By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — Bruins fans certainly know a thing or two about dominating on faceoffs. Patrice Bergeron has been the gold standard at that particular skill for much of his career, and he rules the dot by being unpredictable and mixing up his techniques – and excelling at all of them.

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One way Bergeron consistently wins the puck on the faceoff is his anticipation; he often times his stick-swipe perfectly as the referee’s arm drops the puck to the ice. That’s one of the big ways that Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby has dominated faceoffs through the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals, including winning a staggering 71 percent of faceoffs in Game 2.

That didn’t stop San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture from saying what Patriots fans have gotten used to hearing from vanquished foes over the years: he referred to Crosby’s highly effective faceoff methods as a form of cheating.

When asked about the reason for Crosby’s success at the dot, Couture told the San Jose Mercury News, “He cheats. … He gets away with that. He’s Sidney Crosby.

“He times them, and yet they don’t kick him out for some reason; probably because of who he is.”

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Simply timing a faceoff is not illegal. Couture may be referring to faceoff rules regarding the player’s stick; each center needs to have at least the toe of their stick blade on the ice as the puck is dropped, so Couture may see Crosby’s anticipatory stick movement as a form of cheating.

Either that or he’s just whining. There’s no doubt that Couture’s ego had fresh wounds after the Pens’ winning goal in Game 2, in which Crosby timed the faceoff perfectly with a pass to Kris Letang, who slipped the puck to Conor Sheary for the game-winner just minutes into overtime. You can see how Crosby’s stick is already making its move before the puck even touches the ice, while Couture looks like he barely even wants the puck.

This is a thing that just about every center worth his salt at the faceoff dot does, and Bergeron is the best in the league at it. As much as I want to rip Crosby for supposedly cheating, he’s been a dominating presence in all phases of the game, not just faceoffs, so far in the Cup Finals. He has almost completely put his actual bush-league tactics aside. And obviously, it strikes a chord around here when a superstar player is accused of “cheating.”

Couture has a career faceoff percentage of 50.2 percent, and that number drops to 46.9 percent in his playoff career when the competition is at its best. Perhaps he could learn a thing or two from Crosby or Bergeron’s faceoff tactics and get better at it himself, rather than complain about the opponent being too good.

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Matt Dolloff is a writer for His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at