Sunday, June 14, 2009

An honest mistake


Well, the fallout has already begun. No matter what he does - or in this case, doesn't do - Sidney Crosby is a target for criticism.

This time it's from Red Wings forward Kris Draper, who felt Crosby snubbed Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom in the post-series handshake line.

Frankly, I think this is much ado about nothing and was a situation that both sides could've handled better.

The Penguins probably could've/should've gone to the handshake line a little quicker than they did. But let's be honest, here. This is a national story in Canada and people were going to swarm all over Crosby, who was "destined" to win a Stanley Cup since before he knew what his name was.

I don't know how much time elapsed from the final horn to when Detroit lined up for the handshake. But it's not like Lidstrom was waiting in line for an hour. I think the Red Wings could've waited a little longer, maybe be a little gracious in defeat. I think Crosby probably got caught up in the moment and made an inexperienced, young man's mistake. Should he win another championship, I'm willing to bet there won't be a repeat of this. I hardly think the most important thing running through Crosby's mind was, "I have to make sure I don't shake Lidstrom's hand."

I have some questions for Mr. Draper. Are you really that upset at Crosby, or are you upset that your team failed to close out the series, despite being up 2-0, 3-2 and with a Game 7 on home ice? Are you upset that you, personally, failed to bring much to the table in the series, after taking Justin Abdelkader's roster spot, a player who caused the Penguins problems in the first two games? Or that your team scored two goals total in the final two games of the series, when you had two chances to win the Cup?

You were young once and have won several Stanley Cups. Don't you remember what it was like to win your first one? You can't let Crosby take some time to revel in the moment?

You questioned Crosby's class. Well, you stay classy yourself. You know, calling out another player in the media, instead of venting your displeasure privately to said player. Because classy people always question another person's motives and actions in public, rather than air it out behind closed doors. The only possible intent for doing something like that is to deride another player. Now that's showing respect, isn't it? It doesn't seem like you took the time to ask Crosby if it was just a mistake, you immediately assumed the worst. Very honorable there, sir.

This is coming from a guy who once refused to shake hands with someone after a series. Granted, Draper might have had reason to not show respect to Claude Lemieux, who rearranged Draper's face on one of the dirtiest hits one will ever see. But he actually has the nerve to call out someone for doing the same thing he once did? Did Draper bash teammate Chris Chelios, who skated off the ice immediately after Chelios and the Red Wings lost the Western finals to Anaheim two years ago? Did he do it publicly?

The difference is, I'd bet my Stanley Cup-champion merchandise that Crosby's non-handshake was an accident, not intentional like Draper; Chelios apologized the next day, citing emotion and wanting privacy, so maybe he gets a pass. Crosby missing Lidstrom in the handshake line was an unfortunate incident that could've been avoided. If Crosby wanted to snub people, he wouldn't have gotten in line at all. He just took too long and/or several Detroit players scampered off the ice too quickly.

Emotion was running rampant on both sides, high for Crosby and the Penguins, who didn't want to leave, and low for Lidstrom and the Wings, who preferred the quickest escape possible. Put those two things together and, unfortunately, something like this happens.

That's all it is. It wasn't an insult directed at Lidstrom. Hopefully Crosby can get hold of Lidstrom and apologize, and hopefully Lidstrom accepts it, and maybe this thing can be put to rest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said.
It IS too bad, that the so called sportsmanship seems to have gone 'awol'.. judging from all those negative, and quite nasty at times, comments.
Yes, fans get hyper when their team wins/looses, but one must credit where credit is due in all fairness. And in the end it IS only a game not World War III?