“I don’t need to defend myself,” said Crosby, who has not been called for a diving penalty this season. “I think my play more than shows the type of player I am. I’d be worried if I went out there and did that, but I don’t.”
Crosby drew a hooking minor from Islanders’ Alexei Yashin in overtime Thursday night that led to the winning power-play goal in Pittsburgh’s 4-3 victory.
Frustrated after a tough loss in which New York blew a 3-2 third-period lead, Nolan criticized Crosby.
“I think for a world-class player, for a guy his calibre, he’s diving every time someone touches him,” Nolan said. “The refs said they’re going to call it on people who dive. I guess they missed his diving.”
Nolan also said the referees should have called Crosby for slashing Yashin immediately before Yashin’s hook.
“No question in my mind, he should have been called for a slash before Yashin had a chance to hook him,” Nolan said. “I’m not saying Yashin’s wasn’t a penalty, I’m just saying there should have been a penalty before. If Yashin maybe acted like Crosby and dove, maybe he would have got the call.”
The NHL has directed its officials in recent seasons to more strictly enforce diving.
Crosby said he was sorry if Yashin was hurt but said there was no reason to apologize for hitting him because it was not an illegal play. Crosby said only one hand was on his stick and it slid up Yashin’s stick before striking Yashin’s hand.
“Look at the tape,” Crosby said. “If I chopped down with two hands on my stick, that might be something.”
Crosby was similarly accused of diving last season by Philadelphia Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock. That happened after a November game in which Flyers defenceman Derian Hatcher appeared to twice slash Crosby without being called for a penalty and Crosby scored the winning goal in overtime.
The Islanders and Flyers are both in the Atlantic Division with the Penguins and each play Pittsburgh eight times per season.
“From Rocket Richard to Gordie Howe to Jaromir Jagr to Mario Lemieux to Wayne Gretzky, all those athletes are terrific players who get a lot of attention from a lot of people, and they frustrate a lot of (opponents) with how talented they are,” said Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien.
A year after posting a club-record 102 points as a rookie, Crosby has two goals and seven assists in six games to lead the Penguins with nine points.
“Ted Nolan is a smart coach,” Crosby said. “He knows they play us seven more times. It was a tough loss for them and so if he wants to plant a seed, he probably figures he can do it early and see what happens.”
“I know the rules, and the referees are looking for (diving) this year, so if I do it, they will catch me, I have no problem with that.”