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…