By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Sidney Crosby is the best hockey player in the world. Some of the things he can do with his stick are marvelous.
Still, some other things he can do with his stick are flat-out dirty.
We saw that earlier this week, when he offered a little “how’s your father?” to Buffalo forward Ryan O’Reilly. And we saw it again on Thursday night, when the Penguins’ captain nearly severed the fingertip of Senators defenseman Marc Methot.
Late in the first period on Thursday, Methot carried a puck across the Pittsburgh blue line. Or, he tried to carry the puck across the blue line, when Crosby skated toward him and gave a two-hand chop down on Methot’s lower hand.
Methot reacted instantly in pain as the play was whistled dead for offside. Methot ignored the pain briefly in order to confront Crosby, who chose to not recognize Methot’s existence.
At casual viewing, it appeared to be a simple case of some hockey frustration, the sort of physicality that exists almost constantly on the ice. But then … Methot removed his glove. And it was disgusting.
AS A WARNING, DO NOT SCROLL DOWN UNLESS YOU CAN HANDLE THE MOST DISGUSTING PHOTO OF A FINGER AVAILABLE ON MARCH 24, 2017.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.
OK, HERE IT IS:
Here’s the video of how it happened, if you’re a glutton for punishment.
According to Ottawa head coach Guy Boucher, Methot’s finger was “destroyed” — and not in the way that John Oliver or Samantha Bee DESTROY Donald Trump with long rants on television. Destroyed in the sense that his finger is seriously, seriously damaged.
“His finger is destroyed,” Boucher said. “It’s shattered and he’s out for weeks.”
Despite the obvious injury, the referees on the ice did not call a penalty. (The NHL also will not review the play further. It’s done and over with, as far as the NHL is concerned.) Referees likewise did not call a penalty on Crosby for his crotch shot on O’Reilly.
Crosby has just 24 penalty minutes this season. That’s impressive, as he’s been on the ice for 1,339 minutes, which ranks 39th in the NHL. He’s set to finish with the fewest penalty minutes of any full season in his career — and by a large margin. His previous low in PIMs in a season in which he played at least 55 games was 42. This year, he’ll likely finish under 30.
He had an 11-game stretch this year where he was called for zero penalties. He’s had five stretches of at least seven games without being penalized.
(Related but unrelated: Crosby’s agent once distributed to the media some ultra slow-motion video of Sid getting bullied, in an effort to to … I don’t even know. I guess he felt like Sid didn’t get a fair shake out there on the ice? Not sure. But it was not exactly a lion-hearted moment in the hockey history of Sidney Crosby.)
Of course, the absence of penalty calls alone does not necessarily indicate overlooked calls. But a couple of clear instances this week show that the NHL and its referees might be overlooking a little more with Sid than they do with other players.
Seemingly unapologetic, Crosby said he’s experienced what Methot experienced before.
“I’ve gotten those before. They don’t feel good,” Crosby said.
Crosby’s the best player in the world. His goal vs. Buffalo was otherworldly. He may well lead the Penguins to another Cup this spring. But maybe the NHL can dissuade him from using his stick like a samurai sword for a few days? Yes? OK.