He scored a great goal. Dished a great assist.
But he also committed a backbreaking turnover, took two lazy penalties and morphed into a poor loser via his involvement in a free-for-all at game’s end.
Will the real Evgeni Malkin please stand up?
You’re not a superstar some of the time. You’re not elite some of the time. It’s all of the time, or none of the time. Consistency = true greatness.
Geno Nation never sees him as he really is. They burnish his accomplishments, then deflect blame elsewhere when Malkin’s low points are discussed.
The goal? The assist? An $8.7-million player is supposed to do that.
The mistakes? The stupidity? The petulance? INEXCUSABLE.
Sidney Crosby isn’t perfect. BUT HE DOESN’T BLOW GAMES. He plays and leads with a level of maturity that is totally foreign to Malkin.
Malkin’s idiocy undid all his excellence last night. Made it meaningless.
Malkin needs to get his head out of his borscht. If he doesn’t, and the Penguins lose this series, it’s time to start wondering if trading Malkin would be the best thing for all parties. Because this isn’t working.
NBC hockey analysts Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick enjoy dumping on Sidney Crosby. After Sunday's 5-4 overtime win vs. the New York Islanders, they accused Crosby of going down too easy when Brian Strait committed a holding penalty in OT.
Milbury and Roenick didn't use the word DIVE. But they might as well have.
I've defended Milbury and Roenick. If you talk about them, they've done their job.
But I'm going to backtrack on that.
IT DOESN'T MATTER if anyone talks about Milbury and Roenick when the concurrent result is that X amount of viewers think the NHL's best, most visible player is a FLOPPER and a CHEAT. The biggest gain to be made by the NHL and its broadcast partners is for viewers to think Crosby is God's gift to the game.
The latter sells. The word-drool spewed by Milbury and Roenick does not.
Milbury and Roenick aren't a pimple on hockey's ass compared to Crosby and what he does for the game.
So somebody in the NHL office, or NBC's office, should tell Milbury and Roenick to put a better spin on what Crosby does, or they're fired.
If they need a blueprint, consult how the NBA's broadcast partners treat LeBron James.
Deryk Engelland played 12:23 in Game 2 vs. the New York Islanders, was minus-1 and took two bad penalties.
Simon Despres replaced Engelland in the lineup for Game 3. He was minus-2 and, many would say, was directly responsible for the Islanders’ first two goals.
Who plays Game 4 tonight?
Brooks Orpik is the preferred answer. But, if Orpik doesn’t yet return from his lower-body injury, the choices are:
*Engelland. The likely pick. Engelland seems too slow to play against the quick Islanders, but Coach Dan Bylsma trusts Engelland more than his other options.
*Despres. I’m shocked Despres got a playoff game at all. Bylsma has no faith, not yet.
*Robert Bortuzzo. Bortuzzo is no faster than Engelland, but he has size (6-4, 215), reach and is just as willing to fight as Engelland. Bortuzzo hasn’t yet suited up during the postseason but – after Games 2 and 3 – better the devil you don’t know.
*Dylan Reese. The longest of longshots. Reese has spent nearly the entire season with the Penguins’ minor-league affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. But Reese is a strong skater, and he played parts of three seasons (2009-12) with the Islanders. Familiarity doesn’t hurt.
Who is your choice? Vote, please, in the poll at left. (Reese isn't included because he just isn't a legitimate possibility.)
Bylsma needs to give whoever he selects a regular shift. Despres played just 6:12 in Game 3. The result was overwork for Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Mark Eaton, and lesser performance by all three. It’s better to be able to use all six defensemen.
Photos courtesy of GettyImages.
NBC analysts Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick stopped short of saying Sidney Crosby took a dive, but agreed that he went down easy when New York Islanders defenseman Brian Strait wrapped up Crosby in overtime yesterday.
Strait got a holding penalty. The Penguins got a power-play goal, a 5-4 victory and a two-games-to-one series lead. That's what happens when you employ waiver-wire defensemen.
It was definitely a penalty. If it’s a penalty in the first period of the first regular-season game, it’s a penalty in overtime of a playoff game. I’ve always felt that way. The rulebook and officiating standards should be consistent.
*Crosby (or any superstar) is more likely to get that call.
*If Simon Despres had tugged down John Tavares and the Islanders had netted a PPG in OT, Penguins fans would be complaining like crazy.
*If not for power plays and the very occasional burst of good play, the Penguins would be down two games to one.
But for me, that’s a penalty every time. No matter who has the puck, no matter who commits the grab, no matter the score and situation.
I’m amazed when fans get legitimately angry when TV analysts say something they disagree with. You shouldn’t care what Milbury and Roenick say. You shouldn’t care what I say. It doesn’t affect the game’s outcome, and it shouldn’t affect your enjoyment of the broadcast.
Milbury and Roenick got you talking about them. They did their job.