I’ve always enjoyed watching Detroit Red Wings checking forward Kris Draper play, but I have to admit that I question the accusations he made on Friday night when he said Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby purposely snubbed Wings captain Nicklas Lindstrom.
Though I’ve never met Crosby, I’ve read that this 21 year-old is very gracious with his time and has trouble saying no, whether for granting media interviews or giving his spare time to local charities.
I’ve also heard through the years that he respects the history of hockey, which makes it hard to believe what Draper told the press.
On Friday night, Crosby became the youngest captain to ever lead his team to a Stanley Cup, and I believe that he can be excused for getting caught up in the moment after having his ultimate dream come true.
As a result of relishing the moment with the people he went to war with in the post-season, Crosby was a little late getting into line and shaking hands. Still, the camera caught him shaking hands with the handful of Red Wings left on the ice, including goalie Chris Osgood and forward Johan Franzen.
Crosby, who finished the playoffs with 31 points, estimated that he celebrated with everyone for about three to four minutes before joining the line to shake hands. Draper read it another way. He said that Crosby was purposely trying to snub Lindstrom.
“Nick was waiting and waiting and Crosby didn’t come over to shake his hand,” a frustrated Draper told the press. “That’s ridiculous, especially as their captain, and make sure you write that I said that.”
Crosby explained that when he finally joined the line only about 10 Red Wings were still on the ice.
“My intentions were to shake hands,” Crosby said when he heard about the accusations being made by Draper. “By no means was I trying to avoid shaking the other team’s hand. I think it’s important to do that.”
Crosby then very gently said that perhaps Lindstrom didn’t really wait that long to shake Crosby’s hand.
If anything, I believe that the Red Wing players who left the ice without going over to Crosby or waiting for him, looked bad. Lindstrom, who is a 17 year Red Wings veteran, should have realized that Crosby was overwhelmed with emotion after winning the Cup, and should be excused for not joining the handshaking lineup right away.
Lindstrom, who is an elder statesman of the league at 39, should have set the example by approaching Crosby and congratulating him with a handshake.
When Draper aired this dirty laundry to the press it came out as sounding very bitter and child like. I think the accusations were made out of pure frustration due to the Wings blowing a 2-0 and 3-2 series lead.