Even more surprising than the sight of Flyers head coach breaking a stick over the dividing glass and jumping onto the dasher was the fact that the man holding him back from tearing the face off of Dan Bylsma’s head was Craig Berube. One of the most feared and fearless enforcers in his day, the Chief was the voice of reason that helped diffuse a powderkeg in the melee that marked the final minutes of the Flyers-Penguins game on Sunday.
Berube has seen and partaken in worse, so he understands what the Penguins were gunning for when they sent their tough guys onto the ice in Search & Destroy mode. But that doesn’t mean he disagreed with Lavvy’s objection to the tactic. While also conceding that the Flyers played a role in the build-up, particularly Brayden Schenn giving Sidney Crosby a crosscheck in the back, he pointed to the Pens’ stars’ own antics as the source.
Watch below as Berube describes Crosby and Evgeni Malkin as the dirtiest players on their team, while video shows that Schenn’s action was a reaction to Crosby’s hitting him behind the play first. Also evident in this extended video—which wasn’t part of most highlight clips floating around—is that Crosby knew Schenn was behind him, which might have led Crosby to embellish just a bit.
There’s also a great angle of Lavvy smashing Max Talbot’s stick over the glass…
OK so here’s the clip that’s been floating around and ran a few times during live air on Sunday. It admittedly looks like Crosby is merely skating back to the bench after his shift, and Schenn crosschecks him in the back—not terribly nastily, but solidly and in the back nonetheless.
Per usual, Crosby comes up in search of a call. Honestly, Schenn deserved the raised arm, too.
But there was more to the hit, and the build-up, which included numerous slashes by Crosby and plenty of dirty play by Malkin as well. On at least two occasions, NBC replays showed Crosby slashing Flyers, once on Claude Giroux and another on Jake Voracek.
More importantly, on the play in question with Schenn, Crosby was by no means an innocent. At around the 2:18 mark of the video below, watch as Sid hits Schenn first, then skates away not a few strides before Schenn hits him back. Also, it looks a bit more like a dive when you see the whole clip…
In the interest of fairness, we don’t see the 10-20 seconds that led up to Crosby’s hit on Schenn. Maybe there was even more to it. Point is, this kind of thing isn’t entirely uncommon behind the play, and Crosby had plenty to do with initiating a two-sided exchange, rather than merely being the victim of a dirty play. What Schenn was most guilty of was being obvious in his retaliation, practically begging for a call.
Aside from Lavvy and Pens assistant Tony Granato nearly fighting while doing a tightrope walk (very impressive balance btw) and Lavvy pulling the lumberjack, there isn’t a whole lot that’s crazily out of the ordinary about Sunday’s festivities. You can see why the NHL handed down their fines, and why Lavvy’s was so much more than Granato’s (the stick).
There was back and forth all game, and there will be again on Saturday and in the first round.