The knee-jerk reaction is to say that Connor McDavid was foolish for fighting, especially with the aid of hindsight considering his lengthy injury prognosis. Sidney Crosby agrees that the super-prospect should keep his gloves on more often than not, yet he also told QMI that he understands what it’s like to be a marked man.
“I know that’s not his job, but sometimes — I did not see the play or what happened — I am sure he has a target on his back,” Crosby said on Thursday.
“It’s not easy sometimes.”
Crosby admits that he probably only engaged in “half” of a fight during his dominant QMJHL run, but the 27-year-old’s developed something of an edgy game (five career NHL fighting majors). In fact, a temper emerges that sometimes makes the Pittsburgh Penguins star a bit of a polarizing figure among hardcore hockey fans.
(Not to mention opponents … just ask Claude Giroux.)
As Crosby mentions, it’s not really McDavid’s role to throw the gloves, yet star players sometimes feel the need to assert themselves if they feel like they’re being targeted. There’s also just the sheer emotion and tension that comes from playing a contact sport.
While there’s some risk involved, others beyond Crosby understand why McDavid did what he did, including Toronto Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson.
It’s also worth mentioning that the 17-year-old wunderkind’s injury might have had as much to do with bad luck as it did with questionable decision-making, as Darren Dreger pointed out in this video (around the one-minute mark):
Is it the ideal solution? Maybe not, but sometimes even stars need to get their hands dirty (and ideally not broken).