Sidney Crosby Drops The Gloves. Penguins Continue To Drop The Ball.

Sidney Crosby. In the big picture, he’s the best hockey player on the planet. At the current moment, Crosby isn’t even the best player in the NHL. To people who only care about stats, you know… morons, he’s still having a phenomenal season. When he does register a point, he’s averaging almost 2 points per game at 1.93. To people that know stats are only the result and can be weaved to tell just about any narrative you want them to, they don’t tell the actual story as to how the stats came to be… and that is what matters. That’s true analysis. Taking the facts and in-game details, and pairing them with the result to deliver the actual story, instead of the one that’s easiest to spin.

Sidney Crosby, by the standards of a hockey player unanimously considered the best hockey player in the world, is in a bad way. It’s all between the ears and no matter what anyone says, this video is all the evidence you need to know that it’s gotten so bad, it’s impacting his decision making.

Sidney Crosby squares off with Brandon Dubinsky.

First off, because there’s quite a few, lets list all the reasons why Sidney Crosby made an awful decision to drop the gloves.

Remember the guy who seemed to be off his game in the 2014 playoffs then came clean in the off-season about playing with an injured wrist? That was Sidney Crosby. The same guy who threw fists of rage last night which are quite attached to those very same wrists. Not to mention how important his hands are and how important it is they continue to remain unbroken. How can you get out of a funk when you can’t even grip a stick?

Remember the guy who’s jawline is now basically made up of metal plates, gears, screws, nuts, bolts and fake teeth? That again is Sidney Crosby, who must have forgot that getting punched in the head and face is the primary objective to his knuckle-shuffle adversary.

Oh, and speaking of the head… Remember the guy who was out for an entire calendar year with a concussion and broken vertebrae just a few short seasons ago? Wouldn’t you know it? That was Sidney Crosby too!!! Maybe getting involved in a situation where the goal is to target the head, isn’t in his best interest?

The fact is, Sidney Crosby made a really bad decision for himself and is very lucky he made it out of that fight without any bigger repercussions than a few minutes in the penalty box.

Say what you will about why Crosby fought: He was being a leader. He wanted to inspire his team. He wanted to shake up the game. Dubinsky has been asking for it since last year’s playoffs. – It’s all off base. This is not 2009, Crosby isn’t Max Talbot, it’s the stars that need a jump; not the team, and the Penguins are nowhere close winning a Stanley Cup the way things are going right now. Crosby fighting didn’t even inspire the team for the remainder of the game, let alone help pull them out of this funk. And if Sid really just got tired of Dubinsky laying into him since the playoffs last year, dropping the gloves was a clear sign of Crosby admitting, “I don’t have it in me right now to do what really hurts you, scoring, so here’s me taking the much, MUCH easier route. I’ll just fight you and risk the rest of my season for this.”

Sidney Crosby did what is completely uncharacteristic of himself and tried to take the easy way out, but to no avail. The Penguins still lost the game late in the third period and the team led by their stars, are still in a steady downhill slide in the Metropolitan division.

The problem is this… If a team has three stars and they pay those 3 stars with a true star’s salary, in a salary cap league, those stars have no other option but to put up star-like numbers or the result is what we’re seeing right now with the Penguins. A team in trouble, both on the scoreboard and with the cap ceiling, with very few options other than to hope those stars turn it around. Kris Letang is playing Norris Trophy caliber. Marc Andre Fleury is showing brilliance in net and consistently keeping the team in it. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin need to find a way to play to the level of value their salaries demand.

Coaching is not without blame here either. Johnston needs to say what everyone already knows, “This lineup isn’t working”. Move Kunitz down on Malkin’s wing. Let Perron slide to the left side and play his natural position. Bring Hornqvist up to the 1st line. The fact that the Penguins have resorted to splitting Crosby and Malkin up on the powerplay but haven’t put that lineup in place, is borderline comedic.

With so little options available to the Penguins due to level of faith and money placed in the performances of Crosby and Malkin, there’s very little left to say. Leaders lead by giving what is needed at the times when it’s needed most. Line changes or no, Sid and Geno need to find a way. They need to score. They need to be consistent. By doing so, they’ll do what comes naturally along side of that and they’ll elevate the players they have around them.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this, so hit up the comments below and I’ll see you down there.

You may want to punch me in the head for saying all of this, but hopefully not. Either way the best way to find me is to follow me on facebooktwitter and instagram.

By: Eli Rebich