Crosby was high-sticked in the lip by Francis Bouillon late in the third period of the Montreal Canadiens’ 4-3 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The infraction went uncalled by referees Chris Rooney and Dave Jackson and Crosby took a long time getting up off the ice before slowly skating back to the Penguins bench.
Upon his arrival there, Canadiens enforcer Aaron Downey started yelling at the 19-year-old superstar while derisive chants of “Faker, Faker” rained down from the upper reaches of the Bell Centre.
“He told me not to go down, so I told him that if he gets a stick in the face we’ll see how tough you are, we’ll see if you don’t go down,” Crosby said of his conversation with Downey. “It’s funny how you get a high stick and you’re not supposed to go down any more.”
When asked to relate what exactly happened on the play in question, Crosby sternly replied, “If you see the replay, I think you should see it.”
For his part, Downey said his little chat had the desired affect.
“I can’t give away any secrets, but it worked,” Downey said. “Agitating is part of my game. I told him that if you’re going to be a superstar in this league, you shouldn’t be acting like that.”
Penguins head coach Michel Therrien said the referees may have chosen not to blow the whistle after handing out the game’s first six penalties to the Canadiens over the first and second periods.
“Sometimes the referees, it’s not intentional, but they will look away and they’re going to be more severe on your team,” he said. “That’s what happened.”
Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau preferred not to comment on whether or not Crosby was embellishing the high-stick to draw a penalty, but he said that once the game starts, Crosby is just another player on the ice.
“We obviously have to protect him, we have to protect our superstars because they sell the game,” Carbonneau said. “But at the end of the day, he’s just one out of 20 guys on the other team.”