Don’t let that little front-office earthquake distract you from the primary reason the Penguins are not participating in the Eastern Conference final.
The primary reason is Sidney Crosby, whose leadership never has been more in question.
If you didn’t know better, you’d be looking for blood on Crosby’s hands in the wake of Ray Shero’s beheading and the pending demise of Dan Bylsma. You’d think he tried to orchestrate the palace coup.
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.
Jesus Christ. This is a screed which I’m very much enjoying. Let’s grab a soda and keep going, because Starkey’s piece doesn’t just stop with Sid’s performance. No, no. It takes aim at his leadership in much the same way people took aim at Giroux’s leadership last fall:
One thing we never heard from Crosby during these playoffs was an unprompted, unqualified statement of personal responsibility.
A leader’s first commandment is to personally and publicly accept blame even when he is not at fault but especially when he is. It tends to play well in locker rooms.
But in the midst of his hideous playoff, Crosby never said anything like this: “Put it on me. I’m the captain. I’m not getting it done.”
Instead, the best he could muster after his wretched Game 2 against Columbus was, “We’ve got to be better.”
On locker clean-out day, a defensive Crosby said, “Obviously, I would have liked to score more and contribute more. But it wasn’t from a lack of effort.”
OK. But when I watched Game 7, I couldn’t help but notice that Malkin practically poured his soul onto the ice while Crosby often skirted the perimeter.
Did it look to you like Crosby brought every ounce of his hockey being to Game 7?
I don’t know, Joe– we’d need to know how much Sid’s hockey being weighs to determine that. But that’s not the point. The point is they’re turning on Crosby in Pittsburgh, and it’s fun.