Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dave Steckel is not a dirty player.

I've watched the clip a few dozen times, and I can't believe that there are still people out there who think that Dave Steckel was head-hunting Sidney Crosby on Saturday's Winter Classic matchup between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A friend referred me to this article that talks about how the Penguins, and Crosby specifically, come across as whiners for their reaction to the hit. I read the article, and it starts off on the right foot. However, it seemed to get off on a tangent about how Crosby got away with a slash earlier in the period (he did), and about how if he's going to play hockey, he has to expect to get hit (he does).

To me, that's not the most important point. If you watch the clip (at the top of that article), you can actually see Steckel angle his shoulder to get around Crosby to try to get up ice. Crosby was watching the puck go behind him, and had no idea where his path on the ice was taking him. It took him directly into the path of Steckel. If it had taken him into a net, would the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review be talking about how the nets should be made of a plastic polymer instead of metal, because he clanked his head on it?

Please. When you're on the ice, you're responsible for where you send your body. If you weren't, people could just lead with their heads and draw penalties and suspensions for their opposition. Remember this classic Simpsons clip? Do any of us think he's not responsible for eating that pie?

The most frustrating part of the Tribune-Review's article is the hint at retribution by Brooks Orpik at the end. The whole Penguins squad seemed to rally behind Crosby's assessment of the hit, and that's okay. I get standing behind your guy. And I get Crosby's reaction; to him, it was a blindside hit in a chippy game, and he's the one who actually got hurt. But at some point, logic has to prevail, doesn't it? Don't you have to look at the clip and say, "Gee, that doesn't look as sinister as it felt"?

That's my biggest problem with Crosby's reaction. As perhaps the league's biggest star and his team's captain, he sets the tone for his team. He needs to be bigger than revenge, bigger than calling Steckel a dirty player when he's clearly not. He needs to corral his team, not let them chirp to local media about it being a cheap shot. And his own response to the media needs to be, "Hockey is a physical game. I got hit, I'm over it. We're looking forward to our next game, and you can bet your ass we'll be ready for our next game against the Caps."

Of course, if 5'11" Crosby wants to tangle with 6'5" Steckel, I imagine the big fella would oblige.


Nick said...

But we all know it won't be 5'11" Crosby tangling with 6'5" Steckel. It will be Orpik, or Rupp or one of the many other guys that do the dirty work for Crosby.

Mark said...

if i remember correctly the Tribune article later quoted Crosby as saying "It doesn't really matter now. There's no point really talking about it." I feel like thats in the same realm of what you wanted him to say: "Hockey is a physical game. I got hit, I'm over it. We're looking forward to our next game, and you can bet your ass we'll be ready for our next game against the Caps."

Marcus said...

I read the article and it just fuels my hatred for Crosby. Sack up Cindy!

GoodPointJoe said...

Mark, I think he said something like that right after the game, but then later (in the article I linked) implied that it was a dirty play. He may have cooled off on that stance, but he had it right to begin with. Why didn't he just stick with that line, rather than making some absurd and indecipherable comment about how tall Dave Steckel is?

Mark said...

The "Red Light" article that you linked to in your post got its Crosby quotes from the Tribune article, and in the Tribune article it doesnt say when Crosby said "It doesn't really matter now. There's no point really talking about it." The Trib article does lead off by saying "No one -- not even Sidney Crosby -- saw the hit, but after 48 hours of reflection and replay viewing, the Penguins aren't happy." which leads me to believe these quotes came from Monday. If the quotes are in chronological order thats one of the last things Crosby said about the hit before ending with "Whether he meant to or not, I guess only he knows that."

Mark said...

incidental or not, youre getting a penalty for getting your stick in someones grill. if the league wants to "crack down" on head shots they should adopt the same high stick rules for head shots, especially since head shots do a lot more damage. Steckel's hit was incidental....i agree with everyone one that. my beef here isnt with him....its with the NHL

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