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Crosby Should Get Special Treatment

So says Pittsburgh Coach Michel Therrien.

On Friday, one day after Sidney Crosby was butt-ended by Montreal's Maxim Lapierre on the opening face off, Therrien lashed out at the increasing number of cheap shots Crosby has received.

"More and more Sidney [is] receiving shots during games," Therrien said at Mellon Arena after practice. "It's got to stop. It's got to stop. He's the best player in the league. The league has got to protect Sidney Crosby."

Those who have watched every Capitals game this season know that Alex Ovechkin has received his fair share of cheap shots, too. From knee-to-knee hits and spears, to high cross checks and flying elbows.

My feeling is that it's only a matter of time before Crosby or Ovechkin misses a significant amount of time because of these questionable tactics.

So my question is this: Should the league take measures to protect its stas? Or should it be left up to the players on the ice?

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 3, 2007; 8:47 AM ET
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I don't think it's uncalled-for for the league to tell its officials to watch Crosby and Ovechkin a bit more closely, and if anyone takes a cheap shot to make sure to call it. Especially if it's a butt end, a flying elbow, or the shot to the groin Ovechkin took last year.

Posted by: Bret | February 3, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Cheap shots on stars are overblown. If you're going to give special treatment to Crosby or Ovechkin, issue them skirts like all NFL quarterbacks should wear.

Sadly, there are alot of penalties called based on reputation where a penalty should be a penalty no matter who's on either the giving/receiving end.

Its on the officials to make Therrian and other coaches to stop whining.

Posted by: caphcky | February 3, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

First of all, Crosby is hardly the best player in the league. That's nonsense. Most overhyped, yes. But best, no way. That being said, this is silly. In the past, the good players were able to withstand cheap shots and have great careers. So why can't Crosby? I know he's the NHL's designated golden boy. But the whining is ridiculous.

Posted by: Joe | February 3, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

While I agree that the title of "best player in the league" is being bestowed on Crosby too early, to say that he's "hardly" the best player is being a bit blind. Like him or not, he's obviously one of a small handful (that includes Ovy, who's better than Sid IMHO) that are above the rest of the league. "Hardly" is like comparing him to Yashin. Good luck on that one ;)

Posted by: Pete | February 3, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

This is why the instigator rule is so bad for the NHL. Before it was implemented you didn't have these problems because you would get an ass wooping if you went after Gretsky or Lemieux. If they want to protect Crosby and Ovechkin better, than let the enforcers do their job with the fear of getting suspended.

Capital Fanatic

Posted by: Capital Fanatic | February 3, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The NHL absolutely should protect it's stars. It should adjust the instigator rule such that the tradition checks and balances of on-ice enforcement and league/referee oversight are in better balance. I don't see wisdom in completely eliminating the instigator rule, but I think all these discussions of league involvement due to questionable hits and cheap shots would be unnecessary if it were less punishing.

Posted by: false_cause | February 3, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

What is Therrien whining about? Crosby already does receive special treatment. I saw him drop the gloves and throw three punches a few weeks back and not even get a penalty for that, while the guy he punched got 2 for "Unsportsmanlike conduct."

Posted by: FS | February 3, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Let the players police the ice themselves. If Thierrien doesn't like Sid getting pushed around, then make sure your lineup includes someone to deter those actions. Such as Brashear, Erskine, etc. That said, the refs certainly should be aware of who's on the ice and what the potential is for this type of thing. Briere spear on Ovy, Orr highstick on Ovy and Blake on penalties called on any of those cheap shots. Unbelievable.

Posted by: OlTimeHockey | February 3, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Crosby needs to toughen up. Lemieux Had a fight in his first game on his first shift. That helped answer alot of stuff that Crosby has yet to answer.

I agree with Capital Fanatics comments above, the league needs to either adjust the instigator rule or eliminate it altogether. Not only is Hockey getting dirtier but the league is also elimination one of the most exciting parts of the game

Posted by: LIVINIT | February 3, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Check Lapierre butt-ends Ovechkin's buddy Crosby into the stomack in

I don't think the league would be able to protect Crosby or Ovechkin. Paul Kariya comes in mind getting brutally cross-check in the jaw by Suter. Heck, the Rangers goon did the same to Ovechkin. Even big Eric Lindros was eventually annihilated. Doesn't matter if you take out instigator rule or not, doesn't matter if your team has the best enforcer in the World.

So, sadly, yes, it's just a matter of time...

Posted by: Alex Ovetjkin | February 3, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

the caps suck with and without him so who cares

GMGM needs to be fired

Posted by: the caps suck | February 3, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Extra protection won't help this PATHETIC power play.

Posted by: Mike | February 3, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: ray | February 3, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

As previously said, it comes down to:

1)Crosby needs to be tougher on his own but, more importantly

2)eliminate the instigator penalty. For the most recent example, last Thursday, Souray should not have received an instigator plus misconduct for policing a Pens cheap shot on Koivu.

Posted by: pepper | February 3, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I am truly regretting buying an expensive weekend plan for 07/08. The Caps will be lucky to match their 70 points of last year. They are a demoralized team, and it shows. Their next 4 games at home are MUST WIN, and all against teams they can and should beat. I can't see shelling out a lot of money next year to again go through the agony this team continues to goes through.

Posted by: kenhockey | February 3, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

The question that was being asked after the hit on Koivu wasn't why Souray got an instigator (although I don't think much of that penalty in general), it was why Ryder and Higgins didn't get there first.

Not to minimize Colby Armstrong's run at Koivu, but frankly, the hits that are particularly scary are the knee to knee, skate to skate contact that players like Ovie get may games. Even Rod Brind'Amour went skate toe to skate toe at center ice on Ovie last season, claiming later that it wasn't a cheap shot. In the end, the officials can't stop it. Ultimately the players have to police it themselves. Does anyone seriously expect Don Koharski to resolve this problem?

Posted by: Fred | February 3, 2007 8:32 PM | Report abuse

The Caps were horrible today! HORRIBLE! Were you watching, GMGM? Lameonsis?

Posted by: Finn | February 3, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Get rid of the instigator rule and this gets taken care of quick fast and in a hurry. The way it should be.

Posted by: Comebackkono | February 4, 2007 5:58 AM | Report abuse

I absolutely agree. Guys should take special attention to smear him all over the boards.

That said, I don't mind him as much as last year.

Posted by: Kevin | February 4, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"Get rid of the instigator rule and this gets taken care of quick fast and in a hurry. The way it should be."

This is one of the dumbest things I've read on here in a while, congratulations. Do you really think that Colby Armstrong doesn't take that run at Koivu if the instigator rule is gone? Of course not! Colby Armstrong doesn't care if he gets in a fight! In fact, no one who takes those kinds of runs at people cares if they get into a fight. It's always been that way! So-called "enforcers" never prevented anyone from getting hurt, they only administered a little revenge after the fact. If their tactics actually worked, they'd be out of a job.

The problem, as usual, is in the NHL league office. Until they get serious, with suspension and real fines, nothing is ever going to change.

Posted by: zamboni | February 4, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Gary Bettman should be drawn, quartered and fed to the fans, preferably as chili.

Yes, the players should police because its hockey, and thats why we love it. Gary decided that's why people don't like it, so he got rid of the policing (or handcuffed it drastically) only to find that nope, people just don't like hockey. Fighting or no fighting. The players should be policing. Brashear should be pummeling anyone who takes a cheap shot at Ovie; not in a goonish manner, but in a fair "cheap shoting Ovechkin is asking me to fight you" way.

THe NHL is becoming a joke. I love hockey, but not Bettmans NHL. Too many division games, DETROIT SHOULD BE IN THE EAST WHERE IT BELONGS, the penalty calls have gotten ridiculous, the instigator rule is getting the wrong people hurt.

Gary Bettman should be drawn, quartered and fed to the fans, preferably as chili. Did I mention that already? Its worth saying again.

Posted by: Kerplunk | February 4, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Guys, we've been telling you all along that the Caps lack team toughness. We've also been telling you that the NHL is a bunch of NBA wannabes who think that their rules will work out in the NHL. I know most of the people on the Caps message boards love soft hockey, though.

Caps BOD

Posted by: Caps Board of Directors | February 4, 2007 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Crosby doesn't have anyone who can realistically stick up for him. Jarko Rutuu, give me a break. Ovechkin can stick up for himself and has Brashear as well. Ovie's more likely to get hurt hitting someone else.

What a bitter bunch you all are. The Caps are still an expansion team in their second season. They're overachieving IMO! Injuries to their two best defensemen have killed them over the last couple weeks and will ultimately doom their season.

Today Kolzig was finally able to bail them out. They did a good job at keeping the shots to the outside which is the key to defensive success in the "new" NHL. Collapse all five guys and then rush the wings to the point when the puck gets back. The only difference shorthanded is to employ the same scheme with four guys. Watch San Jose, Dallas, New Jersey, and Detroit, they've mastered it.

Today being only my second game of the year, I can see why Abe wants to put some money into building. The glass is clearly in horrible shape. Four extended stoppages for glass work only one of legitimately should have happened. It was pretty funny when the "technicians" dropped the cracked glass and it shattered. Abe's still bitter the city welched on him when he built the building.

Say what you will about McPhee, but Ted won't let him buy anyone good cause he doesn't want to spend the cash. They're still snakebitten by Jagr. Ted will spend the money when Jagr is finally off the payroll for good. While they've assembled a great AHL team, few of those guys will be better than mediocre NHLers.

If you want to see what drafting success is like, come see San Jose in a couple weeks. Only a couple players haven't come up through the organization. They're the biggest, fastest, and youngest team in the league. Four rookies are playing like seasoned veterans. If the Caps had Clowe, Pavelski, Carle, and Vlasic, they'd be 10-15 points higher in the standings. Granted they wouldn't have the veteran leadership helping them along.

Think if the Caps hadn't gotten lucky with Ovie and Semin and got two more Emingers instead. They'd make Philly look good.

Posted by: Bubba | February 5, 2007 12:37 AM | Report abuse


you started with "What a bitter bunch you all are," and ended with "think if the Caps hadn't gotten lucky with Ovie and Semin and got two more Emingers instead. They'd make Philly look good."

Sounds like you caught on.

Posted by: Kerplunk | February 5, 2007 1:57 AM | Report abuse

The refs, backed by the league, can and should protect the players against spearing, butt-ends, knee2knee, and head shots. Matter of fact, that's ALL they can and should do: regulate the game! Make sure its inherent violence is channeled into tons of clean, hard hitting.
Stickwork's for kittycats; CHECKING's for hockey players. If you dont care about the difference, go watch WWF.
The idea that 'real sanctions for spearing' is called special treatment makes me laugh. Or maybe it's just gas.

Posted by: redline/blueline | February 5, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I'm always concerned when the NHL worries about scoring over safety. I believe that ALL cheapshots should be policed better by the referees. The NHL is still trying to move away from the goon reputation it earned in the 70s. And what is the point of rules and a referee if not to have some safety on the ice?

At some level, I agree that the stars should get some added protection because they are the targets of opposing tough guys, but this is hockey. If you can't take the hits, play baseball.

Posted by: frontpager | February 5, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone have a sense of how other GM's and players around the league view Ovie vs Crosby. I know I am partial but I find it hard to believe anyone GM today would take Crosby over Ovie.

Posted by: Rocco Ron | February 5, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Just get rid of the instigator rule and allow players to police themselves.

It was a time proven method of protecting stars (think Gretzky with either Semenko or McSorley)

But the NHL doesnt want that kinda rough housing so instead they opt for cheap shots.

Posted by: Tinordi24 | February 5, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh good lord, NO ONE should receive special treatment .... that goes for Crosby and Jagr or Ovechkin.... the officials have a hard enough time calling the game correctly. It would be disaster to have TWO sets of rules. Hockey is a tough sport .... if the Crosbys and the Jagrs want to play and NOT be "cheap shotted" (which happens far less frequently than people claim - a good hard check does not mean DIRTY) then they have to learn to stand up for themselves .... besides, I didn't hear Therrien when HIS team "cheap shotted" the other teams .... oh wait, it's only a cheap shot if it's against Crosby and not if Oprik does it ...... grow up!!!

Posted by: DMC | February 5, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Mario Lemiuex was and still is a crybaby. Looks like that's all french-Canadian hockey people are. Why should Sid get special treatment but not OV or Malkin. Because they're not North American.

French-Canadian hockey players tend to be the most fragile (in their own minds) of hockey players and need to toughen up a little bit.

The NHL should be protecting it's future stars, but to the point that it doesn't cause someone to want to hurt those players. Sid, OV, and Malkin should earn their stripes like everyone else or we might have another Eric Lindros on our hands. An ok scorer who skates with his head down and pays the price.

If the referees started calling the game like they did last year, you wont have the cheap shots because the calls will be made before the stupid stuff that leads to cheap shots.

Posted by: Crybaby Syndrome | February 5, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"Crybaby Syndrome", tell that to Laraque, Gauthier, Latendresse, Martin Grenier, Mathieu Roy, Scott Melanby, and Lecavalier.

But thanks for crapping on my heritage--oops, I'm being a crybaby ;)

Posted by: Pete | February 6, 2007 1:10 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: GGGGGTRUBB | February 16, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

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