Watch: Sidney Crosby Takes Stick To Head From Matt Niskanen And Crashes Into Alex Ovechkin In Game 3, Leaves Early
Sidney Crosby only got to play slightly over five minutes of Monday’s Game 3 in Pittsburgh before the Penguins center fell to the ice after Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen landed a vicious cross-check on him.
Watch: Sidney Crosby injured after taking stick to head in Game 3, leaves Early
Crosby was on a two-on-one breakaway when Niskanen attempted to stop the Penguins star scorer near the goal by slashing/high-sticking him in the head — more than once. Crosby was knocked off balance, fell to the ice and then got tangled with Alex Ovechkin, who also hit Crosby with his own stick.
Sidney Crosby went to the locker room, Matt Niskanen got a five-minute major and game misconduct. pic.twitter.com/YgoTbUEMWt
— SI NHL (@SI_NHL) May 1, 2017
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Niskanen received a five-minute major and a game misconduct penalty for the hit. However, according to USA TODAY Sports, the defenseman won’t face a disciplinary hearing or any other type of additional punishment. USA TODAY reported this citing a person with knowledge of the decision but not authorized to speak publicly. Niskanen said his hit wasn’t intentional.
“I’ve seen the replay. On super slow mo, it looks really bad,” Niskanen, who played four seasons with Crosby in Pitttsburgh said Monday . “I got him high. He’s coming across trying to score. As he is doing that, he’s getting lower and lower. I wasn’t extending, trying to hit him in the head. It happened quickly.”
Crosby left the game at 5:24 of the first period, though very little is known about his injury or whether he will be able to play in Game 4 on Wednesday night. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan didn’t say following the game whether the center suffered an upper or lower-body injury.
Both types of injuries seem possible, since Crosby’s legs buckles under him when Ovechkin’s stick struck him.
Some camera angles of Niskanen and Ovechkin’s hits are more revelatory than others. According to FOX Sports’ Pete Blackburn, this angle demonstrates that Ovehckin struck Crosby in the leg and landed a high-stick on the Penguins star before Niskanen’s cross-check:
Another look at the Crosby injury. Ovechkin also got him with the stick up high & took out his leg just prior to the Niskanen hit pic.twitter.com/Z0TAbKJXyv
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 2, 2017
Jeff Veillette of Nation Network’s “Hockey Content” also tweeted a GIF of an angle that makes it seem like the camera filmed the play from near the goal, that he says looks “more reflexive.”
Alternate angle on Matt Niskanen’s cross-checking game misconduct against Sidney Crosby. Looks a little bit more reflexive from here. pic.twitter.com/JRRj2WeWkF
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) May 1, 2017
The Capitals beat the the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins 3-2 in overtime on Monday to to trail the second-round NHL Playoff series 2-1. Game 4 is Wednesday at 7:30 pm EST at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh-based writer Rob Rossi, a columnist for online publication Upgruv, recently wrote a scathing piece in which he said Ovechkin should thank Niskanen for instigating “he nefarious plot to injure Crosby that was cooked up in their Game 2 players-only meeting and supported by their coach and possibly the NHL.”
Rossi is a veteran member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association who covered the Penguins for years with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
“The hockey world was damaged Monday night when the only hockey player most Americans know (Sidney Crosby) was driven from hockey’s grandest stage by a crosscheck from Matt Niskanen,” Rossi wrote. “That the Capitals wound up winning Game 3 in overtime, snuffing the Penguins’ rally from a 2-0 deficit in the third period, only added insult to Crosby’s injury.”
Rossi continued, saying Niskanen deserved his punishment, even if his cross-check wasn’t intentional, saying it was a “small price to pay.” Rossi added that Niskanen should receive an excused absence “autographed by the league’s Player Safety department” for the rest of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins. Rossi also called Capitals coach Barry Trotz a loser.
Crosby was named a finalist for the 2017 Hart Trophy on Monday. The award is given to the “player judged most valuable to his team” in the NHL.
The Professional Hockey Writers’ Association votes on this award, which Crosby, a two-time winner, was nominated for after finishing the regular season with a league-high 44 goals and 89 points. The 29-year-old 2005 first overall draft pick helped lead the Penguins to their best regular-season record (50-21-11) since 1992-1993.
Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid and Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky were also named finalists for the trophy. The winner will be announced on June 21 at the NHL Awards Show at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 01: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins leaves the ice with trainer Chris Stewart after taking a hit in the first period while playing the Washington Capitals in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG Paints Arena on May 1, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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