Monday, December 12, 2011

Stars should stay off the IR

On Monday we received news that Sidney Crosby is experiencing concussion-like symptoms again and will be out indefinitely. With their biggest star is again sidelined, this has reignited the hockey world with talk of concussions. What surprises me most is that no one is talking about Sidney Crosby's play, and how it may have contributed to his relapse.

Actually, only Don Cherry on Saturday night's Coach’s Corner, mentioned that Sid's play was a bit reckless for someone who has just come back from the concussion that had him out of the lineup for almost 11 months. Cherry showed highlights of Crosby's play, especially in the game against Boston, and questioned his eagerness to provoke shoving matches both before and after whistles.

Crosby's first game back was nothing less than phenomenal. He scored on his second shift and registered four points (2 goals and 2 assists). He looked comfortable, confident, and had seemingly no rust despite being off for so long. He didn't continue that production but he still contributed to his team, but you could argue that the Pens played even better with Sid in the lineup.

But if you look at how he is playing you see that he is being almost too aggressive and trying to do too much. Not aggressive in trying to score, or make plays, but in being an agitator. He's getting into shoving matches, going hard into the boards, and getting into people's faces. The problem that I have with this is that it's unnecessary. Crosby is a star because he is an amazing player, not because he's aggressive and in the face of other players. I would rather him stay healthy, and do what he's amazing at rather than trying to assert himself so aggressively.

Another example is Taylor Hall of the Oilers. The kid is really good; however he is almost too rambunctious and goes into every play as hard as he can. This would be fine, if it wasn't for the fact he was out last year, his first season, due to an injury in a fight, and now he's missing 2-4 weeks with a shoulder injury sustained in November. It's his second year with the Oilers who were doing very well at the beginning of the season, and now have to manoeuvre in the Western Conference without him.

Some would argue that there are star players, like Jerome Iginla, who get into fights and play aggressively. No one would question Iginla's courage or grit. However he's smart about releasing his aggression without putting his body through unnecessary punishment, as witnessed by his eight full 82-game seasons.

Both of these players would make their fans a lot happier if they would stay off the injury reserve and played in as many games as possible. Obviously injuries happen, but if they are injuries that could be avoided by not involving yourself in every movement on the ice, then I would like the stars to stay out, and let the role players who are on the team for that very reason to step in. Afterall, stars are of no help to their team from the IR.

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