit as legal (it wasn’t) and claiming Crosby’s not protected, I’d like to talk business with you because you have difficulty dealing in reality. Just like all the yinzers who think the Steelers get picked on, open your eyes. Crosby is more protected and gets less calls against him than ANYONE. They have made him the face of the league, and the NHL wants him in every game, skating every shift. Some day people may finally come to the realization that Pittsburgh sports teams are not at the center of the universe.

  7. Shawn says:


    I didn’t realize that Sid was skating backwards on that play.

    Grow a brain.

  8. Skeptical Penfan says:

    the summary of the Kostopoulos hit differs from the Steckel/Crosby hit how? Crosby hit was worse because it was blindside and away from the puck. The kost/stuart hit, the puck was right there, and the hit was face on. Both were bad hits, Crosby’s fits more neatly into the headshot rule criteria. Both should have been suspensions in my opinion.

    Rob also makes a good point, in that Crosby has been consistent with both the Steckel hit and the Cooke hit…”we have to be responsbile” was what he said both times.

  9. OneTimer says:

    Even Puck Daddy (a Capitals Blog site) makes twitter case that Steckel should have been suspended for blindside hit to Crosby.

    wyshynski Greg Wyshynski
    According to Rule 48, yes. “where the head is … the principle point of contact.” RT @Kovo89 Are unintentional hits still punishable?

    wyshynski Greg Wyshynski
    Guess what, homers: A blindside hit can be unintentional. But it’s still a blindside hit, by definition.

    wyshynski Greg Wyshynski
    The blue side of your glasses is giving you trouble. Try the red side or, even better, the white. RT @Emfrank123 Steckel blindsided him?

    wyshynski Greg Wyshynski
    That said, using “serious nature of the player’s injury” as justification is infuriating & inconsistent. See: Randy Jones/Patrice Bergeron.

    wyshynski Greg Wyshynski
    People getting hung up on “no blindside” aspect of Kostopoulos suspension. NHL’s made it clear: Don’t hit the head of unsuspecting foe (1/2)

    wyshynski Greg Wyshynski
    New Puck Daddy: NHL suspends Kostopoulos six games for head hit on Stuart

  10. Lisa says:

    Paul and John, another example of two idiots who know nothing about anything. And Paul is obiviously jealous because Crosby doesn’t play on his team………Crosby does take responsibility
    Do you not listen? And you use the term “cindy” that shows all of us what an idiot you are.

    This coming from a female fan of both the Steelers and the Pens. Oh, and I like the Canucks and Ducks, too.

  11. Shawn says:

    “For those still defending the Cooke hit as legal (it wasn’t) and claiming Crosby’s not protected, I’d like to talk business with you because you have difficulty dealing in reality.” – Paul

    Et tu, Paul? Pay attention. The Cooke hit NECESSITATED a NEW rule, Rule 48 because it was LEGAL.

    As far as the Crosby hit…I guess in your world it’s the car in front of yours’ responsibility to get out of your way, rather than your responsibility to not run into them from behind?

    In any case, let’s talk “business”…what does a Big Gulp go for these days?

  12. Patrick says:

    I’m a Pens fan and I think Crosby should just shut up. It looked bad at full speed (it was right in front of me at the classic) but watching the replay, it wasn’t dirty.

    Crosby should just stop talking about it, even when asked. He makes himself look silly, especially saying all of this while he has Matt Cooke on his team.

    Fact is, its the past and the Pens have a pluthura of problems (power play, Fluery playing pucks behind the net and playing against the trap). They need to get over it and get payback come February 6.

  13. Paul says:

    Shawn and Lisa, classic examples of the “Crosby can do no wrong Syndrome.”

    If the Cooke hit had been on Crosby I’m sure you’d still feel it was legal.

    Big Gulps are $10

  14. Paul says:

    One other thing Shawn, there was no penalty or suspension on Steckel hit on Crosby, so I guess it was both clean and legal…in your world. Maybe we need a new rule. Don’t touch me! Sid.

  15. Pens66871 says:

    The hit was dirty. Plain and simple. There is no question about it. It was missed but when reviewed by the league it should have been caught. Crosby is not crying about it. He himself said he is not sure but after watching it you can see Steckel had time to get out of the way. Look back at the Letang clean shoulder to shoulder earlier this season that the league felt warranted a suspension. Even if you are not 100% sure due to the new rules this year there should have been a suspension for at least one game. It’s not that har to see and anyone who disagrees should read the rule book.

  16. Kate says:

    Just for the sake of getting facts right, Puck Daddy is not a Caps site. Wyshynski does live in DC, but is a Devs fan.

  17. Jim says:

    Next time Steckel is on the ice against the Pens at home he should face Rupp, Englund and Goddard every shift. In 1975, he would be shopping for dentures after the game. If he wants to disrespect other players like that, its his problem, but somewhere along the line there will be consequences., Perhaps someone will target Bongo-Boy Semin or give Ovi the same legal hit that he provided to Gonchar a few years back — everybody knows their the toughest guys on the Caps, except for the fact that they can’t stand to be hit.

  18. […] should give No. 87 pause to reflect back on the Steckel hit. Here’s what Crosby said to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi about the Hedman and Steckel hits back on Jan. 8, […]

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