Sidney Crosby Should Seek Sports Psychologist

Sidney Crosby should seek a sports psychologist. (Photo Credit: Andy Martin Jr)

Sidney Crosby should seek a sports psychologist. (Photo Credit: Andy Martin Jr)

Sidney Crosby should seek a sports psychologist to end his subpar playoff performances of the past few years. He’s scored one goal in his last 18 post-season games. The playoffs are about production and Crosby’s stat line isn’t getting the job done.

It’s not for lack of physical attributes or hockey talent. Crosby has a problem between the ears. His focus and confidence take a turn for the worst once the playoffs begin. Crosby must snap out of this mental funk if the Pittsburgh Penguins want to hoist another Stanley Cup.

Crosby can say all of the right things as he did when he was questioned about his performance in the year’s playoffs. He said that he was healthy and wasn’t hampered by a nagging injury. Regardless Crosby played the worst hockey of his career.

Since the Penguins’ season ended, everyone wants to know why Crosby played below his potential. It makes no sense. Crosby has a mantle full of individual awards and a Stanley Cup ring. He’s known for his rigorous training on and off of the ice.

Players, coaches, and trainers had the ability to see if Crosby possessed a physical ailment. But nothing leaked out about Crosby hiding an injury of any type. His physical tools were at full throttle, but Crosby appeared to look uninspired and completely lost at times in the 2014 post-season. That’s why it’s sensible to believe that Crosby has some sort of confidence or mental issue. It’s also why he must put his pride aside and seek out a sports psychologist.

The referees call fewer penalties and give more freedom in the post-season, but Crosby has yet to realize this fact. He whines to the referees every time he’s on the receiving end of a questionable hit. He should know better than anyone that fewer penalties are called in the playoffs. Instead, Crosby acts as if he’s entitled to a power play if he’s touched the wrong way.

Sidney Crosby Claude Giroux fighting

Claude Giroux did a fabulous job of throwing Sidney Crosby off his game when these two met in the first round of 2011-2012 playoffs. (Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE)

He needs to quit the trash talking as well. This doesn’t help Crosby score goals and doesn’t portray him as a leader. Crosby’s trash talking seems to detract from him and the team focusing on the bigger goal at hand. Yet, Crosby can find something worth talking about when his team gets swept in the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals or blows a 3-1 series lead against the New York Rangers.

Crosby hasn’t been able to change by himself. A sports psychologist would help Crosby centralize his focus and ignore what opponents are doing to throw him off of his game. More importantly, a few sessions with a doctor might help Crosby concentrate on winning playoff hockey games, leading his team, and producing like the face of the NHL is supposed to produce in the playoffs.

A sports psychologist worked for Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury had poor showings in two straight playoff seasons. In this year’s playoffs, many fans believed that Fleury was going to crumble after his Game 4 gaffe against the Columbus Blue Jackets. But Fleury thrived when faced with adversity and bounced back to win the next two games. Fleury spent last summer with a sports psychologist and proved a little help from a doctor can improve a player.

Marc-Andre Fleury bounced back to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets after a crucial mistake in Game 4 of the 2014 Playoffs. (Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports)

Marc-Andre Fleury bounced back to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets after a crucial mistake in Game 4 of the 2014 Playoffs. (Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports)

Hockey is supposed to be fun and inspiring, but Crosby made playoff hockey look like torture this year. He must address his issues and get to the root of his problems.

Instead of Crosby wasting his words by talking trash, he should resolve his problems by visiting a sports psychologist. A few sessions, at the very least, should help Crosby do something more positive in the playoffs. The Penguins need their captain to be their best player, not their biggest liability.


Justin Glock
Justin Glock has covered the Pittsburgh Penguins for The Hockey Writers since 2011. As a lead writer, his Penguins knowledge traces back over two decades. For any requests, please feel free to contact Justin via email: JGlock10@gmail.com.
Justin Glock

11 Comments

  1. SuitcaseJohnny says:

    I didn’t even read the whole article. He doesn’t need psychiatric help. Hardly anyone scored vs Boston. Two of the four games were shutouts. I don’t blame Sid for not being able to score in that series. He hit several posts, but the Pens had zero bounces go their way in that series. That can happen, I guess.

    As for this year, he was mugged the entire Columbus series, and Marc Staal tried to, literally, take his head off two games in a row vs NYR. How about, instead of blaming Sid’s mental state for his lack of goals, we blame the NHL for letting the headhunting go on without punishment in the playoffs.

    Keith Jones, of NBC, was interviewed on a Pittsburgh radio station during the Rangers/Pens series, and he was asked about the way the Rangers were playing against Crosby. He said something to the effect of, “in the playoffs, it’s easier to shutdown a superstar, than it is for that star to shine.” Think about that. He’s basically saying, the league allows lesser players to do whatever they have to, to take the league’s best players out of the game. Legal or not. By prefacing his statement with,”in the playoffs,” he’s admitting that the rules are different than they are in the regular season. Basically, less skilled players are allowed to cheat in the playoffs. It’s just a fact. Watch the games, and tell me you don’t think it’s true.

    Why on Earth would the NHL allow this, at a time when your league is in the national spot light?? The post-season should be a time for the stars to be showcased, not beat into submission with no penalties called. That was Sid’s problem. He was frustrated by the beating, and more than that, the fact that nothing was done about it. Anyone who says the league protects its star players is completely ignorant.

    This is why the NHL will always be a second-tier professional sports league. If I was a casual fan, tuning in to see some of the greatest hockey players in the world display their skill, and I saw the league’s marquee player getting crosschecked in the back of the head, on more than one occasion, I would shake my head and change the channel. The NHL is a complete joke in the playoffs, and I’ll never understand it.

  2. While I think you make a decent suggestion, I think you’re way off in your reasoning. While Sid’s performance this post-season was abysmal, he showed that he has grown a lot from his previous whining tendencies. He took a serious beating from Columbus and kept his mouth shut the entire time. I don’t care what he says to other players, but he was not complaining to the refs this year. A huge improvement. There was enough negative to focus on, let’s at least not add to it unnecessarily.

    • That’s a fair assessment. Thanks for reading and commenting. He needs to stop the excess stuff from getting to him though. Whether you disagree with my reasoning or not, I do think he let what you’re referring to with Columbus bother him a lot.

  3. What kind of psychologist can we refer you to to make you decent writer? I didn’t know we were allowed to judge others recent work (but only the bad parts – lets not worry ourselves with all the stats that place Sid 1st in active players points per game in playoffs) and then based on on solely our observations determine that they’re in need of counselling. If only i’d known about this last week maybe I could have prevented having to be subjected this article and to your continued attempts at “journalism”.

    • Thanks for reading Domino. We can lean on the Crosby is a point-per-game guy forever, but he has 1 goal in his last 18 playoff games. Had all secondary assists in the 2014 playoffs, except for one, and had 0 points against the Buins in the 2013 ECF. There’s some stats. That’s old news. This isn’t to slight him. I hope he succeeds. But I doubt that you consider his performances in the past 3 playoff years acceptable. I highly doubt he’s a point-per-game guy during that time either. I want him to improve that’s why this was suggested.

  4. I acknowledge that a sports psychologist could help Crosby who obviously has something going on during playoffs but trash talking?? Don’t really remember that and his wining to refs has not really been a problem for a long time considering the fact that he gets knocked around worse then just about anybody.

    • Trash talking with Chara at the end of the period in a series in which he scored 0 points. He also was getting into stuff concerning the spearing incident with Dominic Moore. He does complain to the refs less, but he needs to fight through the physicality. Jonathan Toews gets annihilated in the playoffs and just gets up and keeps playing. Toews is half the size of Crosby. Crosby wants a PP or gets distracted.

      • Toews started that very same playoffs you’re referring to by not scoring for the first 10 games. He also had multiple meltdowns in that Detroit series and had to be talked down by a line mate. Next time you use a player as an example you could maybe research it? Try the hockey news i remember they had a a few articles on that.

        • Toews has two Cups, and like four or five ECF appearances. What’s your point? Multiple meltdowns? I remember one in the penalty box with Seabrook calming him down. You also neglect to mention that the Blackhawks “won” that series against Detroit on their way to winning the Stanley Cup. I also don’t consider Toews the best player in the world as I do Crosby.

  5. Anything positive to write about Sidney Crosby? He’s the best player in the world and just won 3 Awards you know..starting to think that you just DON’T like the guy.

    • This isn’t to slight him. I hope Crosby always does well. But this isn’t about individual awards. It’s about winning Cups. I think this would help him. He has the talent but his focus was somewhere else in the playoffs this year. He’s the best player in the world, but I’d like that to apply in the playoffs.

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