Penguins Notebook: McLean dupes All-Star Crosby into penalty box
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On the day Sidney Crosby was named a starter for the NHL All-Star Game, he had his second fight in the league.
Or at least a one-sided version of a fight.
Crosby, the Penguins' captain, and Florida center Brett McLean exchanged words in the first period yesterday at Mellon Arena and, with frustration mounting for the home team, Crosby decided he wanted to engage McLean.
So, with his team trailing by three goals at 17:01 of the second period -- two seconds after the Penguins' Max Talbot fought the Panthers' Gregory Campbell -- Crosby asked McLean to fight.
"He said 'yes,' " Crosby said. "Usually, yes means yes."
In this case, Crosby punched, but McLean didn't punch back, so, while both players got five-minute fighting penalties, Crosby also got minor penalties for instigating (the first of his career) and unsportsmanlike conduct and a 10-minute misconduct penalty. He didn't get a chance to play again until the final two minutes of regulation.
"I wouldn't have wasted 20 minutes in the box for that," Crosby said. "I guess he didn't take me seriously."
It was just one of the things that backfired during the Penguins' 6-1 loss.
Crosby, who had no shots or points and played just 12:01, spent more than the first 18 minutes of the third period sitting in the penalty box.
Panthers coach Peter DeBoer, who coached Crosby during Team Canada's gold-medal run at the 2005 junior world championships, didn't fault Crosby, but he also didn't mind having him out of the game for so long.
"He's a competitive guy," DeBoer said. "If I'm coaching Pittsburgh, I'd like to see that kind of play out of your best players when things aren't going well. ... I can tell you I'm glad he wasn't on the ice for 19 minutes. It made our jobs a little easier."
Crosby's first NHL fight came Dec. 7, 2007, against Boston's Andrew Ference, a fairly even go-round with several punches landed.
Crosby and fellow Penguins center Evgeni Malkin will join four Montreal Canadiens as starters for the Eastern Conference in the Jan. 25 All-Star Game in Montreal.
They were selected in fan voting, which ended Friday night.
Crosby set a record with 1,713,021 votes. It is the third season in a row he was voted into the starting lineup, although he missed the game last year because of an ankle injury. Malkin, who played last season, topped 1.5 million votes.
Before last night, Malkin led the NHL with 60 points, and Crosby was third with 50.
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury lost a tight race with the Canadiens' Carey Price. Fleury finished with 1,486,079 votes, Price, 1,515,885.
The other starters for the East are Montreal forward Alexei Kovalev and defensemen Andrei Markov and Mike Komisarek.
Penguins defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney also topped 1 million votes, but neither is eligible for the game because injuries kept them from playing in the minimum 20 games.
The Penguins had a goaltending merry-go-round. yesterday.
Fleury started but was pulled following the first period after he yielded two goals on five shots.
Backup Dany Sabourin gave up two goals on the first five shots he faced, too, and let in three on 12 shots in the second period.
Coach Michel Therrien went back to Fleury for the third period.
"When you're a goalie, it's the worst feeling," Fleury said of being taken out of the game.
"It just feels like you let the team down. It wasn't going well. I didn't do well. I deserved it."
The Penguins got winger Tyler Kennedy back after he missed 14 games because of a sprained knee. Winger Eric Godard (leg), though, remained out despite being a game-time decision.
First Published January 4, 2009 12:00 am