Crosby: whining comments 'garbage'

Chris Harlan
| Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sidney Crosby has been called a whiner before by antagonistic Flyers fans, but the timing of this attack was harder for him to accept.

Maybe six years ago it held a little more truth, but not now, he said.

"I'll be the first one to admit (that during) my first couple years I was pretty hard on the refs," said Crosby, one of the "two (expletive) whining stars" that Rangers coach John Tortorella criticized Thursday. "I've come a long way since then."

Crosby addressed the coach's words following Friday's practice at Southpointe, a few hours before Tortorella was fined $20,000. Crosby said he expected Tortorella would apologize for "blowing up" and "everything will be forgotten."

But Crosby also discussed the root of any "whining" perception he might carry, saying he has changed his approach since his rookie season.

"I'm nowhere near where I was then," he said, "and to get those kinds of remarks (now) is uncalled for and not warranted. • I don't need to sit here and defend myself for something that's not going on. But if they want to try that garbage, try it."

Crosby suggested having one camera follow him and Evgeni Malkin, the other so-called "whining star," while another camera watched Rangers captain Ryan

"You'll see who's over there (with the referees) more," Crosby said. "(Tortorella) should worry about his own players."

But this insult wasn't isolated. The Penguins are gutless whiners who take cheap shots and play dirty, if you listen to angry coaches around the Atlantic Division.

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette started the smear campaign Sunday, and Tortorella continued it Thursday by calling the organization "arrogant." Suddenly, it seems trashing the Penguins has become trendy.

"I don't know when this all started," Crosby said, "(or whether) this is part of the new tactics in the playoffs. But it's garbage."

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma called the insults "gamesmanship" by playoff-bound coaches trying to influence others, yet he hasn't gotten involved. Not even after Laviolette broke a stick along the boards and called the Penguins coaches "gutless."

Then Thursday night, after the Penguins beat the Rangers,
Tortorella used profanity and maligned Crosby and Malkin while addressing a hit by Brooks Orpik. Bylsma called it "part of his coaching manual to go off."

"If anything, they're trying to persuade officials," Crosby said. "... I really hope they're not listening to that because it's nonsense. They are trying every which way to gain an advantage."

The Penguins complete their regular season today against the Flyers at Consol Energy Center and then begin a seven-game playoff series with them next week that could be filled with hard hits and a few cheap shots. Moments that certainly will test patience.

"After a while you learn (complaining to the referees) is a waste of your energy," Crosby said. "It doesn't help anything. They're not going to change their mind after penalties. Yelling isn't really going to help. I think it's just something with time you learn. It's experience.

"I'm a pretty competitive guy, but you've got to learn to kind of control that sometimes and put your energy towards things that matter. That's playing hockey."

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