Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It's always whiny in Philadelphia

It's no secret that, despite his tremendous talent at hockey-playing, Sidney Crosby is not my favourite person in the NHL.
(Everyone at Hockey Night In Canada just wept upon reading that sentence.)

Why? There are many reasons, actually, but right now it's because he is a child. No, really, he is. I'm barely two months older than Crosby, on the cusp of turning 25, and have probably accomplished a lot less than he has, but I feel like I'm so much more grown-up than he is.
If anything about Sunday's Penguins-Flyers game will stick in my memory more than the two dozen fights or sixty-five goals scored, it'll be Crosby's post-game comment: "I don't like any guy on their team."

That kind of comment can be attributed to many things. Anger? Petulance? Playoff bravado? Honesty? Or desire for more attention than he already has? Maybe it's just good old-fashioned complaining. Wherever that comment came from doesn't really change the fact that it made me angry.

Here's the thing: I should agree with Crosby, because I don't really like any of the Flyers either. Except for the ones who used to be Kings. And Ilya Bryzgalov. And Sean Couturier. And Jakub Voracek. (Blame Czechtacular for those last three.) Actually, the Flyers I like are part of the reason why the team has looked so good in the playoffs: they're not just a bunch of bruisers anymore. They're playing faster, smarter, more dimensional hockey than they were when I first started watching the sport. And yet, the Penguins feel as though they're being bullied worse than ever and feel the need to retaliate tenfold. So, which team comes off looking more goonish? The Penguins. Yes, really. I was more concerned for the Flyers' safety during yesterday's game than I was for the team playing the Flyers. If I had worried about the Penguins, I would still feel awkward about it because they basically brought this upon themselves, and their captain not only took part in it, but tried to continue the drama after the game ended. Yes, the same captain who is forever heralded as a "nice guy." And who was sidelined for a year because he was the victim of on-ice violence.

I suppose I should commend him for not shying away from a fight as is he sometimes tends to do, but that would mean that I was condoning violence. But a team's captain shouldn't just go after a player on a rival team no matter how intense the rivalry is, or how much symbolism he's creating in fighting Claude Giroux, who is (gasp!) scoring goals and selling jerseys.

Oh, and Penguins? You also shouldn't do this:

Or this:

Or this:
I mean, seriously, hair-pulling? Not even the Flyers would stoop that low. (Maybe the Bruins would.) I haven't seen someone pull someone else's hair out of anger since elementary school. This is further proof that the Penguins' captain needs to grow up and remind his team to stop acting like the Real Housewives of Pennsylvania and start playing some real hockey, because they sure as hell know how.

Bring on Game 4. It might be childish (erm, Crosby-esque?) of me to choose sides, but I'm hoping Philly takes it.

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