May 3, 2012, 8:00 AM EST
For all the criticism that Evgeni Malkin received for the Pittsburgh Penguins’ first round series to the Philadelphia Flyers, he ultimately had the same amount of points (eight) as Sidney Crosby. It’s not a popular thought – two early goals in particular made it seem like everything was fine – but some might have wondered if Crosby was “all there.”
Gary Roberts is one of those people. Here is what he told The Canadian Press.
“Sidney Crosby needs to be in elite shape to perform at the level that he needs to perform at,” Roberts said. “I haven’t talked to him, but I don’t think he was feeling great. You can’t miss that much time in a season, even Sidney Crosby.”
Roberts knows fitness and Crosby (he briefly played alongside him in Pittsburgh), so he carries some extra credibility. The imposing ex-NHLer draws on his experience with another great center as an another example.
“Look at Mats Sundin,” Roberts said. “He took six months off, went back to Vancouver and he told me ‘Holy crap, I worked hard off the ice and I can’t believe how bad I feel out there.”‘
Interesting stuff. Finally, Roberts quite reasonably gave Crosby the benefit of the doubt about skipping the 2012 Hockey World Championships.
“Players can’t afford to be healing in the summer,” Roberts said. “You’ve got to be getting stronger and preparing for the next year. The summers are not for relaxation to the point that you don’t work.”
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