New York Post – There is a crisis in Pittsburgh, which is not a shock to anyone who has watched the NHL this season.
The whirlwind of criticism has included almost everyone, from the top of the organization to the bottom. Yet no one seems to be looking at the eye of the storm. Because there resides Sidney Crosby — the Golden Child, scorer of the Golden Goal for Team Canada, the pride of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, the Heir to the Throne of Greatness.
Crosby the Untouchable.
He has been the constant, hovering presence in the ouster of four coaches who have stood behind the bench since the Penguins took Crosby with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2005 draft. It’s gone from Eddie Olczyk to Michel Therrien to Dan Bylsma to Mike Johnston and, now, for some reason beyond logic, Mike Sullivan was hired to replace Johnston on Dec. 12. Sullivan, the former Rangers assistant under John Tortorella, is as out-of-touch a selection as could have been made. Just wait until Crosby gets to know him a little better.
Because what Crosby wants, Crosby gets. When Sullivan rubs him the wrong way — it’s not an “if,” it’s a “when” — the indelible No. 87 will start sulking, just like he did at the end of Therrien’s run and the end of Bylsma’s run and the end of Johnston’s run. Great players lead by example, and when Crosby wants change, it’s clear. There is a fine line there between being a demanding competitor and being a coach-killer.
This was Johnston’s second season behind the bench, and he led them to a 15-10-3 start before he was fired. Crosby has just six goals and 22 points in his first 32 games, which might be due in part to the lower-body injury that made him miss Monday’s 5-2 win over Tortorella’s Blue Jackets — ironically Sullivan’s first win behind the Pittsburgh bench after losing his first four (with Crosby).
Sid the Kid is now 28. He won his lone Stanley Cup as a 21-year-old with Bylsma in 2009. He has gone from the face of the franchise to the definition of the franchise. Evgeni Malkin is a special talent, but he is a hockey player, and that’s all. Crosby has become so much more.
Which is to say he holds more power than the coach and likely the general manager. The principal owner, Mario Lemieux, opened his house to Crosby when he was drafted. Their relationship is too close to allow for perspective. If there have been ownership “moles” within the organization for years — as has been implied — that means they are Crosby constituents, as well.
Is Crosby’s authority going right to the top? Think he got a little fed up with the lack of top-tier wingers to play with, and might have blamed previous GM Ray Shero? Lemieux fired Shero after they lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Rangers in 2014, and hired Jim Rutherford, who built the Hurricanes so well, they made the playoffs once in the past nine years.
“Am I disappointed? Yes. Makes me sick, actually,” Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Sunday about the team’s start. “More sick than I’ve ever been in my career when I’ve managed a team. I feel for the fans. I feel for everybody.”
Well, I feel for Rutherford, being put in an unenviable situation of trying to turn around a salary-cap-strapped roster that includes a star with ownership-like power who didn’t like his coach.
I don’t agree with Tortorella often, but his take on the Penguins — as hot-headed and mostly unprofessional as it is for him to say publicly — is pretty spot-on. Crosby is played harder by the opposition than anyone in the league, but he never deals with it quietly. Crosby complains a lot. And it trickles down. So this little outburst from Torts on Malkin selling what was a dangerous knee-to-knee hit, well, it’s boisterous Tortorella, but it’s not wrong.
There is blame to go around the Penguins organization for this start and for where they’re headed. But there is one man who has come to define the organization, and if the blame doesn’t start with him, it’s misguided.
Alright, so a few things here before I recap how terrible the “coach-killer” has been over the past two years:
- If you read this entire article, God bless you because you are now dumber. And may God have mercy on Brett Cyrgalis’s soul.
Chin up, Brett. We’re all #Praying4U. 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 Keep cranking ’em out. You’ll be fine!
- Not sure which hot take from this steaming pile of dog shit is my favorite. Was it when Brett mentioned Mike Sullivan’s hire was as “out-of-touch a selection as could have been made”? Was it when he mentioned that Evgeni Malkin’s a special talent, but he is a hockey player, and that’s all? Or was it when he blamed Crosby for being the sole reason Michel Therrien got axed as head coach of the Penguins (you know, the same guy that got cucked twice by Claude Julien in Montreal because he was such a piece of shit)?
- John Tortorella. Still a doofus.
Okay, so let’s check in on how the past 730 days have been for Sidney Crosby since this article was written (and whether or not Mike Sullivan’s looking for meals at his local soup kitchen this holiday season).
As for that dope Mike Sullivan’s first two years as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins:
Safe to say Mike will be eating filet mignon on Monday evening.
P.S. – There’s still plenty of puck to be played this year.
If you think any of these teams ahead of Pittsburgh right now wanna play the Penguins in April, you’re fucking crazy. Before you know it, we’ll have a 3rd line center and we’ll start steam rolling teams like we always do.
P.P.S. – Shout out to Freezing Cold Takes (@OldTakesExposed) on Twitter dot com for bringing up the two-year anniversary of this gem of an article.
P.P.P.S. – Merry Christmas, everyone (we’re saying it again)!