Crosby needs a history lesson
No, I'm not old enough to remember either event. Not quite.
But that's not the point. If you grew up playing hockey, the two traits for which those two famous photos stand were taught to you.
Baun is hockey's poster child for playing through pain. There aren't many games where there isn't some level of hurt involved. If Baun could do that on a broken foot -- and the man came back for a regular shift in Toronto's Game 7 win in the Cup final -- then being out of breath or having a bruise on your leg is not that great an ailment.
The Richard/Henry photo is the classic postgame handshake in this sport's history.
The Rocket had left the game early, having suffered a concussion. But he returned and scored the winning goal on Henry, who had played his Bruins within one victory of the Stanley Cup final.
The picture of the two battered men, respectfully shaking hands -- Henry is somewhat bent over, appearing to be slightly bowing to Richard -- says a lot about the handshake that ends an NHL playoff series.
The handshake is the ultimate sign of respect and tradition. It is the way that hard-fought series have ended for generations.
Sidney Crosby certainly lived up to hockey tradition in the style of Bobby Baun. Coming back in Game 7 against the Red Wings after suffering a painful knee injury was admirable.
But Crosby failed miserably when compared to his predecessors in the tradition of the handshake.
Crosby celebrated at one corner of the Joe Louis Arena ice surface last Friday while the Red Wings waited. He kept celebrating when Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom led his teammates to center ice. And Crosby continued to celebrate while Penguins like Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz -- Crosby's wingers -- were the first to greet the Red Wings at center ice.
Crosby made his way to the handshake line late, getting in just a half-dozen or so before returning to the Penguins' celebration.
And that was perhaps the best reason I've ever seen for not having a 21-year-old as your captain. It was an immature act by someone who needed to lead, not be in the conga line. Guerin acted like a leader on that team.
Crosby was not caught up in anything but his own moment when he didn't join the handshake line. Other than a network interview or two, there was no media allowed on the ice surface until 20 minutes after the game. There was no one allowed out there other than the people that came through the Pittsburgh locker room.
In other words, there wasn't a whole lot to get done other than shake hands. And if you ask me, shaking hands with the team that you just dethroned as hockey's champions would be something that I'd be quite eager to do.
Shaking hands after a series or tournament or individual game is something that Sidney Crosby has been doing since he was 4 or 5 years old. He did it at the World Juniors. I'm sure he did it at Shattuck St. Mary's. He did it playing Timbits hockey as a kid. It's not something that snuck up on him.
To me, Crosby joining the handshake line late made him look like a young man absorbed in himself, fixated on his personal glory.
That's not something you want in a captain. It's most certainly not something you want in the player who is the face of the entire league.
Rocket Richard found his way to the handshake line less than an hour after suffering a concussion. Sidney Crosby was unable to do the same.