Game 1 of Rangers-Pens is still some six hours away, and already there have been attempts — either real or perceived — to stir things up by the large media contingent here.
It was all eerily reminiscent of last year’s “cream of the crop scandal”:http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/2007/04/23/bulletin-board-fodder/, which was another largely media creation (Stupid media, they ruin everything. Oh wait, that’s me, too).
This was apparent about a minute into Sidney Crosby’s press conference, when he was asked about comments by Jaromir Jagr that Crosby and Malkin were not at the level of Mario Lemieux.
First of all, this is incorrect, because what Jagr really said is the game is so different now, “guys like Crosby simply aren’t able to dominate like Lemieux once did”:http://rangers.lohudblogs.com/2008/04/23/back-when-the-mullet-was-still-cool/.
Crosby, sporting traces of a playoff beard, mostly danced around that question (“We donâ€™t expect to be in Mario’s class, but we expect to help our team, so I think that’s what we try to do,” he said).
But then came a question about remarks from Tom Renney that Crosby has been known to embellish, or even dive. Again, this wasn’t what was really said — Renney was asked about Crosby’s theatrics and the coach merely said he hopes to talk to officials — but Crosby still couldn’t resist a slight dig at his opponent.
“I haven’t changed. I never dove. I don’t,” Crosby said. “That’s just part of the playoffs, part of the gamesmanship,” he said. “If I go down it’s because I’ve been forced down. If not, I’ll find a way to stay up. I think he should be the one worried about guys diving.”
Later came the inevitable series of Sean Avery questions and Crosby handled those deftly. But even between the lines, it’s safe to say a tone has already been set.
Some other updates:
<li>Renney said Colton Orr’s size and ability as a forechecker were more important against a bigger team like Pittsburgh than New Jersey. Hence, the Rangers enforcer makes his playoff debut tonight.
<li>Jagr, trapped in a huge media scrum in front of his locker, was asked if he regretted asking to be traded away from Pittsburgh in 2001 (Jagr, by the way, still has the questionable facial hair thing going).
“At the time the franchise was going through some tough times with bankruptcy and they didn’t have a lot of money,” Jagr said. “In that year, Marty Straka, Alex Kovalez, and Robert Lang were all free agents. All of them.
“They were having problems to sign all of them, and I thought it would be a lot easier to trade one guy than let go of all three guys, and that’s why I made that statement. I just wanted to do something for the team…I thought it was the right move at the time.”
OK, the early bell is catching up with me. Power nap time…