And it was the Penguins who melted down, perhaps irrevocably, in an 8-4 loss to Philadelphia that gave the Flyers a 3-0 series lead, in a series that has already featured about a dozen games’ worth of head-shaking moments.
None more than in the Pittsburgh camp. Dumb penalties, another short-handed goal allowed, team-wide defensive malfeasance, cheap shots, and goaltending so poor it would have embarrassed the Flyers to have employed it. Pittsburgh was supposed to be the epitome of class in the league, a franchise that valued discipline and, of late, railed against the gong-show aspect of hockey. Before the game, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said he had 20 players who were looking to be leaders.
Well, some of them led the collapse. Photos: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, Tim Shaffer/Reuters
Sidney Crosby was bloodied after being struck in the face by a puck shot by New York Islanders defenceman Dylan Reese. The Pittsburgh captain, playing in the ninth game of his second comeback of the season after recovering from concussion symptoms, was hit 1:43 into the second period. Reese was trying to clear the puck out of the lower left corner in the New York end when he hit Crosby, who was standing a few feet away from him. Photos: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
Sidney Crosby’s medical history, and his absence from the National Hockey League, grew a little longer Tuesday. An independent specialist revealed the Pittsburgh Penguins star, who has missed much of the last year with concussion problems, is dealing with a soft-tissue neck injury that may be contributing to his symptoms. Here is a look the diagnoses of Crosby over the last 13 months. (Click to enlarge) Graphic by Jonathon Rivait/National Post
Still in the dark Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby is still suffering from concussion symptoms, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Wednesday, offering the first update on Crosby since he was sidelined earlier this month. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Bruce Arthur: Darkness clouds Sidney Crosby’s future It’s not too early to start wondering about whether that door will close. It’s terrible, but it’s true. Sidney Crosby has already accomplished a lifetime’s worth of hockey glory — a world junior gold, Hart Trophy, Stanley Cup, and Olympic gold because he delivered one of the defining goals in Canadian hockey history. He has cemented himself in hockey history, even if he never plays another game. (Photo: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
He’s baaaack… Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby shoots on teammate Marc-Andre Fleury during the “morning skate” in preparation for Crosby’s return to action Monday night against the New York Islanders. Photo: David DeNoma
Crosby hasn’t played since taking head shots in consecutive games in January against Washington and Tampa Bay.
The 2007 NHL MVP spent the last 10 months undergoing a painstakingly thorough rehabilitation that left him wondering when – or even if – he’d play again and forced the league to take a harsher stance when it comes to policing head hits. (Photo: Dean Bicknell/Postmedia News)
BRUCE ARTHUR:As the National Hockey League begins the 2011-12 season, it would be natural to hope that actual hockey — the game, not the black clouds that surrounded the game this year — will sweep away the worst events of its annus horribilis. Al Bello/Getty Images
Crosby has found his voice Bruce Arthur: Sidney Crosby will not retire, though he intimated the thought did at least flit across his mind. When asked Wednesday if there was a chance he would never play again, Crosby said, “A pretty slight one. I wouldn’t bet on it.” When his doctors were asked if the Pittsburgh Penguins star would make a full recovery from the concussions which have sidelined him since early January, they almost made it sound as if he would return better than ever.
It all seemed very encouraging, given the vacuum of information that has swirled around the 24-year-old Crosby all year. Still, he is “not even close” to being cleared for contact; no timeline for a complete recovery exists. It sure could be better, even if it could have been worse.
Why hockey’s future hangs on Crosby’s fate Bruce Arthur: If Sidney Crosby becomes this generation’s Eric Lindros, in an age where the understanding and prevalence of concussions have risen in the public mind, then he could become a human tipping point for hockey. And it would be a terribly high price to pay, for everyone. (Photo: Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)