Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Crosby Calls Out Steckel's Hit - Again

74 checks Crosby in the Winter Classic
Yesterday, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma revealed that Crosby will not practice or play until he is totally symptom free from the effects of a concussion that he suffered last week.  After his teammates had skated, Crosby sat at his locker with the media and found it necessary to call out "blind side hits" again, as he has been doing all week.  "I know it's a fast game, and I think if anybody understands it's a fast game -- I've been hit a thousand times," Crosby said Saturday. "But when you get hit like that, there's nothing you can do. There's no way you can protect yourself. Those are things that hopefully [the NHL] pays more attention to."

Crosby is, of course, referring to the instance late in the second period during the Winter Classic when David Steckel, perhaps the nicest and least dirty guy ever, turned up ice and knocked into him.  Stecks hit him in the head during the collision and 87 had trouble skating off the ice with what he called "neck soreness."  But he came back out for the 3rd period of the game and struggled to get anything going offensively as his team attempted to come back.  After the game, he insisted that the hit was intentional and dirty, saying: "how tall is Steckel? Like 6'5"?  Seems like it would be pretty hard for him to hit me in the head by accident."  This, despite the fact that the video clearly shows Steckel looking the other way and simply cutting up ice at the end of the period when he ran into Crosby.  It was the accident to end all accidents, a hockey play that happens every night in every NHL game.  It was not a "hit" even, Steckel did not attempt to drive his body into Crosby's, and the NHL did not credit him with a "hit" on the play.  But somehow, it's a dirty play, and Steckel is out to get him.  Hmmmmm.  However, towards the end of his interview yesterday, after making his comments, Crosby retracted his words about Steckel because that's the smart thing to do, and he is a smart man.

I do not understand why Sidney Crosby does this.  He is the best player in the world at this juncture, no question about it, but is also the biggest whiner in the world.  David Steckel is a quintessential grinder, a guy who has worked his tail off to make the NHL and be a fixture through faceoffs and penalty killing.  He rarely, if ever, takes penalties.  He would have no reason to run Sidney Crosby at try to put him out.  I also would like to know where this opposition to blind side hits was after Matt Cooke knocked Marc Savard out cold last year with one of the worst blind side hits I have ever seen.  Yell at Victor Hedman, who actually ran you with a check to your backside and made you realize that you got your bell rung.  Or, just let it be.  The NHL is spending entire board meetings addressing blind side hits and what to do about them.  Clearly, the NHL did not deem either hit dirty or blindside, either with on-ice or supplemental discipline of the player who hit him.  Even though I don't like him, I respect Crosby as a player and the fact that he is tarnishing his extraordinary ability with his whining is a shame.

The Capitals have today off.  More on practice tomorrow.  And, lastly, a verry happy f%$#*&@! birthday to Bruce Boudreau.

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