PITTSBURGH -- Even though it isn't always showing up on the stat sheet, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been a pretty dominant player through the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final. That was true once again Wednesday night in the Penguins' 2-1 overtime win.
One area where that dominance did show up in Game 2 was in the faceoff circle, where he won 17 out of 24 draws, including 11 out of 16 in the offensive zone.
San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture seems to think he knows why Crosby can be so dominant and win offensive zone draws so cleanly. Because he cheats. And because he gets away with it because of who he is.
"He cheats and he gets away with it," Couture said after the game Wednesday. "He's Sidney Crosby."
He was asked a follow-up question as to what, exactly, it is that Crosby does to cheat in those situations, and wasn't all that specific.
"He times them and they don't kick him out for some reason," Couture said. "Probably because of who he is."
Crosby took four faceoffs against Couture on Wednesday night, winning three of them.
His biggest win of the night came against Joel Ward just two-and-a-half minutes into the overtime period when he won an offensive zone draw that directly resulted in Conor Sheary's winning goal.
Look, every player in the league that takes a faceoff tries to cheat on them. That is why they get kicked out of the circle at times and why linesmen always have to step in and lecture players before they actually drop the puck. It is also not uncommon for opponents to think they are getting the short end of the stick when they go up against superstar players. It has happened repeatedly this season with Crosby and the Penguins.
Rangers coach Alain Vigneault played the " what if it was Crosby" card way back in the regular season when he disagreed with a ruling from the league (a situation that did not even involve Crosby and the Penguins). Capitals coach Barry Trotz played the favoritism angle in the second round.
In the end this is all nothing more than gamesmanship, and it is a tale as old as the playoffs themselves. It is no different than a coach trying to use the media to work officials for calls in the middle of a series. This is Couture trying to plant a seed in the heads of the officials and give them something to look for in future games, hoping that it might give him an edge in a big situation.