Jeff Riger: How Can People Think Crosby Not Playing Is A Good Thing?

As the Wings skated at the Joe on Monday afternoon, every player knew what the talk would be post practice; would Sidney Crosby play and does the team want the NHL’s poster boy to be able to? As you might guess the majority of the players that I talked to wanted “Sid the Kid” to be able to take part in Tuesday’s game in Pittsburgh. Of course this was before the news came down, that Crosby is out indefinitely with more concussion symptoms.

Speaking for myself, I admit that I am bummed, considering I enjoy watching Crosby play against good competition and I enjoy even more when that competition is Henrik Zetterberg who usually gets into some sort of physical altercation with “The Next One.” Zetterberg admitted that he too likes battling one of the league’s best players saying “that’s what it’s all about, you want to have battles with certain players and he is definitely one of them. He’s probably the best player in the league when he’s healthy and those are the kind of matchup’s that you remember when you retire.” Zetterberg also talk about how bad the league needs Crosby saying “we need him, you saw in those games that he came back and played and the boost that came with it. You want him to be healthy and back playing, we all need him and hopefully he will feel better.”

Zetterberg wasn’t the only one who was bummed that Cosby would not be able to play on Tuesday. Mike Babcock claimed “obviously, we like Sid to be playing, I think as a league you want him to be playing! You want all the good players every night, when you go to play another team you want their best goalie, you want their best players and you want to find out if you’re any good or not.” Babcock, who coached Crosby when Canada won Olympic gold in 2010, praised the young Penguin captain saying “this guy to me is an elite, elite player; he does things the right way. I know him; you are cheering for him when you are not playing him.”

Even though the players and coach wants Crosby to play, I think the fans might feel differently considering they more than likely find it difficult to forget about some of the “bush league” stuff that Crosby pulled in the past against Detroit. The main offense, that Wings fans will never forget is after the Penguins beat the Wings in 09 at the Joe in game 7 to win the Stanley Cup. Crosby failed to shake Nick Lidstrom’s hand after the game. So does Nick still think about that? “It didn’t bother me, that’s in the past, I think he was caught up in the moment and I don’t think it’s a big deal at all” Lidstrom said.

Of course there have been some good memories as well for Detroit versus Crosby, especially winning a Cup in Pittsburgh and also in the regular season when Jimmy Howard face washed him at the Joe a couple years ago when Sid tried to cheap shot Zetterberg late in the game. I asked Howard if he was bummed that he would not get the chance to face wash, Crosby on Tuesday? Howard, being the media savvy guy that he is responded “that was so two years ago” while flashing a huge smile.

So if you are one of these people that are happy that Crosby is not playing, I don’t get you at all? Wouldn’t you rather have a chance to beat the best with all the great memories that come along with it or could it be simply that you are afraid? You tell me! The NHL is a better, more enjoyable product when Sidney Crosby is a part of it! Do you disagree?

Watch the Babcock and Zetterberg videos below as the two talk a lot about Crosby!

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