While we’re unsure of the motive behind Glen Sather’s comments about the Pittsburgh Penguins, we definitely know they’ve raised some eyebrows.
“They’re obviously, I think, the best team in the league,” the New York GM told ESPN, one day before the Rangers were set to host the Penguins at MSG. “With [Crosby] back, it’s certainly going to make it a lot more difficult.”
There are two ways of looking at Sather’s remarks. One, they’re clever gamesmanship — pumping Pittsburgh’s tires (and heads) while indirectly challenging his club who, you’ll recall, still sits atop the Eastern Conference.
Two: Simple honesty.
The Penguins have won nine straight and are expected to return the services of both their captain (Crosby) and best defenseman (Kris Letang) on Thursday. They’re just six points back of the Blueshirts for first in the conference with a game in hand, meaning Thursday’s tilt at MSG holds additional importance. It’s a classic four-pointer the hockey world will be transfixed on.
“I think we’ll be excited to play,” said Sather. “They’re a great team, they’ve got their full lineup. We’re missing some people. It’s going to be a good contest. We’ll give them a fight.”
Well played, Slats. Well played.
Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby
“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”
In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.
One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.
Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?
Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).
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