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Crosby hammers Steckel, Hedman hits

- January 8th, 2011

Colleague Rob Rossi in Pittsburgh spoke with Sidney Crosby about the concussion he sustained and the hit (hits?) that caused them this week.

It sure sounds like the Pittsburgh Penguins captain thinks Washington’s David Steckel should have been suspended for the hit in the head he gave Crosby at the Winter Classic Saturday. Ditto for the hit laid on him by Tampa’s Victor Hedman which led to Crosby being diagnosed with a “mild” concussion and causing him to miss Thursday’s game against the Canadiens.

Crosby will be out at least until next Thursday.

For a guy like Crosby, who has rarely been opinionated about anything, it’s great to hear him find his voice.

Here’s what Crosby had to say in Pittsburgh this morning about the hits:

“I didn’t like them,” Crosby said. “You talk about head shots and dealing with them, and that’s been something that’s been pretty big points of interest with everybody – GMs and players. When I look at those two hits… I mean, we talk about blindside, and that’s a big word, unsuspecting player. There’s no puck there (on) both (hits) – and direct hit to the head on both of them. If you want to go through the criteria I think they fit all those.

“I know it’s a fast game and I think if anybody understands it’s a fast game – I’ve been hit a thousand times – but when you get hit like that there’s nothing you can do, there’s no way you can protect yourself. Those are things that hopefully (the NHL) pays more attention to. It’s easy to say that being in this situation, but those two hits – looking back I can’t say I should have done something different or had my head down. I wouldn’t change anything.”

Crosby also discussed the NHL’s crackdown on blindside hits as it applies to his situation:

“On the Steckel one it’s tough,” he said. “It’s really tough to decide whether he meant to or didn’t mean to. I felt like he could have got out of the way or avoid me. Whether he tried to hurt me only he knows. I guess we’ll never know that. You still have to be responsible out there. I can carry my stick up around my head and say I’m protecting myself, but I’ve still got to stay responsible out there with whatever I do with my stick, if I end up high-sticking someone. It’s the same thing. In that situation I don’t see anything – he sees me there, he sees the whole ice, and he doesn’t avoid me, so I don’t think that’s responsible on his part. Whether or not he tried to hurt me only he knows that, but he’s got to be the one to try avoid me in that situation.”

If the NHL is going to get rid of headshots, it needs guys like Crosby to speak up. The league has a long history of jumping when the game’s best players have something to say.

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