Better With Popcorn

Crosby says Flyers are 'trying to persuade officials'

The last week of the regular season has been unkind to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Since last Sunday’s nationally televised NBC Game of the Week against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Penguins have been heavily criticized by both opponents and media pundits alike for being a team of whiners and dirty players.

The player who has seen the brunt of this attack is Penguins captain, Sidney Crosby.

“I don’t know when this all started if this is part of the new tactics heading into the playoffs,” Crosby said to Pens TV following practice on Friday. “It’s garbage.”

Following the team’s 6-4 loss to the Flyers on Sunday, NBC analyst Mike Milbury appeared on 94.1 WIP, a local Philadelphia radio station and criticized Crosby’s role in instigating a line brawl that occurred with a minute remaining in what was a 6-3 game at the time.

“Crosby gets cross-checked, big whoop,” Milbury said on the radio broadcast. “He couldn’t help himself because there’s a little punk in Crosby. He’s not the perfect gentleman.”

It must be noted that Crosby was not on the ice at the time of the brawl.

Following those comments, Flyers assistant coach Craig Berube chimed in with his own critique of the league’s biggest star.

“Crosby and Malkin are the two dirtiest players on their hockey team,” Berube said on Tuesday to a local Philadelphia outlet. “[Crosby] gets away with too much in my opinion, whines to the refs all day and all night, it’s a joke.”

After Thursday night, the New York Rangers threw their hat into the ring, as well.

“It’s one of the most arrogant organizations in the league,” Rangers head coach John Tortorella said of the Penguins. “ They whine about this stuff all the time and look what happens.”

There is a popular view that the Penguins have an advantage over their opponents because some believe that the officials have a bias towards the star-studded Pittsburgh roster.

If a Pittsburgh player falls down and the Penguins’ bench becomes vocal, many believe that an official is more likely to entertain the thought that it was because of foul play.

Crosby was quick to deflect that notion back on his opponents.

“They’re trying to persuade officials from not making calls or second guessing things,” he said of the recent criticisms. “It doesn’t affect us, but I really hope [the officials are] not listening to that crap because it’s nonsense. They’re trying every which way to gain an advantage.”

Unfortunately for Crosby, he has a well-documented history of having a discussion or two with the officials about ‘should-have-been’ calls, one that has earned him a reputation as a ‘whiner.’

He was quick to shoot that theory down and blamed the perception as a fabrication created by his first round opponent.

“It’s coming out of Philly, which it’s come out of for seven years since I’ve played in the league,” Crosby said of the view that he whines to officials. “I’ll be the first to admit it, my first couple years I was pretty hard on the refs, I’ve come a long way since then but no where near where I was then and to get those kind of remarks every day is uncalled for and not warranted.”

 In terms of Saturday’s game, Crosby expects to play and says that he doesn’t expect any kind of carry over from Sunday.

He expressed that the Penguins are looking to play well and establish the kind of game they hope to bring to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarter Finals.

However, if there does end up being any scuffles, he made it clear that they will be ready.

“Things happen in hockey games,” he said. “Everyone will be ready to respond if that happens but no body’s looking for it on our side.”

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