In the words of Michel Therrien, “Enough is enough, and that’s enough”. My sentiments exactly when it comes to the whining that is being heard from the New York Rangers players, staff, media and fans. The Rangers have tried to whip up controversy where there should be none. The common refrain has been that Sidney Crosby is a diver and that he gets a free pass from the referees. They also complain that Crosby is a “whiner”, which I find qute ironic after listening to the swirl coming out of New York following the legitimate interference penalty called on Martin Straka that ultimately led to the Penguins’ game-winning power play goal. Instead of blaming Sidney Crosby or the officiating, the Rangers should be looking inward for answers to how they blew a 3-0 lead.
Prior to the series, the New York Media and the Rangers staff tried to make-up controversy (or perhaps pre-position some excuses) by stating that the referees would show favoritism to the “face of the league” Sidney Crosby. One example is the Rangers Hockey Night Live series preview show with Al Trautwig and Stan Fischler. At 3:15 in the video, they respond to a fan’s concern that the refs will protect Sidney Crosby. Stan Fischler notes his disappointment with the officiating and that he hopes for the best. He goes on to mention that Tom Renney will be talking to the referees and the supervisor in hopes “that the Rangers will get a fair shake”. Then at 5:15, another fan complains about how Sidney Crosby is a whiner, and that “no other great players in years past whined or complained”. Stan Fischler piled on by stating that “his whining is almost legendary”, and “the referees are smart enough to know and don’t like it, so we’ll see how they handle it”.
Then after Game 1, one in which the Rangers blew a 3-0 lead midway through the game, the Rangers chose to blame the officiating in part for their loss. The first indicator came from Tom Renney himself in his post-game interview. At 1:15 of the video, Renney is asked what he thought of the penalty. He replied to the reporter, “Did you see it?…………draw your own conclusion”, implying that it was a bad call. Then, in a post-game interview Brendan Shanahan referred to the Straka penalty by calling it a “weak call” and declaring that “Sidney embellished”. At the 2:34 mark of TSN post-game coverage, you can see more Tom Renney comments as well Shanahan’s comments. You can also view the penalty clear as day as Straka uses his stick across Sidney Crosby’s mid-section to impede his progress. How any NHL player can claim that Crosby embellished that call is beyond me. There was no dive, and Sid kept skating to try and get into the play. Shanahan even had the balls to suggest that Crosby interfered with Straka on the play. What a joke.
The comments by the Rangers staff, players and media were so ridiculous that Michel Therrien felt compelled to comment on them after Saturday’s practice. At 5:30 of the video, Therrien points out his disappointment with the “gamesmanship” of the New York Rangers regarding Sid’s ability to draw penalties. Therrien pointed out that it is Sid’s skill and speed that draws penalties, not embellishment. He calls out Tom Renney by name and chides him for the comments made prior to the series and in recent days, and says that the Straka call was legitimate. He also pointed out that Avery raked Crosby’s face with a stick earlier in the game that went uncalled. And unlike the Rangers with the Straka call, I haven’t heard any whining from Crosby about the non-call on Avery. As Michel Therrien so aptly stated, “Enough is enough, and that’s enough”.