Sidney Crosby is used to the spotlight shining brightly on him as the face of the NHL and the likely Hart Trophy winner as the league’s MVP after leading the league in points, but the Pittsburgh Penguins star is once again shouldering the blame after his team bowed out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after blowing a 3-1 series lead vs. the New York Rangers.
Crosby was limited to a single goal this postseason and along with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury are receiving a great deal of heat for another postseason failure as the team begins their offseason a couple weeks early once again, but Crosby says don’t blame the coaches.
Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma may be the fall guy for the team who has lost to a lower-seeded team for the fifth straight season, but the Penguins captain says you can only blame the players.
“We are the guys that go out there and want to perform and want to win and we have that expectation. It’s difficult to win and I don’t think there’s been any lack of effort from players, coaches, anybody in the conversation,” Crosby said. “I don’t think it’s been a lack of trying.”
Bylsma is 252-117-32 since taking over for Michel Therrien at the end of the 2008-09 season, but for whatever reason his team has not gotten back to the Stanley Cup Final for the last five years and Crosby thinks it could be a lack of physicality that has doomed the team, but he insists he wasn’t rattled by the constant attacks by the Rangers, including Henrik Lundqvist squirting him with a water bottle.
With an offseason that could see a head coaching change and perhaps a new goalie in between the pipes next season along with an emphasis on bringing more physicality to the ice on a nightly basis, Crosby recognizes the expectations aren’t going to be any lower next season.
“Expectations are high,” Crosby said. “If you don’t deliver you have to own up to that as players and as an organization. We all understand that. We’ll see what happens from here.”