Crosby again shuts up Flyers, fans
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
PHILADELPHIA -- You have to feel for Philadelphia's kind, decent, mature hockey fans, don't you?
You know the ones I'm talking about. They don't seem to care all that much about the Flyers-Penguins games. They pay big money to get into the Wachovia Center for the sheer enjoyment of chanting "Crosby stinks!" or some such hospitable thing.
Really, what are those good people going to do to pass time during the long summer if the Penguins end the Flyers' season tomorrow night at Mellon Arena?
I'm sure your heart is breaking for 'em.
Or maybe not.
Maybe you're just too darned happy that the Penguins beat the Flyers, 3-1, last night in Game 4 of their in-state Stanley Cup playoff series. They have a three games to one lead and now have the chance to finish off the Flyers in Pittsburgh.
"It feels unbelievable walking out of this place with a win, playoff or regular season," defenseman Rob Scuderi said.
It sure seemed right that Sidney Crosby played a big part in spoiling the fun here and pushing the Flyers and their genteel fans hard toward the offseason. He had the all-important first goal, the result of simply charging hard to the net. Teammates Tyler Kennedy and Max Talbot added goals and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made them stand up with 45 saves in an awesome performance.
Funny thing about those refined fans ...
Nary a peep was heard from them as they left the building and headed into the stormy Philadelphia night.
And Crosby? He had to be so high after shutting up nearly 20,000 of sports' most honorable fans that he didn't even need the Penguins' chartered flight to get back to Pittsburgh.
Or maybe not.
"It's just great to be able to steal one here," Crosby said, ever-stoic as always.
You might buy that story, that this win didn't mean more than any other. I'm not. Crosby's teammates weren't buying, either.
"It feels pretty good in my shoes walking out of here. I can only imagine how good it feels in Sid's shoes," Scuderi said.
"I'm sure Sid takes it personally," Talbot added. "He has to. They hate him here so much."
This isn't the first time Crosby has done this sort of thing. He has two goals and four assists in these four playoff games and had two goals and five helpers in the Penguins' five-game playoff smackdown of the Flyers last spring. In 26 regular-season games against the Flyers, the numbers are 20 goals and 26 assists.
Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
That maybe the abuse really doesn't have much impact on Crosby?
"It's been going on for so long that I honestly don't hear it anymore. It's just crowd noise now," he said.
Only when pressed did he add, "It probably pushes me to sharpen my focus that much more."
Crosby's goal early in the second period was the product of nothing more than hard work. Teammate Matt Cooke, just out of the penalty box after serving an interference infraction, jumped on the puck and got it up ice to winger Chris Kunitz. His centering pass arrived at the Flyers' net at the same time Crosby was charging down the slot. He appeared to get a piece of the puck with his stick before carrying it into the net with his body.
Flyers goaltender Marty Biron had no chance.
"I thought it was a good goal all along," Crosby said. "I know I didn't get it with my skate."
You might imagine the pleasant crowd's reaction.
Yes, they chanted a little louder and with a little more venom.
"If 20,000 people spend all night chanting that you [stink], you must be pretty good," Scuderi said.
"That's the ultimate compliment, if you ask me. Rangers fans still are chanting [Denis] Potvin [stinks], and he's been retired for 20 years.
"All that means is that you're really, really good."
Obviously, Crosby is.
One day, the wise Philadelphia hockey fans will realize that.
Or maybe not.http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09112/964564-87.stm