After the Penguins defeated the Rangers 2-0 in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead, that wasn’t the only hot topic. Some Pittsburgh media were up in arms over an undetected Marc Staal crosscheck on star forward Sidney Crosby.
The play in question came during a stoppage in the first period when Staal caught the Hart frontrunner in the back and neck area with a two hander. The video can be found via Pens Initiative. NBC’s Pierre McGuire actually dismissed it referencing it as “old time hockey.” This was common in the old days before concussions were well known. In a league that emphasizes protecting its players, you can understand why Pens press and fans are upset.
Interestingly, Crosby didn’t complain about it. Even with whiny Tri Sports Live columnist Dejean Kovacevic charging Staal with assault, the Penguins captain let him off the hook.
“He’s pretty good like that,” Crosby said, initially joking a bit as he spoke. “He can be sneaky. It’s not the first time.”
Perhaps he realized he got the best revenge victimizing Staal for his first postseason goal in 13 games. Don’t forget Crosby and Staal are close. Both have teamed up winning Olympic gold for Canada in 2010. They each have overcome concussions which sidelined them long periods.
Was it bad? Sure. That it wasn’t detected by either ref is hideous. But that’s the norm in a league where they tend to look for more holds and hooks. Should Staal face discipline? If it’s reviewed, he should get at least a fine. But suspension? I doubt it. Though you never can put anything past the league.