Crosby was skating stride for stride with Rangers forward Ryan Callahan when the Penguins’ superstar appeared to use his skate to sweep Callahan off his feet.
The intentions of Crosby have since been debated.
Watch the play below and decide for yourself if Crosby’s leg sweep was intentional:
The infraction is a dangerous one because of the way a player can hit the ice after his leg is taken out. Generally, the player falls back and runs the risk of hitting his head on the ice, resulting in concussions.
Despite the apparent slew footing — which the NHL rulebook states can be called as either a minor or major penalty, depending on the referee’s opinion on the intent of the move — it was Callahan and not Crosby who was penalized for interference on the play.
For his part, Callahan wasn’t using the apparent missed call as an excuse after the 3-1 Rangers loss.
“Absolutely, he kicked my feet out from under me,” Callahan said, according to the New York Post. “But you move on and keep playing. It’s part of the game. Things happen.”
While Callahan wasn’t ready to call out Crosby, teammate Brandon Dubinsky was.
“That’s just a dirty play,” Dubinsky told MSG in an interview between periods. “That’s just the type of guy he is. He tried to get away with all that type of nonsense.”
Crosby, obviously, denied being a dirty player.
“How many penalty minutes do I have this year if I’m that dirty?” Crosby said after the game. “I mean, please. Show me all those dirty plays. It’s a battle and he falls. I think Dubie has done his fair share of things out there that are questionable. I guess he’s talking again. I’m not surprised.”
Despite the allegations of slew footing, Crosby said the contact between him and Callahan was incidental.
“[Callahan’s] holding me going up ice,” Crosby said. “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, but am I a dirty hockey player? Come on. I think Dubie is smarter than that.”
While the intentions of Crobsy on this particular play can’t be known, it’s not the first time the 23-year-old star of the league has been accused of questionable behavior. It’s not even the first time he’s pulled something against the Rangers, either, as he dove to draw a penalty on Marc Staal last March.
He’s also snuck in some late cross-checks in the closing seconds of a two-goal game, landed a few punches from behind a defenseless opponent (with his gloves on), offered a little late and unnecessary hit on Alex Ovechkin and seemingly caught Brett McLean by surprise by jumping him immediately after a faceoff.
The evidence against Crosby certainly exists, but such acts committed in the sport of hockey don’t necessarily make you a dirty player. It does raise players’ and fans’ awareness of the potential for another questionable decision, though, and such a damning remark from an opponent is something that speaks volumes.