Sidney Crosby Gets Special Treament

in Game Five of the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Final at PPG PAINTS Arena on June 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Sidney Crosby gets special treatment. This statement should not come as a surprise to anyone who watches NHL hockey on the regular. Fans of the Pittsburgh Penguins captain defend it as he is the “best player in the world.” However, that should not make a difference when a player plays dirty. As a baseball writer, I watched the Washington Nationals lose their best player for three games for throwing punches at a pitcher who beaned him.

Crosby’s Special Treatment

Spearing of O’Reilley

On March 21, 2017, against the Buffalo Sabres, Crosby speared Ryan O’Reilley in the cup to take him out of the play. The referee didn’t see it, and the laughable “NHL Player Safety” division under Stéphane Quintal did not review the spear. It’s an obvious intentional strike, but the league did not issue any punishment to Crosby. This is compared to Brad Marchand receiving a two game suspension and a $109,756.10 fine for a similar spear to Jake Dotchin, and Leon Draisitl receiving a $2,569.44 fine for his spear on Chris Tierney. Both Marchand and Draistil took a Game Misconduct for their spears. Crosby, being much smarter about it, did it outside of the view of the referee.

Crosschecking Subban’s Head Into the Ice

However, the issue of Crosby getting special treatment from the league means he gets bolder with how he behaves. In last night’s Stanley Cup Finals Game 5, Crosby really hit the bottom of the well of acceptable play. In the last two minutes of the First Period, P.K. Subban missed a check on Crosby behind the Pittsburgh net. Crosby took Subban to the ice, and bounced Subban’s head into the ice five times before getting up. Referee Brad Meier stood next to the scrum and when Subban was able to get up, he gave the two players matching minors. Referee’s miss penalties. It happens, but it is the responsibility of the referees and the league office to protect the players, even from the antics of Crosby. Before the NBC announcer declared the call as matching minors, I was sure that it was 2:00 to Crosby for roughing and either a Misconduct or a Game Misconduct for striking a defenseless opponent. But because it was Crosby, it was a no call.

Throwing a Water Bottle

To further show his class as a player, while being up four-nothing, Crosby throws his water bottle onto the ice while the play was in transition from the Nashville zone past the Pittsburgh bench. Phil Kessel scored on the ensuing transition, making it a 5-0 game. Except, when a foreign object is on the ice the game is supposed to stop. And throwing something from the bench should be a bench penalty by rule. He told the referees and the press afterwards that the bottle slipped out of his hand, but even so it should have been 2 minutes for unsportsmanlike behavior. Yet it was Crosby.

He is treated special by the league and the referees, and it’s not good for the game. By not taking on ice action, the league has told him he can do what he wants. The concept of the league taking off-ice discipline towards the Pittsburgh captain is about as likely as me finding a gold brick in the mail today – I’d like for it to happen, but it’s not going to.

Mike Milbury‘s Unacceptable Reponse

More troubling than the league not taking action, is the commentary by NBC Commentator Mike Milbury during the first intermission. Saying that Subban deserved to have his head knocked into the ice five times is unacceptable. Milbury is an old time hockey guy, and that statement can stand for a lot in the situation with Subban. However, I do not envy any fathers this morning who were forced to explain that cross-checking an opponent’s head into the ice while in full mount is bad. I expect (most likely in vain) Milbury to face some sort of discipline from the Network for his comments.

This article was contributed by Last Word On Baseball writer Dave Mitchner. You can find his work and others on the LWOB site

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  1. I’m afraid you don’t know what a cross-check is.

    Subban was holding Sid’s stick, which prevented Sid from getting up and getting back into the play. Sid’s stick is parallel to Subban, and in his grasp. Sid has the butt-end. A cross-check to the head (or any other cross-check) would be impossible. Sid did push PK’s head into the ice a few times there, but did not cross-check.

    I hope the fathers out there didn’t spend too much time explaining a cross-check that didn’t happen.

  2. Go back to writing about baseball. Special treatment? Go look at all the abuse he took in the Columbis series or the eye coaching or cross checking to the chin in the Ottawa series. Check out Subban’s cross check to the back of the head in game 2 of this series. The slashing on the back of his legs, across his wrists. Special treatment? None of those are called. Why do sports writers feel they should write about all sports when they don’t have a grasp for the game? Know one or two sports well and stick to those.

  3. I guess you missed the montage the NBCSports broadcast did earlier in the series showing the abuse Crosby was taking. If there is any “special treatment”, it is the officials turning a blind eye to his muggings.


  5. That little bitch Bryce Harper had it coming. Stand there and admire your home runs like a jack ass and you are going to get beaned. The Nationals and Capitals are great regular season teams that can’t win in the post season. Get over your bias. Where is your article about Colton Sissons getting special treatment after he actually cross checked Olli Maatta in the face.

  6. You have no hockey understanding, no hockey knowledge, and clearly no hockey history to speak of. Please shut up and report on other sports. The “facts” you present are so stupid it’s embarrassing…for you. I’m embarrassed for you, really. If you want to do some real work, go research all the current players and make a list of who takes the most physical attacks in relation to dishing out physical attacks. Crosby is by a large margin the most physically attacked player and still manages to be the best in the world. Do your homework please.

  7. Wow. Just another Penguins hater writing a crap piece journalism where he tries to relate one hockey play with a totally different play to try and show something that’s not there. Jealousy is an evil thing if you allow it to control your actions.
    Crosby is the best player in the league. Ask any player, they’ll tell you the same thing. Watch the videos of all the cheap shots all the star players take from goon defensive players. It’s not just Crosby that gets the shaft every time he steps on the ice.
    But you chose to single out one player and try to highlight 3 things you think he got away with. It’s ok. You’re allowed to have a stupid sense reality. After all, you need people to read your crap so you can keep your job. Crosby’s an easy target. Let’s not target the cheap shots all the star players take because that may not get as many clicks.

  8. Yeah, you definitely should stick to writing about baseball. I bet you couldn’t tell me how many of Crosby’s concussions were the result of cheap shots that went unpenalized. I’ll help you out, the answer is ALL OF THEM!!
    Did you miss all of the punches, cross checks, and holding that Subban has perpetrated during this series? I’ll bet you did. But you just go on telling us how dirty a player Crosby is for dishing out a little of what he gets on a nightly basis.

  9. Sidney Crosby gets beat on constantly and more than half the time the refs turn their heads. He gets treated unfairly constantly, and the second he defends himself or fights back he’s a dirty player with special treatment. Haters are gonna hate. And I laughed my was off at the cross checking a player’s head comment that was made in this article.

  10. Any other player would have had a penalty on both the subban play and the waterbottle toss. I don’t see how anyone can really argue this.

  11. Yeah, he gets special treatment alright, cross checks, sprayed with water bottles, interfered with, and slashed without getting a call. He may not have scored, but he was in on practically every play and was virtually unstoppable. Suban was holding on to his leg since it was the only way he could think of to slow Crosby down.

    • Slamming people heads into the ice (coincidental minor)

      Slash someone’s finger off (no penalty)

      Throw a tantrum on the bench and throw a water bottle on the ice during play (no call).

  12. Good for Crosby for giving a little back.He takes the most abuse of any player in the league since his first NHL game in Philly.And most often the refs turn a blind eye.Do your homework and know your subject before making post that embarrass you. His concussions we all from dirty plays and no suspensions.And the list goes on. You,are just trying to get an edge dor the whiney Preds coach and team. That is pretty transparent. Gope it comes back to bite you where moma doesn’t put. The cookies. Subban is a dirty player and gets away with it too often.

  13. As long as the NHL has separate rules for the regular season and playoffs and even for players, they can never be taken seriously.
    If Refs are too afraid to make a call, then why are they even there? Crosby should have received an extra penalty on the play. Only Pens fans would argue otherwise. Take the fandom out of it and look objectively.
    If they want to seriously limit head injuries, then maybe something like this should be looked at. Crosby likes to dish as much as he gets, its part of the reason he has been injured so much. He doesn’t shy away from the dirty areas. Its good because he isn’t afraid to get ‘dirty’ and bad because he exposes himself to more contact than he should, but this was over the line, reverse the roles and ppl would have LOST THEIR MINDS.
    Its interesting to see all these hockey fans writing someone off because they write about baseball, as if people can enjoy or know about more than one sport. And if he doesn’t know a lot about hockey, this is how causal or non fans see this stuff. You want hockey to get more popular, maybe pay attention what is turning people off.
    Also someone should go into the NBC studios and beat Milburry with a shoe.

  14. Keep writing about baseball. You are obviously a Preds fan. Calls missed through all of the playoffs and your going to say Crosby gets special treatment. Also, if he was throwing it at the player I would say he would have hit him.

  15. You kind of ignore the other special treatment Crosby gets. Earlier in the game with your picture and lack of realization that Subban had a death hold on Crosby’s stick and wouldn’t let go, Subban took several punches to the back of Crosby’s head as Sid was going to the bench. Not called. Not punished. Marc Staal’s two blatant stick shots to Crosby’s head in the playoffs a few years back that the league wouldn’t even look at. The general method of defending Crosby by blatantly holding/hooking/interfering that is never called, but would be getting screams if done to someone else.


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