Sidney Crosby, as expected, participated in today’s morning skate and while Crosby stressed afterwards he is injured, claiming he probably would not have played tonight if he was permitted by the league, Crosby will travel with the team to Washington and remains a good bet to be in the lineup tomorrow night vs Washington.
Anyone other than those who are in Penguins backpocket really believe Crosby wouldn’t play tonight if he was allowed?
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet in his Weekly “30 Thoughts” feature says some NHL All-Stars weren’t buying Crosby’s lower body injury as the primary reason he skipped out on the weekend.
“A few of the all-stars admitted it surprised them, since he came when injured before the 2009 event in Montreal and handles meet-and-greets so well,” Friedman wrote of Crosby’s absence. “They suspected it may have had to do with his not being selected as one of the draft captains. Don’t know if Crosby was upset, or it was someone from the Penguins or his entourage, but it caught the NHL and NHLPA by surprise. They had no idea. Think about it: announcement he won’t be there, followed less than 24 hours later by a detailed explanation of his injury? Didn’t add up to the players.”
I’m told Crosby withdrawing from the game certainly caught the Penguins coaching staff by surprise as they learned about it with everyone else. To know surprise there’s some talk that Crosby’s father Troy was in his ear to skip, so players believing he was upset about not being named captain could have some validity.
A league source said over the weekend that when a player is playing through an injury and is considering dropping out of the game, the team normally contacts the league several days in advance of the possibility to warn them. The Penguins never gave the league any inkling until late Thursday afternoon to tell them Crosby was withdrawing from the game which is why they were so surprised.
If Crosby truly skipped because of something petty like not being named captain, than he’s letting his teammates, coaches down for tonight by pretty much accepting what is a one game suspension.