Auston Matthews flattens Crosby, who receives superstar treatment

Dean Chaudhry
April 9, 2024  (8:12)

Sidney Crosby looking up into the stands
Photo credit: Kevin Allen - USA Today Sports

Sidney Crosby has been a generational talent from the moment he stepped foot onto the ice in his rookie season for the Pittsburgh Penguins. 19 years later, the veteran has earned himself a reputation of receiving "superstar treatment" as was evident during last night's 3-2 victory for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It was a hard fought battle between both clubs but the Maple Leafs narrowly escaped with 2 points last night after Jake McCabe potted the winner in overtime to secure the 3-2 victory. The surging Penguins put up a good fight but it was Crosby who was front and centre after his incredulous second period.
Crosby successfully drew two penalties in the middle frame, almost sent Bobby McMann to the box for a double minor penalty before it was reviewed in Toronto's favour, and got reverse checked by Auston Matthews, which drew the attention of the referees who blew the play dead. Crosby was irate all period and was seen yelling at the referees countless times, which brought about the "superstar treatment" discussion.
The first penalty that he drew against William Nylander was fair and called correctly. However with just 3:22 remaining in the second period, the Maple Leafs were sent to the box for an interference minor assessed to McCabe. When you watch the replay, there was nothing out of the ordinary that took place. McCabe and Crosby went hard towards the net before they ran out of real estate and the latter crashed into the goal post, knocking it off it's moorings, and then sliding into the boards.
Then shortly after McCabe's penalty expired, Bobby McMann swatted at an aerial puck in the defensive zone that was in the vicinity of Crosby. In real time it looked as if McMann might have smacked Crosby right in the mouth with his stick, but upon further review McMann made contact with the puck before it hit Crosby. All bloodied up, the grizzled veteran was irate and complained to the referees who immediately assessed a double minor for high sticking. Fortunately the Maple Leafs were saved by the video replay and didn't have to march their penalty kill back onto the ice.
Then, barely 40 seconds after the McMann incident, Matthews and Crosby collided with one another behind the Maple Leafs goal-line before the referees blew the play dead. Both players were slow to get up but there was almost no need for the referees to make that call to blow the play down, considering the Maple Leafs were jumping ahead on a possible odd-man rush.
After the game, Matthews gave his two cents on the play and explained what had actually happened:
"I just tried to get in the lane to block the shot & my momentum was going that way & I think his momentum was coming my way & I didn't see him until the last second. It was unintentional & I was just hoping he was OK, honestly."
His second period antics brought about a lot of media attention as well as Sportsnet panelists Anson Carter, Justin Williams, and Luke Gazdic made a few quips on the Matthews and Crosby incident but sided with the 19-year veteran stating that it was "accidentally on purpose", believing that Matthews is skilled enough to be equipped with high hockey awareness and should know where he is on the ice at all times as well as his opponents. Sportsnet broadcaster Craig Simpson took a shot at Crosby on air as well when he said:
«Are they gonna blow the play dead every time Crosby gets hit?»
Preferential treatment is nothing new in hockey, let alone sports, but last night's officiating was nothing to write home about. Crosby got away with a lot of calls, he was conversing and chirping the referees all game, and drew several phantom calls that could have put the Maple Leafs away if the Penguins power play wasn't struggling.
The Maple Leafs were handed 5 of the first 6 penalties in the game and it could have been 6 of the first 7 had McMann not been found innocent. Ironically the Maple Leafs ended up scoring on their 2nd and final power play opportunity of the game after Matthews' quick strike gave his club a brief 2-1 lead to open the third period.
The 36-year-old is fighting tooth and nail to drag his team into the post-season as he looks to avoid missing out on the spring dance for the second time in his career - however, maybe he can do it without extra help from the officials.
APRIL 9   |   437 ANSWERS
Auston Matthews flattens Crosby, who receives superstar treatment

Do you think Auston Matthews' check on Sidney Crosby was "accidentally on purpose"?

No, it was harmless29667.7 %
Yes, Matthews knew exactly what he was doing9120.8 %
Too close to call5011.4 %
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