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Monday, November 28, 2011

Bryan Murray warns Sidney Crosby and Pittsburgh. Really?

REUTERS/Jason Cohn
That ex-girlfriend, the one that is in fact an "ex" because she would never let anything go.  Although equally culpable, somehow her part in every disagreement was magically omitted in every loud, yet decreasingly plausible denial.

Yeah, THAT ex-girlfriend. Well, she is the Ottawa Senators.

After Nick Foligno declared that his version of hockey is the one played by ruddy, yet not foolhardy, gentlemen, with white gloves, educated young lads... of proper breeding, many of us were left scratching our heads.

Nick Foligno... with no stomach for a scrum?

Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Dan Bylsma, somewhat uncharacteristically, retorted... and it was done, right?

Not according to Ottawa GM Bryan Murray.

If Mt. Molehill wasn't already grossly embellished enough, Murray comments should make Seth Myers break off a special SNL Weekend Update segment of "Really?"

Really?  Really.

Just in case you've been living under a rock since Crosby's return, we will cut to the flashback segue, in a little He said/she he said segment.  Cue the video:

As TSN reported after the game:

Crosby mixed it up with Ottawa's Nick Foligno early in the third period, the start of a brief dust-up in which Crosby and Foligno exchanged cross-checks, before the Penguins star elbowed Foligno in the head.

Both players earned minor penalties -- Crosby for elbowing, Foligno for roughing -- and Foligno took exception with Crosby hitting him up high to clear space in front of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

"It's not a big deal, but it is something that he preached all summer about that we should limit that and then he goes and does it, so I was just a little disappointed," Foligno said. "But, you know, that's a small part of the game and it's over now."
Watch the video, apologies for the low def.  Upon the 20th viewing, I'm still not convinced Foligno was even struck by Crosby's elbow.  There is a whole lot of glove and forearm in there.  For further review, check this pic in the Ottawa Sun taken from the same angle.  Where's the elbow to the head?

Elbow or not, it's the context of the action that makes Foligno, who had just done a ridiculous solo flop over the top of Marc-Andre Fleury, for at least the second time in the game, seem downright whiny.

Crosby and Foligno had just exchanged cross checks for what Crosby clearly perceived as unnecessary contact with his goaltender. Crosby then threw his glove/forearm/elbow into Foligno's face as a little extra reminder that he didn't like him piling on Fleury.

This has never happened to an agitator type in a post action scrum before?  Again I say, "Really? Really."

When would Matt Cooke's protests be well received if he were to complain, post-game, of a player giving him a little of "the business" during a game?  Never.  And neither should anyone give credence to Foligno's complaint.

Crosby and Bylsma said as much when asked about Foligno's remark:
"We’re talking about a player that bumped into our goalie three times,” Bylsma said. “With the score 5-1 and intentionally going into our goalie, he can expect more than Sidney Crosby coming at him and talking to him during the game. That’s how we feel about those situations. He was in our net falling over our goalie, and I don’t think there was any question about the intent.”

Crosby, who received a minor for elbowing Foligno in the head, responded after beating the Habs.
“I don’t (know) what he’s talking about. I was preaching about the hits like (Max Pacioretty’s hit on Kris Letang (Saturday), not a scrum,” said Crosby when asked about Foligno’s comments after the game Saturday in Montreal. “I don’t know what he expects after he runs a goalie three times.

“He’s probably lucky it was me that was handling it and not someone else. I think if he’s going to do that, he should be ready to expect a response.”

Crosby claimed Foligno was trying to make a big deal out of nothing.

“I think he’s blowing it totally out of proportion,” said Crosby. “Two nights before that I go into a scrum and I get punched in the head. I accept that. I’m going into a scrum that’s part of playing the game.”
It was already too much at that point, but Senators' GM Bryan Murray had to embody the re-incarnated spirit of said evil ex with this gem:

“The rules are very clear now,” said Murray. “If you fall into a goaltender and touch a goaltender, an elbow to the head and a butt end to the head is fair game. Dan Bylsma said that’s OK for them. Sidney said Nick Foligno is that kind of player.

“I wish (Foligno) was that kind of player. I thought the referees in that game, watching it and hearing the comments, it was 2-on-2. He fell over the goaltender. He was cross-checked four times. There was no question, did he get pushed? I don’t know. He got cross-checked, I thought he got a butt end, but it might have been a full elbow. (Chris) Kunitz comes in with a cross-check and the penalties were even.

“So, (NHL disciplinarian Brendan) Shanahan said that’s a good play. That’s a hockey play. Dan Bylsma said it’s good for them and Pittsburgh were the biggest ones on the head injuries. I’m remiss. I made a mistake. We didn’t have (Chris) Neil and (Matt) Carkner play in the game. We didn’t have enough toughness, so when we play Pittsburgh that’s something you can bring up to me again.”
Murray could not even admit the obvious truth that Foligno was attempting to illicit a reaction from the Pens by running Fleury multiple times.

"Did he get pushed? I don't know." - Really?  Really.  So Murry didn't watch the game, or review the tape of the incident he was complaining about? 

Not likely.  Like your horrible ex, he was just simply omitting the truth that his player had a hand in causing the incident.

Then the topper.  Murray pulls the "next time I'll bring my goons" card at the end.  Clearly, we are all a bunch of grown ups here. 

How about we all accept that Foligno was looking for trouble and got himself a little boo boo as a result.  Really.  REALLY.