In a between-periods interview with the MSG network, Rangers winger Brandon Dubinsky took a jab at Sidney Crosby after the station replayed footage from the first period in which Crosby appeared to slew foot Ryan Callahan (a play that actually resulted in a penalty on Callahan for interference).
"That's just a dirty play," Dubinsky said while on the MSG set. "That's just the type of guy he is. He tries to get away with all that kind of nonsense and complains a lot."
Watching the replays of Monday's action, it also appeared Crosby slew-footed Sean Avery in the third period. This time Crosby earned a tripping call, offset by a matching minor to Brandon Prust, who took exception to the play.
Surrounded by reporters in the locker room later, Dubinsky declined to pursue the point. Via Ranger Rants:
"I don’t want to turn this into more than it is," Dubinsky said. "I’m not going to sit here and talk about Sidney Crosby because I don’t really care what he’s doing and I don’t really care what he does on the ice."
Crosby responded in the Pittsburgh room after the game. Again via Mr. Andrew Gross:
"How many penalty minutes do I have this year, if I’m that dirty?," said Crosby, who has 15 penalty minutes this season. "I mean, please. Show me all those dirty plays. It’s a battle and he falls. I think Dubi has done his fair share of things out there that are questionable. I guess he’s talking again. But I’m not surprised.
"It’s a battle (with Callahan)," Crosby added. "He’s holding me going up ice and I’m trying to push him off. Is it that calculated? I’m trying to get to the net. I’m not worried about that kind of thing. If I tripped him, I tripped him. Am I dirty hockey player? C’mon. I think Dubi is smarter than that."
Since Crosby is asking, his PIMs go beyond just the 15 he's been pinched for this season. Through Nov. 23 last season he had 39, which was a pretty solid clip that dropped off as the season continued.
Does that make Sid the Kid a dirty player? No. Does he take a lot of contact (legal and otherwise) as an NHL star? Absolutely. Does he need to stand up for himself? Certainly. But it may be how he's responding that's grating Dubinsky and some other players. Either way, I wouldn't expect this debate to die anytime soon.