I am sure that 98% of you saw what happened in Game 3 between Pittsburgh and Washington on Monday night. If you did not see the collision live, you likely saw the video replay somewhere.
If you are among the 2% that missed the Niskanen-Crosby collision, here is the replay:
As I examine this play, this is an example of something that is considered “bang-bang.” What I mean is that this play and collision happens within a matter of split-seconds. It is something that happens very quick, sometimes even before one can even react to it.
On this play, Matt Niskanen is assessed a 5-minute major and a game misconduct. Unfortunately for Sidney Crosby, he is thrown off balance cutting towards the net after he took a couple of whacks from Alex Ovechkin. When Crosby lost his balance, he slid awkwardly down, and ended up colliding into Niskanen. In fairness to Niskanen, he is trying to prevent Crosby from cutting to the middle, and he is trying to prevent him from getting a shot on net.
There is no malicious shove in this play by Niskanen. If you watch Niskanen closely on the play, he is putting his hands up at the very last second to protect himself from the collision with Crosby. There is nothing predatory about this hit and it did not deserve a 5-minute major or game misconduct. If it deserved anything, it could have been 2 minutes for interference. I seriously doubt that Matt Niskanen would intentionally attempt to harm a former teammate of his.
Depending on the officiating crew, the refs could have handed Alex Ovechkin 2 minutes for slashing on this play, too. Alex was beat to the net and he did take a couple of whacks at Crosby as he cut to the net. In my estimation, this play could have seen 2 minor penalties at most. However, there should have been no major penalty or game misconduct handed out.
INTENSE RIVALRIES SPARK MEDIA CONTROVERSIES
We live in a world today where anyone can get online and write anything that they want so the public can view it.
After Game 3, Barry Trotz got into a disagreement during the postgame interview with Pittsburgh reporter Rob Rossi of Upgruv over the Niskanen/Crosby collision.
Rossi also wrote an article calling for Alex Ovechkin to be suspended. In the article, Rossi suggested that the Capitals planned to take out Sidney Crosby during their players’ only meeting after Game 2. When one reads Rossi’s article, one can feel the bad blood and vengeance spewing from it. It is as if there is a personal vendetta against Alex Ovechkin, Barry Trotz, and the Washington Capitals organization.
I do not know Rob Rossi personally, but I do know that he is popular public figure in Pittsburgh. I am not going to bash the man publicly, because he could be a very nice person, and I will not bash people I do not know personally.
The only thing I am going to say is that if a writer is going to declare that players colluded to take a player out in an article, there better be factual evidence that supports the claim. The last time I checked, every single media member that was at Verizon Center had to wait until after the players’ only meeting to finish before they could conduct player interviews. There were no reporters present during the players’ only meeting. It is a bold claim to say that players decided to take it upon themselves to take out an opposing player and injure him. I have never heard of such a thing in any professional sport.
It is disappointing to see what happened to Sidney Crosby. Concussions are no joke and he has already had his fair share of them in his NHL career. Whether you like or dislike Crosby, no one should want to see a player’s career cut short. No one should assume that players want to intentionally harm one another, and try to cut someone’s career short. At the end of the day, these athletes are people first, and they are professionals second. A sports competition can be decided without unnecessary violence.
By: George Foussekis