Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Stanley Cup Finals and Sidney's 'Snub'

So, this piece is going to be very unpolished and stream-of-consciousness, but anyways. Two days after the finish to the Stanley Cup Finals, Sidney Crosby has won his first cup, leading his Penguins over the Red Wings in seven games. Credit to both teams; everybody played hard, and left it all on the ice. Except, maybe, Kris Draper.

After the clock wound out at the end of game 7, standard raucous celebration and dogpiling ensued on the part of the Penguins. No biggie there, I don't think. Handshakes came shortly after, Detroit lined up, and both teams went through the handshake line. Unfortunately, Crosby was evidently slow to the party, and Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom had already left the ice by the time Crosby had fought his way through the masses of reporters, microphones, and cameras. He did manage to shake hands with some of the Wings' players and key staff, but many had already left.

So here's where it gets fuzzy. Did Crosby intentionally snub the Red Wings in the handshake line out of malice or arrogance? Not likely, I don't think. Crosby, frequently accused of being a whiner, is probably one of the more respectful and respectable players in the NHL. Maybe the Red Wings were in a hurry to get off the ice afterwards? I don't know. Might be, might not. Regardless, this snap from Draper has me seething a bit:

Nick was waiting and waiting, and Crosby didn't come over to shake his hand...That's ridiculous, especially as their captain, and make sure you write that I said that! (Associated Press)
My (very, VERY blunt) opinion? Draper's being unnecessarily butt-hurt and making a mountain out of a molehill. I'll openly admit, I didn't pay much attention to how long the whole thing took, and how long the Wings waited on the ice (supposedly, not very; I wasn't keeping track). But considering Crosby would've had to fight through and likely knock over at least five dozen people with cameras and microphones, I don't think he should be terribly surprised or offended that he was a little late to the line.

Regrettably, the Crosby haters seem to be out in full force after this snit, and want to call him out for being classless, snobbish, whatever. They need to take a look at the situation here; he's a KID. He's not even 22 years old yet, and just led his team to a Stanley Cup. Life's dream. A billion different emotions at once. A hiccup in following protocol. That's all that happened. He's not snubbing anyone, he's not being a prima donna, he's not doing anything they might think he is, I don't believe.

Hate all you want; Sidney Crosby now has his name on the Cup. Miserable that a great series, and probably the best playoffs I've watched in years, has to wrap up with this, of all things. I don't believe for a second that this was a snub, particularly how Crosby is not only the face of the franchise, but of the entire NHL. He was late; that's it. Of course, nothing I say will stop the haters from hating, but it has to be said.

Let him have his night, Kris. You've already had four.