Monday, June 1, 2009

Babcock Calls Crosby a Headhunter

Babcock Calls Crosby a Headhunter

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It's been proven many times over in years past. Coaches in any sport will say just about anything to work over game officials. Hockey is no different.

During a chat with the media prior to Sunday's Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcockuncharacteristically said a bit too much. He was talking about Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, and apparently mistook him for assistant captain Evgeni Malkin.
Babcock was commenting on the much-discussed matchup between Crosby and Red Wings two-way ace Henrik Zetterberg (all Zetterberg so far, by the way), and hedropped quite a bomb on the assembled media.
"I thought he went head-hunting right off the top (in Game 1)," Babcock said of Crosby. "I think that's a game within the game. If you're a hockey purist and you like superstars who bring it, that's a nice matchup."
The coach of the defending Stanley Cup champions was quick after the game to offer an apology.
"I misspoke or I didn't speak well," Babcock said. "To me, speaking unfairly about Sidney Crosby is wrong. That wasn't my intention. It's an unfair comment on a classy player who plays hard."
I'm far from the biggest Sidney Crosby fan on the planet. That said, about the last thing I would call Crosby is a "headhunter."

Babcock knows he did wrong. This isn't meant to scold him. He's usually pretty good with the media, and he isn't at all known for saying stupid stuff to get attention. If anything, this should show how hard coaches will work to get the attention of the officials.

If saying something like this gets Sid called for a hook or a dive at some point in the series, it will be worth any negativity thrown Babcock's way over the comment. Power plays appear to be at quite a premium in this year's Finals, and that might put more pressure on the two coaches to work officials for all they can get.

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