There have been plenty of goals scored between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins through two periods on Friday. Some emotion, too, between the top two teams in the Metropolitan Division.
Through 40 minutes, Islanders’ forward Matt Martin was an assist short of the Gordie Howe hat trick, after he scored in the first period and fought Robert Bortuzzo in the second. The scrap occurred seconds after Martin caught Pittsburgh’s star Sidney Crosby with a hit that appeared perfectly clean along the side boards. Bortuzzo took exception and challenged Martin to a fight.
Now, as the two come together away from the boards, it almost appeared that Bortuzzo attempted a headbutt on Martin (at :24 of the video). Both players were assessed major penalties for fighting, and there were no other penalties handed out.
When it comes to premier centers in the NHL the two names you’ll hear come up the most are Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews. Crosby is the dynamic scorer and set-up man and Toews provides his own offensive punch and has Selke Trophy defensive skills to go along with it.
So if you were starting a team, who would you want to be your choice? That was a question raised by ESPN Insider’s Craig Custance (subscription) to a group of NHL executives, coaches and players and their top pick was Toews.
Sidney Crosby took heat for his performance in the playoffs, but as it turns out he was playing with a “terrible wrist” and will undergo surgery in a matter of days as a result, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s source.
The source said that the surgery Crosby needs isn’t major, but that he could not “play the same way” due to his injury. Although the exact timetable for his recovery isn’t known, he’s not expected to miss any playing time as a result.
Crosby only scored one goal in 13 playoff games, although he was able to record eight assists. The Penguins lost to the New York Rangers in the second round and their latest disappointing showing in the playoffs led to the dismissal of head coach Dan Bylsma and GM Ray Shero.
After the Penguins’ shakeup, Crosby spoke about the need for Pittsburgh to elevate its game in the playoffs.
“Me personally, I’m not taking myself out of that mix either, going pointless against Boston (in the 2013 conference finals) and not really doing a whole lot in the New York series, it’s not easy to deal with that in the off-season,” Crosby said in June. “You don’t like having memories like that.”
The Post-Gazette wasn’t able to reach Crosby for comment on this story, but he has previously stated that he wasn’t playing through an injury in the postseason.
“I think as far as finding that identity, and don’t get me wrong I think in the regular season it’s important to have success and we’ve proven that, but we have to find a way in the playoffs to elevate our game,” said Crosby, as per ESPN.
“It doesn’t mean change our identity, but we have to elevate it. We haven’t done quite as good a job at doing that. Me personally, I’m not taking myself out of that mix either, going pointless against Boston (in the 2013 conference finals) and not really doing a whole lot in the New York series, it’s not easy to deal with that in the off-season. You don’t like having memories like that.
“That being said, you have to find a way to elevate your game. I think for us, each round it gets tougher and tougher, there’s less space, it’s more physical, maybe we got away with a bit too much on skill during the regular season and weren’t able to grind teams down and play the way you see some teams have success in the playoffs. Keeping that in the back of our mind should help us going into next year.”