PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — NHL on NBC Broadcaster and Former Penguins Head Coach Eddie Olczyk joined Cook and Poni on Tuesday to talk about the hit on Sidney Crosby that knocked him out of the Pens’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 3.
Olczyk argued on the broadcast last night that there was no intent to harm Crosby by Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen.
So, after sleeping on it for the night and watching the highlights again, does he still feel the same?
“What I saw is what I said last night,” Olczyk said. “I felt it was a reactionary play by Matt Niskanen, and those types of plays happen a lot where a guy turns and may run into somebody.”
Olczyk said that he agreed that there should have been a penalty on the play, but not a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct.
“It was just one of those plays,” Olczyk said. “From what I saw last night was that it was just one of those plays that went bad, and hopefully, for Sid most importantly, and the Penguins, he will be better than ever and sooner than later.”
Crosby has been diagnosed with a concussion and was ruled out for Game 4 Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.
Olczyk did say that you can argue with the hit from Alex Ovechkin that caused Crosby to lose his balance, but he says that the hit from Niskanen was not intended to harm Crosby.
So does he then take issue with Ovechkin playing dirty?
“I don’t think he is a dirty player,” Olczyk added. “There are no perfect players. All players have blemishes. All players you know at some point are on the line or cross the line, but for me the heart of your question, I don’t think that Alexander Ovechkin is a dirty player by any means.”
So can the Pens repeat as Stanley Cup Champions if Crosby is out long term?
“Nothing would surprise me,” Olczyk said. “But if you don’t have Sid whether it’s one game, three or four, or whatever it is. You’re playing five-card stud with three cards.”
Listen to the full interview here, including Olczyk’s thoughts on the league defending its star players: