Kovacevic: Crosby deserves better
By Dejan Kovacevic
Published: Friday, Jan. 13, 2012
Want the truth about Sidney Crosby?
OK, you'll have it.
Let's start with three critical things you should know about the Penguins' captain, based upon conversations I've had the past few days:
1. He isn't fine.
Not yet, anyway.
He's still experiencing trouble with balance, and he isn't sure why. He doesn't even know if it's related to a concussion. More than anything, he's exasperated by a lack of answers.
2. He desperately wants to play.
It's preposterous to even type such a thing, but sadly -- and stupidly -- there are people accusing Crosby of skipping out on playing, both in the public and in the Penguins' locker room. Ray Shero actually felt the need to address it Thursday, saying, "This is a player that's not medically cleared to play."
Let me take it further.
How dare anyone question Crosby's desire, much less teammates who should know him best?
Has everyone forgotten so quickly who this extraordinary athlete is, about his passion �" no, obsession �" for the game?
How about silently playing a month on a broken foot in 2007?
Or that magical return against the Islanders?
3. He loves Pittsburgh.
Loves the people, the city, the team and its fans. And he would dearly love to spend his whole career with the Penguins. I'm not guessing at this. I've heard it from his mouth again very recently.
This is someone who recently bought a house in the area, only to scrap it and begin building a new one more to his liking.
Does that sound like someone ready to bolt when his contract is up next summer?
The only thing more absurd than the notion that Crosby doesn't want to play hockey is that he's conspiring to get out of town.
It's dead wrong.
You're going to hear some of this stuff Friday when Crosby faces reporters at about noon in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. But let me lay this out now: The Penguins, the public and, yes, Crosby all need to learn how to handle this situation better in the future.
That begins with the locker room.
A few, certainly not all, of Crosby's teammates are of the mind that he's been symptom-free for a while, though they have no medical basis for that. Some think he should be playing. Some simply think he should be doing more to communicate, or at least be as visible as concussed defenseman Kris Letang.
Last week in Pittsburgh, according to three sources, a group of players held a 45-minute meeting to discuss a temporary captaincy. Another source disputed that any such meeting occurred.
If it did, were those players kidding?
Look, I get that the players are feeling the heat during this six-game losing streak. They're used to thinking about championships, not squeaking past Winnipeg for eighth place. I also get that when they see James Neal and Craig Adams tough out injuries, it highlights everyone who isn't doing likewise.
But moaning about who's wearing the "C?"
If the Penguins are serious about turning it around, they should focus on attacking the Florida Panthers on Friday night with the same energy they showed Wednesday in the 1-0 loss at Washington. There are plenty enough viable leaders in that room right now who should be holding themselves accountable for this losing streak.
Then there are the tales of tussles between management and the so-called Crosby camp.
Crosby's father, Troy Crosby, and his agent, Pat Brisson, do keep close tabs on him, and that rubs some the wrong way. But my understanding is that the issues between those men and the team have been hugely overblown. Or at least they have been since some bickering over the Penguins' bungling of the original concussion a year ago. Communications are fine, and relationships are fine.
That's as it should be.
Crosby's contract expires in summer 2013, and it's imperative that it gets extended. No one associated with the Penguins, from the front office to the fourth line, could possibly think they'd be better off without him. He's the best player in the world. He's the franchise.
And I'll repeat: He wants to stay in Pittsburgh.
Crosby, too, must do his part.
He's 24 years old, and it's time he applies his trademark maturity toward handling adversity a little better and calling more of his own shots. He's lifted a Cup, he's won Olympic gold, and he's represented our city and his native Canada on a grand scale. He's an extraordinary young man, one eminently capable of this.
But for right now, this is someone going through the toughest time of his life. And the Kid could use an assist, a helping hand when he's down.
Stop kicking already.
It's not what we Pittsburghers do to one of our own.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers to release LaMarr Woodley; Taylor restructures contract
- Analysis: Steelers could fill needs with free agents while not spending big bucks
- Stage volunteer dies following collapse at Pine-Richland High School
- Crosby lifts Penguins over Capitals in last game of road trip
- Jackets-Stars called off when Peverley falls ill
- Contract arranged director’s early exit
- Redistricting provides faceoff for Democratic state Reps. Molchany, Readshaw
- Search under way for missing hikers in McConnells Mill State Park
- ACC Tournament manages to deliver an inherent history lesson
- Marcellus shale driller Noble Energy Inc. sinks roots into Pittsburgh
- Supreme Court ruling to affect few bicycle trails in Pennsylvania