Crosby: We’re free to give our opinion about the officiating

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Sidney Crosby thinks he should be able to give his honest opinion without being labeled a whiner — even if his opinion is critical of the officiating.

On Saturday, the Penguins’ captain opined that the referees allowed Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals to grow out of control, culminating in a fight between Evgeni Malkin and Patrice Bergeron at the end of the second period.

“They’re letting a lot go out there, and the more it gets like that, the more it’s going to escalate,” Crosby said. “You can only control and channel that stuff so much. You keep letting guys do that stuff, you’re just going to push the envelope. That’s something we obviously want to stay away from, but it’s kind of a natural thing when it gets like that.”

Today, Crosby stood by what he said.

“I don’t think anyone blamed the officiating for why we lost,” he said, per Shelly Anderson of the Post-Gazette.

“We lost for other reasons. It wasn’t the officiating. We were asked about a couple of penalties, and we gave an honest answer.

“We’re not always going to agree on what’s a penalty and what’s not. I don’t think there was anything wrong with what anybody said. I think we are free to give our opinion.”