The question that niggles and nags me as we approach what we all hope is an epic Game 7 is: What’s up with Sidney Crosby?
I’m not talking about the anaemic production – one goal and three points through six games. He has played well through much of the series and hasn’t had much puck luck.
But in Game 6, ‘The Kid’ was most noticeable by his absence on the ice. The game sheet showed he had his lowest ice-time total of the series (not to mention just one shot on goal). Here’s the time-on-ice breakdown:
Game 1: 22:35
Game 2: 19:36
Game 3: 22:19
Game 4: 19:34
Game 5: 18:33
Game 6: 17:54
In Games 1-5 he ranked either first or second, behind Evgeni Malkin, among Pens forwards in minutes.
Drill down deeper in the Game 6 stats page and you find not only did he slip to fourth, behind Malkin, Maxime Talbot and Jordan Staal, but he was fifth in even strength minutes among his team’s forwards. Malkin, Staal, Ruslan Fedotenko and Talbot all saw more action 5-on-5. And this after Crosby played more than any of them in the first period – nearly eight minutes, meaning he logged about 10 the rest of the way.
Granted, Crosby did get 10 shifts in the final period (none longer than 49 seconds and several far shorter) and he was there taking critical faceoffs in the final moments, but his lack of truly “being there” – at least to the level at which we expect him to be – raised our curiosity.
It was further piqued at the conclusion of Game 6 when, about an hour after the contest ended, Crosby was sitting on a chair outside the club’s dressing room, far away from attention, huddled with his dad, Troy, and agent, Pat Brisson. Why the chairs for the little gathering, someone asked, when everyone else was standing and milling about? Is he overly fatigued from the intense attention night after night? Maybe injured?
Are we looking way too deeply into this?
We’ll find out late Friday night or early Saturday morning, when the teams reveal, in detail, what kind of pain and suffering players fought through.
Or we could find out earlier in the evening, if Crosby puts any speculation to rest by playing a ton of minutes and making the type of impact he did through the first three rounds of this year’s post-season.
Jason Kay is the editor in chief of The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears every Friday.
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