May 18, 2014, 3:16 PM EST
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.
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