PITTSBURGH-- Sidney Crosby dismissed Rangers coach John Tortorella's comments calling him a whiny star on an arrogant team Friday as "garbage" gamesmanship that is equally unwarranted and undeserved.
Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins' elite center who is back on his game after missing 61 games this season with concussion-like symptoms, usually shrugs off criticism from an opposing coach or player. But he showed a bit of an edge Friday while dismissing Tortorella's rant following the Penguins' 5-2 win over the Rangers on Thursday night.
Tortorella also suggested Crosby and Penguins star Evgeni Malkin spend considerable time whining to the officials.
"I don't know what he's talking about. I mean, if you want you can put a camera on us all game, put a camera on [Rangers captain Ryan Callahan] all game. You'll see who's over there more [with the officials]. He should worry about his own players."
-- Penguins captain Sidney Crosby responding to postgame comments made by Rangers' coach John Tortorella
"I don't know what he's talking about," Crosby said following the Penguins' off day practice at their suburban practice rink. "I mean, if you want you can put a camera on us all game, put a camera on [Rangers captain Ryan Callahan] all game. You'll see who's over there more [with the officials]. He should worry about his own players."
Tortorella launched into a brief tirade aimed at Crosby, Malkin and the Penguins' organization after Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik took out Rangers center Derek Stepan with a knee-on-knee hit in the neutral zone late in the game. Stepan needed several minutes to get off the ice.
"That's one of the most arrogant organizations in sports," Tortorella said. "They whine about this stuff all the time. It's ridiculous. But they'll whine about something else over there, won't they? Starting with their two ... stars."
Tortorella used colorful language during his remarks, which also included the comment, "I wonder what would happen if we did it to their two whining stars? Wonder what would happen?"
Orpik drew a five-minute major penalty for kneeing and a game misconduct, but has not heard from the League about any potential further discipline. Earlier in the season, Rangers forward Mike Rupp wasn't suspended for a knee-to-knee hit Jan. 6 that sidelined Penguins center Jordan Staal for five weeks.
Tortorella's comments came only a few days after Flyers coach Peter Laviolette and assistant coach Craig Berube also chastised the Penguins, partly for center Joe Vitale's clean but punishing hit that leveled forward Danny Briere on Sunday.
"Crosby and Malkin are the dirtiest players on their hockey team," Berube told Comcast SportsNet in Philadelphia. "They slash, they punch guys in the face -- they do all these little things."
With the Penguins set to meet the Flyers in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals starting next week -- and the Rangers a possible opponent should Pittsburgh advance -- Crosby said the rival teams simply are engaging in pre-playoffs politicking.
Tortorella rips Pens for hit on StepanBy Alan Robinson - NHL.com Correspondent
Rangers coach John Tortorella turned his anger on the Penguins franchise after Brooks Orpik dropped New York center Derek Stepan with a knee-to-knee hit. READ MORE ›
"I don't know where all of this [gamesmanship] started, if this is part of the new tactics in the playoffs, but it's garbage," Crosby said. "The games are played on the ice. You get all of this stuff going on and it really is garbage. It's nonsense and if they want to do it, great, but I'm not going to waste my time answering questions about it all the time. It's getting pretty old."
Crosby added, "If anything they are trying to persuade the officials who are not making calls and second-guessing things. I hope it doesn't affect us. I really hope they aren't listening to that crap because it's nonsense. They are trying every which way to gain an advantage. Go ahead, try it, but we're not paying a lot of attention to it. It's just old."
Crosby said he's learned it doesn't do any good to argue penalties at length because the referees don't alter calls. He said, "I think after a while you learn it's a waste of your energy. It doesn't help anything."
"That's all it is, gamesmanship. They're trying to have an effect where I don't think they can have an effect," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.
Crosby agrees he yapped to the officials too much when he broke into the League at age 18 in 2005, but he said he has matured since then.
"It's coming out of Philly, which it has been coming out of for seven years since I've been in the League," he said. "I'll be the first one to admit that my first couple of years I was pretty hard on the refs. I've come a long way since then. I'm nowhere near what I was then and to get those kind of remarks every day is uncalled for and not warranted."
The Flyers, 5-0 at Consol Energy Center, return there Saturday for the second time in seven days to play an effectively meaningless game since the Penguins are locked into the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference and the Flyers are fifth.
Whether any of the emotion and intensity that were present throughout the Flyers' 6-4 win on Sunday is uncertain, especially given that the upcoming playoff series is what matters now to both teams.
"We're going to have a whale of a series," Bylsma said. "We respect them. We have a great adversary. There is a story line going on, but it will be played out on the ice."