ShareThis Page

Penguins' Sidney Crosby weighs in on NHL's slashing crackdown

Jonathan Bombulie
| Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, 4:03 p.m.

For a number of reasons, Sidney Crosby is uniquely qualified to comment on the NHL's crackdown on slashing violations in the preseason.

As the league's premier player for a decade, a player who thrives with the puck on his stick, he's been the target of countless slashes in an attempt to disrupt his game.

He was also on the other end of the league's most high-profile slashing incident of last season when he accidentally mangled the tip of former Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot's pinkie finger with his stick in March.

In general, Crosby supports the initiative.

“I think they're trying to crack down on guys going after each other's hands out there,” Crosby said. “I think it's good to crack down on that.”

Crosby's lone reservation was that the crackdown would also catch legitimate stick-checking in its net.

“It's a fine line (when) you're going to lift a guy's stick or play a guy's stick,” Crosby said. “I think there's a difference between trying to play a guy and deliberately going at his hands.”

There's no fine line when it comes to the most memorable slashes Crosby has received over the past few seasons.

In Game 4 of a 2016 playoff series, Crosby took a whack from Washington's Alex Ovechkin on the left hand and swung his stick angrily with his right as he made his way down the tunnel to the locker room for medical treatment.

In Game 3 of last year's playoff meeting with the Capitals, Crosby took a two-hander from Ovechkin in the shoulder seconds before Matt Niskanen delivered a concussion-causing cross-check to his head.

Those are major incidents that are covered with exclamation points and capital letters. This season's crackdown is more targeted toward subtle violations.

“I think they're trying to get the ones with a D man carrying the puck up the ice or somebody carrying the puck through the neutral zone, kind of those unnecessary ones that don't have a bearing on the play but are still penalties,” Crosby said. “I think it's a good thing. We'll have to see to what extent they're called as the season goes on.”

Crosby pointed out Saturday that he wasn't called for a penalty on the play that did damage to Methot's finger. Under the crackdown, he likely would have been.

“Unfortunately, the odd time it does happen,” Crosby said. “I could see why they would want to crack down and eliminate those ones for sure. But it happens a lot. It's something that, if it's deliberate and guys are going after the hands, they have to be (held) responsible. I think that's what they're trying to do.”

As for the NHL's other preseason crackdown, the one on faceoff violations, Crosby voiced his unequivocal support.

Officials are calling a minor penalty when the same team commits two violations on the same draw. The emphasis is on skate positioning.

“I like it,” Crosby said. “As players, we find a way to adjust. If you don't learn it quick, then you're not going to be taking many faceoffs.”

Crosby admitted his support for the faceoff crackdown might be tied to the way he takes draws. He rarely tries to use his skates to win them.

“When you use your foot a lot, you're obviously trying to cheat your foot forward,” Crosby said. “Guys that use their foot a little bit more probably aren't going to like it. I don't tend to use my foot a lot, so that's why I like it.”

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter at @BombulieTrib.

The Penguins' Sidney Crosby during the first day of practice Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
Chaz Palla
The Penguins' Sidney Crosby during the first day of practice Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) looks for a teammate against the Predators in the second period of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Sunday, June 11, 2017, at Bridgestone Arena.
Christian Tyler Randolph | Tribune-Review
Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) looks for a teammate against the Predators in the second period of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Sunday, June 11, 2017, at Bridgestone Arena.
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.

click me