David Steckel tried to apologize for hitting Sidney Crosby at Winter Classic

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For what appeared to be an accidental hit at the time it happened has turned into the seminal moment in the NHL this year. David Steckel’s collision with Sidney Crosby at the end of the second period during the 2011 Winter Classic turned out to be the one moment from the game that still leaves people talking today thanks to the concussion problems Crosby is still facing now more than nine weeks later.

Many Pittsburgh fans have been upset about the hit since that game claiming that Steckel targeted the Pens captain. Others say that it looked to be an accidental collision. We side with those saying it was an accident but if you thought that Steckel was carrying on without a thought as to Sid’s condition, you’d be greatly mistaken as Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice found out today.

“It was completely unintentional,” Steckel said. “I didn’t mean to hit him at all. I tried to get out of the way and it’s unfortunate that he’s been out for so long. It’s one of those things that’s uncertain.”

Although it was an accident, Steckel said he reached out to apologize to Crosby through Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland, who was his AHL teammate in Hershey.

“I said, ‘Tell Sid I’m really sorry. I didn’t see him at all,’” Steckel said. “And I haven’t talked to him since.”

Of course the other side of this is whether or not you have to worry about the Penguins still holding a grudge toward Steckel for the hit. Given that the Penguins played the Capitals twice since the Winter Classic with Steckel in the lineup for them and they didn’t go after him then, you can expect the same thing in tonight’s battle between New Jersey, which acquired Steckel in the Jason Arnott deal at the trade deadline, and Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh’s Mike Rupp told The Star-Ledger that while they still remember what happened with Steckel, expecting payback from them would be short-sighted.

Mike Rupp says Penguins haven’t forgotten about David Steckel’s hit on Sidney Crosby. “Are we going to react? No. We’ve played him twice.”

Seems simple enough. To think that David Steckel would be the guy that had the biggest effect on the Penguins season this year is crazy to even ponder. You’d think that if someone was going to have an effect on Pittsburgh’s season it would be an opposing goalie in the playoffs or a forward/defenseman with the ability to keep Crosby under wraps and off the stats sheet.

Instead it’s a concussion for the league’s biggest star delivered to him in the most accidental of ways on the NHL’s biggest midseason stage. Things are going to change either with equipment or rules in the near future for the NHL to better protect the players and it’ll be David Steckel that will be the answer to a trivia question in which made it all possible.