Sidney Crosby Handshake Controversy Builds Red Wings-Penguins Rivalry

Mike FeldCorrespondent IJune 15, 2009

PITTSBURGH - JUNE 09:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins looks on against the Detroit Red Wings during Game Six of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals at the Mellon Arena on June 9, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

As the closing seconds ticked down in the NHL season on Friday, I stormed out of Hockeytown Café, the bar owned by the Detroit Red Wings.

I came home, ate food, and went to bed, bitter and hurt. The shock of the Pittsburgh Penguins knocking off my beloved Wings had not yet set in.

Saturday afternoon, I felt drained and sick. All season long, I poured so much into the season, expecting another championship. Those hopes were still alive just hours later, until suddenly the realization hit me that it was over.

On Sunday, the emotions were a bit more in-check. That is until I watched Pens captain Sidney Crosby bring the Stanley Cup out at PNC Park, the home of the Pirates. Trouble is, the Detroit Tigers were the opponent in that game.

Crosby is obviously relishing in the moment, enjoying the attention he received this weekend. However, not all of it has been considered positive.

Following the game on Friday, Crosby allegedly skipped the post game handshake line, choosing instead to celebrate. He did shake hands with several players moments later, but Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom and veteran Kris Draper weren’t among them.

“Nick was waiting and waiting, and Crosby didn’t come over to shake his hand,” Draper told reporters after the game. “That’s ridiculous, especially as their captain, and make sure you write that I said that.”

Crosby, on the other hand, didn’t feel the same.

"I really don't need to talk to anyone from Detroit about it," Crosby said Sunday. "I made the attempt to go shake hands. I've been on that side of things, too. I know it's not easy, waiting around. I just won the Stanley Cup, and I think I have the right to celebrate with my teammates.”

Crosby also said that he felt like Draper’s comment was inappropriate and even questioned Lidstrom’s integrity, hinting that the defenseman avoided the handshake instead.

I should be upset about this. This should make me even more mad. Instead, I think this is fantastic.

While I personally have a few choice thoughts for Crosby, I know that other fans outside of Detroit feel quite different. That’s fine; think what you will. But this could be the start of a bitter rivalry.

Crosby could have taken the easy way out. He could have apologized, given respect to the veterans, and moved on. Instead, he chose to stir the stew. He put the blame on two players considered the class of the league; two guys who almost never slam the opponent.

As rare as it is to see a finals rematch, these teams are built to last for years. Twenty-eight teams might disagree, but we might see round three of this match up next season.

Red Wings fans, don’t be bitter or angry. Stop pointing fingers at coach Mike Babcock, defenseman Brad Stewart, forward Marian Hossa, or anyone else.

Sometimes, the puck doesn’t bounce your way. And in rivalries, your team can’t always win. If it did, it really wouldn’t be a rivalry.

And to you, Sidney, thank you. Thanks for choosing to not take the easy way out and appeasing your PR department. Whether or not we agree with your comments, it was the right thing to say.

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You’re now the new villain in this town, Sid the Kid, and I couldn’t be happier. This city has been looking for a hockey rival, and now we’ve got it.

See you next year, champ?

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