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Columnist: Some Penguins think Crosby should be playing

Jan 13, 2012, 10:54 AM EDT

Sidney Crosby Getty Images

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Dejan Kovacevic caught the attention of many with his latest piece, “Crosby deserves better“. In it, Kovacevic discusses developments around Camp Crosby and the Penguins — how badly Crosby wants to play, his issues with balance, rumblings of him wanting to leave Pittsburgh — but one note stood out above the rest.

From the Tribune-Review:

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.

The Penguins are mired in a six-game losing streak in which the offense has completely disappeared. They’ve scored just six times during the streak and were shut out in Washington on Wednesday, so an increase in frustration is understandable. But there’s a big leap from being pissed off to questioning the severity of a teammate’s injury and if Kovacevic’s piece is accurate, a few Penguins have already made the jump.

“Moaning about who’s wearing the ‘C’?,” Kovacevic writes. “There are plenty enough viable leaders in that room right now who should be holding themselves accountable for this losing streak.”

Granted, the optics around this situation haven’t been great. There’s been a sideshow element around the entire Crosby concussion saga — the hordes of reporters, the “Sid is a Ferrari” presser, the endless speculation — so it’s not entirely surprising some Penguins are tired of it. It’s been over a year since Crosby was first diagnosed with a concussion.

That said, it should take a lore more than a six-game losing streak (which came on the heels of a four-game winning streak) for the daggers to come out, no? And if they really are out, some serious questions have to be asked of the Pens dressing room.

  1. abrienza428 - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    I question the legitimacy of this. While I agree there might be too much silence on Crosby and the Penguins’ part, how can anybody think Crosby is just choosing not to play when he can? The team has lost 6 straight, so yeah, they’re pissed and obviously getting questions about Crosby.

    As far as a “temporary captaincy” goes, why? I’m pretty sure Philadelphia isn’t naming one and their captain has been ruled out for the season.

    • somekat - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      Not really the same situation as Philly. Pronger just happened a month ago. I could see the Flyers giving the C to someone else, maybe Giroux or Timmonen, next year if there is doubt to if Pronger can play again next season.

      On one hand, I can see the players point. It’s been more than a calendar year since he was with the team (outside of a 2 game stretch), and they are entering a 2nd playoff push without him. Maybe it is time to point to someone else and say “it’s his team until Sid is ready”.

      On the other hand, it is Sid’s team and everyone knows it. Sid is one of, if not the best player in the world when healthy, and any team would be happy to have him. I can almost gurantee they’d get a huge package for him right now, without anything certain as far as him returning to his old form.

      To me, this just looks like a group of guys that, even without Sid, should have plenty of talent to make the playoffs comfortably, trying to blame their problems on somebody who isn’t even there.

      • abrienza428 - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:56 AM

        Fair point. I just don’t see the need for the temporary captaincy, but I guess the players are probably just as much in the dark about if and when he’ll be back as we are. It’s obvious the onus is on Malkin to pick the team up offensively, for instance, but slapping a different letter on him shouldn’t make a difference. That’s all I mean.

  2. sknut - Jan 13, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    I hope the players had the decency to tell what they thought to Crosby’s face. I get being frustrated but I guarantee that no is more frustrated than Crosby. A concussion is so out of a players control that I think other players lose sight of that.

  3. flyersfandave - Jan 13, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    I don’t think any team can go far without a captain. Teams need a leader on ice to set the tone of the game. Usually, when the captain goes down another player replaces that presence. In Pitt that doesn’t sound like the case and it is costing them. Crosby is so valuable to Pit and NHL they want him back and healthy. He would if he could im sure.

  4. tmjm621 - Jan 13, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Not a pens fan at all…but i highly highly doubt anyone would do that or say those things. Who do we think they are?? The NEW YORK JETS?! Ohhhhhh jkjk….but seriously. I doubt that happened. Although everyone calls crosby a baby and stuff, i can guarentee if the pitts doctors said he could play he would. And i dont think anyone in that locker room would say things like that about him. And dan bylsma i dont think would take crap like that

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