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David Steckel tried to apologize for hitting Sidney Crosby at Winter Classic

Mar 4, 2011, 5:40 PM EDT

gyi0063775982 Getty Images

For what appeared to be an accidental hit at the time it happened has turned into the seminal moment in the NHL this year. David Steckel’s collision with Sidney Crosby at the end of the second period during the 2011 Winter Classic turned out to be the one moment from the game that still leaves people talking today thanks to the concussion problems Crosby is still facing now more than nine weeks later.

Many Pittsburgh fans have been upset about the hit since that game claiming that Steckel targeted the Pens captain. Others say that it looked to be an accidental collision. We side with those saying it was an accident but if you thought that Steckel was carrying on without a thought as to Sid’s condition, you’d be greatly mistaken as Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice found out today.

“It was completely unintentional,” Steckel said. “I didn’t mean to hit him at all. I tried to get out of the way and it’s unfortunate that he’s been out for so long. It’s one of those things that’s uncertain.”

Although it was an accident, Steckel said he reached out to apologize to Crosby through Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland, who was his AHL teammate in Hershey.

“I said, ‘Tell Sid I’m really sorry. I didn’t see him at all,’” Steckel said. “And I haven’t talked to him since.”

Of course the other side of this is whether or not you have to worry about the Penguins still holding a grudge toward Steckel for the hit. Given that the Penguins played the Capitals twice since the Winter Classic with Steckel in the lineup for them and they didn’t go after him then, you can expect the same thing in tonight’s battle between New Jersey, which acquired Steckel in the Jason Arnott deal at the trade deadline, and Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh’s Mike Rupp told The Star-Ledger that while they still remember what happened with Steckel, expecting payback from them would be short-sighted.

Mike Rupp says Penguins haven’t forgotten about David Steckel’s hit on Sidney Crosby. “Are we going to react? No. We’ve played him twice.”

Seems simple enough. To think that David Steckel would be the guy that had the biggest effect on the Penguins season this year is crazy to even ponder. You’d think that if someone was going to have an effect on Pittsburgh’s season it would be an opposing goalie in the playoffs or a forward/defenseman with the ability to keep Crosby under wraps and off the stats sheet.

Instead it’s a concussion for the league’s biggest star delivered to him in the most accidental of ways on the NHL’s biggest midseason stage. Things are going to change either with equipment or rules in the near future for the NHL to better protect the players and it’ll be David Steckel that will be the answer to a trivia question in which made it all possible.

  1. stakex - Mar 5, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    Anyone with half a brain who watches the video (and knows anything about hockey) can clearly see this was an accident… and that Crosby actually ran into Steckel who was focused on the play, and not even looking at Crosby. The only people who think this was intentional are a few idiot Pittsburgh fans who are just pissed that Cindy is out. Anyone who is not bias knows this should have been a dead issue on January 1st.

    Also, since most Pit fans loved to talk about how “clean” Cooks hit on Savard was last year… I don’t think the rest of the hockey world gives too much credit to what Penguin fans have to say these days.

    • tkovacs2 - Mar 5, 2011 at 4:09 PM

      I think anyone who still calls Sidney Crosby “Cindy” doesn’t get too much credit from the rest of the hockey world either.

      I also think that anyone who can’t refrain from name-calling when trying to make their point doesn’t really have an intelligent opinion to interject into a debate.

      Steckel’s hit was most likely accidental. As a Pens fan, I can’t remember the last time I personally heard another Pens fan complain about the Steckel hit.

      Then again, I’m not allowed to complain because Matt Cooke plays on our team, right?

    • tk1966 - Mar 6, 2011 at 11:44 PM

      Amazing the irony here – using the calling Pittsburgh fans “idiots”, then calling Sidney “Cindy”, and then further making himself look moronic by decrying bias. Sounds like the rants of a twelve year old. Grow up.

  2. ihateannouncers - Mar 5, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    The rest of the hockey world will also agree that anyone using cindy as a reference to one of the best players in the game, does have HALF A BRAIN. This will be an issue until Crosby returns, so get used to it.

  3. caps08 - Mar 5, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    I can settle this, everyone with half a brain knows that sidneys real name is Crybaby crosby and ALL of the hockey world know that Cooke is a dirty player, even the blind do.

  4. ihateannouncers - Mar 6, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    All you really settled is that you are a caps fan. If Crosby was a cap you would love him.

    • tk1966 - Mar 6, 2011 at 11:46 PM

      and that goes for Cooke, too. He is the quintessential “hate him if he’s on the other team, love him if he’s on yours” player.

  5. purplehaze87 - Mar 9, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    Look at the film.
    There is NO WAY this was an accident.
    If it was an accidental hit, Steckel would have reacted differently after the contact – at the very least look back at who he hit. It’s a natural reaction. Instead, he just kept on skating up ice.
    No question in my mind there was some kind of intention.

  6. derpdederpdederp - Mar 10, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    complete accident. if it wasne crosby and he wasnt out we wouldnt have to constantly hear about it. nothing has changed about this almost 3-month-old story, maybe its time to focus on something like playoff races

  7. mwkoz - Mar 10, 2011 at 10:26 PM

    I have been a Pens fan for years and the Steckel hit WAS and accident. If you watch the slow motion replay, you can see him try to step out of the way just before contact.

    Also, I like the way Matt Cooke plays (most of the time). The Savard hit could have been avoided. There was a boarding call to Cooke recently also. When I saw the hit, I said he should get a suspension for it. I love a good check as much as anyone, but there are times when the players need to use more discretion. These were two cases.

    As a Pens fan, I hate the Flyers and Caps, but as a person who realizes that it’s just a game, I’ll refrain from silly name-calling. Grow up!

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