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Columnist: Penguins failure is all Crosby’s fault

May 18, 2014, 3:16 PM EDT

Sidney Crosby AP

The Pittsburgh Penguins bowing out of the playoffs early for the fifth straight season has already come at a price for GM Ray Shero, but according to one columnist, it’s all Sidney Crosby‘s fault they’re not winning the Stanley Cup.

Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review pointed the finger squarely at the Penguins captain in a scathing column questioning Crosby’s motivation, leadership, and whether he was looking to get people fired.

Set aside, for a moment, Crosby’s paltry playoff numbers. This is bigger than that. It’s about the way he comported himself.

It’s about the mysteriously early exits from power plays, the drifting to the bench in the middle of shifts, the uncharacteristic snapping at the coach and the perpetually blank look on his face.

If we find out he was badly injured, different story. But there is no evidence of that. The evidence suggests Crosby was unhappy and wanted the world to know it.

Crosby finished the playoffs with nine points in 13 games and didn’t score his first, and only, goal in the postseason until Game 3 against the New York Rangers in the second round.

Most of the criticisms levied here deal with reading body language and trying to crawl into Crosby’s head, a difficult thing to do given how Crosby doesn’t exactly speak his mind at will. Putting the blame on him for not picking up and carrying a team that severely lacked depth seems unfair.

Sure, Crosby didn’t have a great playoff but putting all their shortcomings on his shoulders is a bit much.

  1. cybernetikghost - May 18, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    Article by Clark-Andre Theurry….

  2. jaguar0413 - May 18, 2014 at 3:32 PM

    Dear Sidney,

    Welcome to my world.

    Regards,
    Alex Ovechkin

    • govtminion - May 18, 2014 at 4:50 PM

      P.S.- “OH GOD, my leg!”

  3. kaptaanamerica - May 18, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    I’d say Starkey isn’t putting all their problems on him.he’s calling out Sid for not being professional enough to give out what he’s got. Floating to the bench, whinging, etc… Starkey is holding him to account for his petulant behaviour.

    They should trade him and the team up around Malkin. Florida could put together a decent package for him.

    • kaptaanamerica - May 18, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      Build

    • atwatercrushesokoye - May 18, 2014 at 4:17 PM

      I was thinking the same thing, Florida has a deep prospect base, they would probably get 6 pieces (prospects, current players and 1st round picks) for Crosby and it would ease their salary cap issues. Florida then gets a marketable piece to sell to their fans, if people don’t come to watch the Golden Boy they will never come.

      • overunder27 - May 18, 2014 at 5:34 PM

        Florida? Buffalo has as much, if not more picks and prospects stockpiling right now. I think Crosby would rather play 3 hours north of Pittsburgh in a hockey hotbed like Buffalo than all the way down in Florida. As far as I’m concerned, had Buffalo won the Crosby lottery in the first place… the Sabres would have turned those back-to-back conference finals into at least one Cup.

      • President Charles Logan - May 18, 2014 at 6:00 PM

        Buffalo?? and Stanley Cup? in the same Sentence??
        Bahahahaha!! thanks for the laugh

      • bowltr - May 19, 2014 at 8:06 AM

        ya but who the he!! wants to live in Buffalo?

    • barkar942 - May 18, 2014 at 5:03 PM

      Whinging?
      “They should trade him and the team up around Malkin.”?
      You typed this on your phone, didn’t you?

      • barkar942 - May 18, 2014 at 5:04 PM

        and p.s.s.- HOW DARE ANYONE SAY ANYTHING BAD ABOUT CINDY!

    • apkyletexas - May 18, 2014 at 6:33 PM

      It’s already been well documented that Lemieux is furious with the players for allowing Sid to get banged around so much on his shifts in the playoffs, and no one being man enough to make anyone pay for it. He also repeatedly questioned the “character” of the team, alluding to the same thing.

      There are some excellent interviews with Lemieux and co-owner Ron Burkle at the Pittsburgh Tribune Review newspaper website. They were both also ticked that defensive prospect Simon Despres never got much of a look. I think you are seeing that Shero was fired for weak drafts and putting together a soft, weak bench, and the next man in the GM’s chair is going to be under a mandate that toughness and character be added to the locker room immediately.

      • thesportsjudge - May 18, 2014 at 9:40 PM

        At least you didn’t say truculent/truculence.

      • broadstreetbeatdown - May 18, 2014 at 10:19 PM

        Here I thought that Ed Snider was a meddling owner. Super Mario is the Jerry Jones of hockey.

      • hockey412 - May 19, 2014 at 8:45 AM

        My only comment is that there actually was some grit to the roster, but Dan refused to play those players. They normally only saw spotty action, and spent the rest of the year in WBS. Same comment for Despres…that’s on Dan. I hate how Dan refuses to give the younger guys a look…they’ll make mistakes, COACH them. I think Dan will go, in time.

  4. cordellanderson - May 18, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    This guy has lost all journalistic integrity.

  5. sisquoc - May 18, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    I’m shocked. Shocked, I say! The Golden One actually getting the blame? And on the Nothing But Crysby’s network’s blog? Mind-boggling. You’re all usually slurping.

    • puckyouall - May 18, 2014 at 11:23 PM

      Gee, you are a great wordsmith Einstein. You can take words and make them so wordy. Genius I say, pure genius.

      • thesportsjudge - May 19, 2014 at 12:38 AM

        I will never be able to see/hear the word “wordsmith” without picturing the doctor from Arrested Development.

        “He’s going to be all right.”

  6. bcisleman - May 18, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    Sid was part of the problem but only part. Team has needed good goaltending. No surprise the teams that are left all have it.

  7. flyerspsu - May 18, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    it obviously wasnt all his fault but as the captain and best player in the world you have to expect a lot better, when you arent scoring you have to expect that player to do the little things right and at least lead in other ways, he did none of that and was more of a distraction

  8. pitpenguinsrulez - May 18, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    That’s good old Joe Starkey for ya. A typical clown from 93.7. Can’t put all the blame on Crosby. He was part of it.

    • puckyouall - May 18, 2014 at 11:27 PM

      Starkey is one of many talkers on the FAN that is a legend in his own mind. Most of them think they know it all. They talk over people all the time, especially when they are making a point that disagrees with theirs. A bunch of windbags and a ton of commercials.

    • theageofquarrel - May 19, 2014 at 6:34 AM

      93.7 The Overreaction

  9. 6superbowls - May 18, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    Take these comments for what they really are. Comments from a local “shock jock” sports talk “entertainer/tool”. I question if the guy every participated in a sport in his life, because he is typically very critical of just about every player on the Pens, Steelers, and Pirates. Rarely does this clown ever have anything positive to say about anyone, which is why I stopped listening to 93.7 The Fan over a year ago.

    • elmerbrownelmerbrown - May 18, 2014 at 4:42 PM

      People should just get use to the fact he is gonna retire with just one cup..and thats no so bad !

      • alliceishome - May 18, 2014 at 5:01 PM

        Wow, you can see the future then? What if he gets traded to your team, will you be saying that then?

      • c9castine - May 18, 2014 at 5:40 PM

        hes still 26. its reasonable to expect a guy like him to play until he is 40. atleast another 10 years though right? and in that time you know for sure, with evgeni malkin playing with him and agressive ownership and money and 3 cups in the last 25 years, that he wont win another?

        id really like to hear reasoning on that. im sure ive never heard it before.

    • pitpenguinsrulez - May 18, 2014 at 4:56 PM

      I hate 93.7 in general. That station was much more usefull when it was K-ROCK.

      • c9castine - May 18, 2014 at 5:41 PM

        its terrible. ron cook is a complete dumbas too

    • c9castine - May 18, 2014 at 5:37 PM

      yeah i like joe starkey and usually what he writes but its important to remember he is not an expert or analyst he is not one of the people who cover the penguins daily. he comments on all pittsburgh sports, and even matters aside from that. been a Pittsburgher for a long time but it doesnt mean hes all right here. if you put anybody under a microscope like crosby is under then yeah at some point youll see bad times.

      lets get real here. he was jumping on the bandwagon of pittsburgh hockey writers and commentators who are getting national attention for their articles and columns right now because of the situation.

      crosby played bad. i didnt see much whining in fact i saw the opposite for most of the playoffs. he was trying to walk away from situations but in the end his team never stuck up for him and yeah, get got frustrated.

      • 7mantel - May 18, 2014 at 6:53 PM

        Didn’t you write a few weeks ago if one of the writers from the Pittsburgh Tribune writes a story it’s usually true ?

      • c9castine - May 18, 2014 at 7:11 PM

        yeah, rob rossi specifically

      • 7mantel - May 18, 2014 at 7:49 PM

        Couldn’t remember reporters name .

    • puckyouall - May 18, 2014 at 11:30 PM

      Starkey and his partner “Mutton” are so full of themselves it’s hilarious. According to the FAN’S announcers they know it all about sports and the rest of the citizenry know nothing. Blowhards!

  10. jcmeyer10 - May 18, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

  11. crushed49 - May 18, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    I think ‘some’ people forget that hockey is TEAM sport. You win AND lose as a team!

  12. chiadam - May 18, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    Crosby stunk in the playoffs (as much as someone with 9 points in 13 games can stink), but to suggest that he was somehow trying to lose to prove a point is absurd. That’s something Joe Meatball yells at the TV while he’s watching a game.

    • theageofquarrel - May 18, 2014 at 5:40 PM

      Joe Meatball comments on here too. A LOT!!! ^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    • c9castine - May 18, 2014 at 5:43 PM

      weve got a lot of joe meatballs around here but well said.

  13. banger60 - May 18, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    barker, now that’s right there, I don’t care who ya are!

  14. robocop3999 - May 18, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    This guy a moron. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of truth into what he says: Crosby needs to stop being a baby and be more of a leader, like Toews. But to pin the entire loss on him, is Ludacris. You win as team, you lose as a team.

    • thesportsjudge - May 18, 2014 at 9:42 PM

      Ludacris, the rapper?

  15. brklynblueshirt - May 18, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    TMZ reporting after game seven loss Sidney Crosby spotted with Bieber at a Niagara hotel bar singing Celine Dion karaoke after both were denied entry into Canada by border patrol.

  16. cliffatola - May 18, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    I can’t stand the Penguins but this isn’t all on Crosby. They did the right thing in firing Shero, since he has done zero to develop any sort of talent on offense in the last few seasons and the players that they have tried Vitale, Gibbons and others are all too small to be everyday players in the NHL these days. They would have lost Staal regardless because he wanted to play with his brother so the return of Sutter and Dumoulin was a solid move but that is his most recent one that I can recall. Crosby and Malkin are tremendous talents and the league is better for having them play in it but the Rangers played them perfectly, took Crosby and Malkin out of the game as best as they could and made the Pens beat them with their supporting cast and they certainly were not up to the task. Fleury will be gone by the trade deadline next season but the new GM will ultimately decide fate. Other teams have figured out Bylsma so he is on a short leash, very short but ultimately the problem was Shero for all of the positives that Letang brings his contract is going to be a killer for them you can’t have three of the top 16 cap hits in the NHL and expect to be able to balance their roster out it just won’t work. They have about 16m in cap space right now and over a dozen free agents heading into the offseason, that is on the management not the players, good luck Pens fans you are going to need it.

    • kaptaanamerica - May 19, 2014 at 12:39 AM

      The only way to resolve the cap issue is trading either Crosby or Malkin. No one is taking on Letang with his term, salary, injury history and mostly one dimensional play.

      Of Crosby and Malkin, Crosby is the player to trade based on his injury history, and potential return. I would imagine the Pens would get a huge haul back for him. The haul would set the Pens up for years and undo the damage of the Shero years.

      Frankly, if the Canucks had been smart they would have traded guys like Edler, Schneider, at their highest value. They wouldn’t be in the mess they’re in right now, which is pretty much where the Pens find themselves, except the Canucks don’t have 3 guys tying up a huge chunk of cap space. They’ve got a good portion of the roster signed to reasonable contracts. When the Sedins bounce back this year they should trade them as a package to Buffalo, Florida, or NYI for a haul.

      • hockey412 - May 19, 2014 at 8:50 AM

        The cap will continue to rise. Might be a little bit of an issue this year (I certainly think they can piece together a good roster with all of them, but would trade Neal to free up $5M), but you don’t trade generational talent as a band-aid – the wound will heal itself after this season.

  17. penguins87and71 - May 18, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    Yes a lot of blame should be put on Sidney Crosby for not showing up, for not being a leader, and for moping around. This is a team sport and everyone needs to be criticized, not just Sidney Crosby.

  18. blackhawks2010 - May 18, 2014 at 7:41 PM

    Crosby is an inflated, overrated, overhyped media creation. Sid has no leadership skill nor credibility with the team. Another year means another early exit. Malkin is the best player, he should make a move and go to a Cup Contender.

  19. cheggy1731 - May 18, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    Crosby is not the greatest player. Regular season stats are ok but playoffs separates the men from the boys. My Blackhawks have a heat leader in Toews. Sidney, didn’t you learn anything from him at the Olympics?

    • thesportsjudge - May 18, 2014 at 9:44 PM

      Your Blackhawks, since 2010, excluding 2011, right?

    • c9castine - May 18, 2014 at 9:53 PM

      who was wearing the C at the olympics?

      • bigbenrapedhinesward - May 18, 2014 at 10:02 PM

        What a dumbAZZ comment. Toews has more than the required track record. Crosby=best player, Toews=best leader in hockey by far. Check the track record and that Babcock had Crosby call Jonathan to make sure it was aight as Toews was selected initially

      • c9castine - May 18, 2014 at 10:42 PM

        it wasnt a comment, it was a question.

        babcock didnt have crosby do anything.

        track record is fairly even.

      • broadstreetbeatdown - May 18, 2014 at 10:28 PM

        The guy who should not have been wearing the C. Toews should of been the captain he exhibits leadership every game.

      • c9castine - May 18, 2014 at 10:42 PM

        what is the evidence that he shouldnt have been wearing the C?

        their horrible finish in the tournament?

      • broadstreetbeatdown - May 19, 2014 at 9:43 AM

        No help from Crosby thats for sure. Just face it dude, Crosby is a regular season champ who has disappeared in the playoffs the past several years. He lacks maturity, leadership and discipline. Toews exhibits all the qualities of a real captain.

      • c9castine - May 19, 2014 at 12:36 PM

        “toews exhibits all the qualities of a real captain. ”

        you said something worthwhile in that post anyway…ill give him a pass on his penalty box temper tantrum he threw last year before brent seabrook came to calm him down.

        remember folks. jonathon toews scored 3 goals in the playoffs last year. he had only 14 points in 23 games played. he has less than a point per game scored in the playoffs as well as his regular seasons.

        bothing you guys say has any credence to it whatsoever. toews went 11 games without scoring in the playoffs last year…longer than crosby went this year.

        they are both great players, great captains. toews team has been better built to win for the last few years…its as simple as that. stronger goaltending year by year, better defense, deeper offense and a tougher bottom 6.

        you guys talk yourselves in circles all day long.

      • broadstreetbeatdown - May 19, 2014 at 4:58 PM

        Both are great players but only one is a great captain. You cite one specific example of Toews losing his cool. Every player loses it once in awhile, not an issue. The problem with Crosby is that he consistently throws tantrums and has personality issues that manifest when the Pens have their backs against the wall. Instead of bearing down and leading by example he is content with sulking, throwing hissy fits, arguing with coaches and engaging in general on ice shenanigans.
        It has very little to do with his lack of goal scoring so I’m not sure why you even bring up the scoring comparison.
        This has little to do with point and everything to do with Crosby’s toxic attitude.

      • c9castine - May 19, 2014 at 5:20 PM

        making more stuff up.

        none of that has any base in reality. none.

      • broadstreetbeatdown - May 19, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        Yeah OK. You do realize Crosby’s antics are video recorded and on display for all to see. Now that is reality amigo.

  20. slysipops - May 18, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    how about a straight up trade with the CANUCKS ……. CINDY for the TWINS ??

    • kaptaanamerica - May 19, 2014 at 12:45 AM

      That would solve a few issues on the Pens. You’d have Crosby basically split into two players, the goal scorer and the assist machine. Torts really was a lead weight on those two players this year and this deal would work only if they bounce back this season.

      Kesler/ Bieksa could be given the C and Crosby would just have to play and not worry about leading the team.

  21. bigbenrapedhinesward - May 18, 2014 at 9:21 PM

    Foolish to put it all on one guy, he definitely seemed to regress as the playoffs wore on but not due to his own stat sheet. The build of the team is wrong and to watch the same season finale must be tough year after year especially for one of the greatest competitors in the sport. Even if he was hurt he wouldn’t put his “poor” play on a crutch, much respect for that. He’d seen the same episode too many times and I can feel for a guy knowing the team had the talent, just the coach didn’t. I’m a die hard philly fan but still can’t get all the criticism… What exactly did Malkin “the best player according to internet dummies” do that was so far superior, even as a leader, he does wear an A. Still agree they need to move one if letting can’t be moved. Still enjoying commenting on a post that regards an analyst with nothing better to do with his time now that his team is out of the tournament.

    • stakex - May 18, 2014 at 9:28 PM

      Of course one guy isn’t completely responsible. However you seem to forget just how awful Crosby’s leadership ability was over the last three games. He played like the games didn’t matter, and spent more time mopping around and whining to the refs than he did trying to win the game. When he’s suppose to be the heart and soul of the team, that’s kind of a huge problem.

      Malkins stat sheet might not look much better, but he at least put forward the effort. When he touched the puck, I actually feared something might happen…. not so much when Crosby had it.

  22. stakex - May 18, 2014 at 9:24 PM

    Obviously there is plenty of blame to go around, but there is little doubt Crosby deserves a significant amount of it. He’s suppose to be a great leader, and the best player in the world…. and when things are going fine, he is. However Crosby has shown time and again that when things get tough, he has a very hard time handling it and his leadership ability all but vanishes. This was less apparent a few years ago because the Pens were a better team, and there were far less “bad” times for the Pens, but its been an issue his entire career.

    It should be noted that if Ovechkin ever played as bad as Crosby did this year in the playoffs, the amount of articles trashing him and calling him a terrible leader would be 100x greater than we have seen with Crosby. Double standard much?

    • bigbenrapedhinesward - May 18, 2014 at 9:54 PM

      I definitely agree with the ovechkin side of your part, except that ovi and his goals didn’t take his team to the playoffs so it’s a moot point. I’ve felt ovechkin has gotten his unfair share of questions regarding his leadership as I’ve never viewed him to be a leader, more so a federov type that’s fine without the burden. What in your opinion was the biggest fault in the penguins game for this years playoffs?

    • c9castine - May 18, 2014 at 9:57 PM

      i love when people write this stuff just by saying “hes a bad leader”

      its easy to say because his team doesnt win or doesnt score a ton of points.

      but why exactly is he a bad leader? what makes him any worse the zdeno chara or 28 other captains? hes captained a stanley cup team and a olympic gold medal team just a few months ago. hes scored big goals in big moments throughout his career.

      ovechkin plays as bad as crosby did in the playoffs all the damn time and gets trashed on it all the time. what are you talking about double standard? has there not been enough articles and talk about crosby for you??

      • bigbenrapedhinesward - May 18, 2014 at 10:10 PM

        Capitals made the mistake of choosing a captain based on highest salary and points as opposed to leadership skill or it would’ve been brooks.

      • whammy71 - May 19, 2014 at 8:25 AM

        Sid was a Cup Captain in name only. He readily admitted after the 2009 Cup that he deferred to Billy G in the locker room and looked to him for leadership. From an on ice prosepctive, Malkin out played him in 3 of the 4 series. And Sid couldn’t even finish game 7…after he got a little boo boo on his knee.

        Olympics….there were probably 6 or 8 other Captains on that team and countless players that wear an A in the NHL. Not a hard group to lead. Wearing the C for Canada is like being the Queen of England…more of a ceremony, than a signature of power.

      • c9castine - May 19, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        yeah right dude.

        id like to see where he said that hahaha….

        your just straight making stuff up. all of that was complete crap.

  23. chrisk61 - May 18, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    haven’t the pens lost three gm 7’s AT HOME in the last 5 yrs ?

    the team simply lacks heart and character. and crosby is the poster boy for the lack of these traits. malkin was much more noticeable in the playoffs. crosby was pretty much a non-factor in the playoffs. and pitt should be happy they faced a relatively uncompetitive columbus in the 1st rd too.

    crosby and fleury are the issues. they should both be jettisoned. but then if you build around malkin, that is a risk, because the russians can’t be trusted to lead an nhl team.

    • bigbenrapedhinesward - May 18, 2014 at 10:13 PM

      … Should be a gimme that fleury should be gone, classic case of good in the season sieve when it counts, makes me laugh to think people in Vancouver were all over luongo. Put him on pit instead and the second ring would be there. Fleury is a cupcake.

      • puckyouall - May 19, 2014 at 12:18 AM

        Guy only gave up 15 goals in 7 games, one was an empty netter and five were given up in one game.

  24. kastout11 - May 19, 2014 at 8:21 AM

    Maybe, people could just give some credit to the Rangers defense and stop blaming Crosby. The Penguins have no depth and does Crosby really have to score in order for them to win. He busted his butt, he just didn’t score. The same thing happened to Giroux in the first round, and Nash isn’t scoring either.

  25. kastout11 - May 19, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    I understand what bigbenrapedhinesward is talking about. I comprare it to the Edmonton days when Gretzky was clearly the best player in the world, but Messier was the better leader. Gretzky still wore the C, but Messier was the better leader, possibly the best leader of my lifetime.

  26. tsi431 - May 19, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    Martin St. Louis 10 points in 15 games
    Rick Nash 7 points in 15 games played
    Ryan McDonagh 7 points in 15 games

    I guess Crosby’s 9 points don’t look too bad now. These guys still advanced with worse ppg numbers. The authors logic is flawed.

  27. cheggy1731 - May 19, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    @sportsjudge … NO .. I’ve committed to the Indianhead since 1969 .. been through all bad & good times.

  28. djshnooks - May 19, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    When you’re the best player in the world at your sport…you’re supposed to win.

    Crosby failed to do so…End of story.

  29. everyonesuksbutme - May 19, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    My t-shirt says – CROSBY SUCKS!! Haha

  30. babykaby - May 20, 2014 at 7:39 PM

    Karma is a bi.ch. Everything Pens fans said about Ovi is now being said about Sid. Not a leader, doesn’t show up, blah, blah, blah. Now all of a sudden Pens fans are saying it is a team sport and you can’t just blame one guy, while they had no problem just blaming Ovechkin. It always comes back to bite you. Be careful what you say about Sid, Hawks fans, Before long people might be saying the same thing about Toews. Shut up and just enjoy what you have while everything is going good. Ole Karma, she can really put a hurtin on ya.

  31. momegina - May 21, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    NYR Pushed The Golden Boy The Face if The
    NHL The Supposed Best Player in The World
    Into a MEGA Epic Meltdown leading to Sid
    Singlehandly leading his Team down a Slippery
    Slope with The Hope of NO Return..
    Cindi Speared Whined Pouted Threw Temper
    Tantrum Punched Rag Player Then
    Quickly skated and hid behind Ref while Kunitz
    Fought his battle. Then this Punk Coward
    Contined to mouth off at 6’6” Brian Boyle
    While hiding behind ref..
    The NO Show 12 Million $ a year Capt Showed
    His TRUE Colors that his Fans CAN’T Deny
    The TIME for Honoring him is OVER
    His Reign is ENDED :)

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