To Shake Hands or Not to Shake Hands? Why is This Even a Question?

The NHL may not have a handshake ‘rule,’ but it has become tradition after every playoff series comes to an end and for the last few years after the Winter Classic.

Well, not this year.

According to some it is OK that it was blown off by the Pittsburgh Penguins this year because it is not a regular-game rule. Why should showing good sportsmanship be a rule? Shouldn’t you just be a good sport? Isn’t that part of why you get paid to be a professional?

As for Sidney Crosby:

Do you not think you’re a role model? You are. You are the captain. As captain of your team, you are the leader — the one that your team is supposed to look up to, so of course kids are looking up to you. You take all these endorsement deals — why do you think you get them? Because you’re a role model, and the impressionable audience is supposed to relate to you and want to purchase these items.

What do you think blowing off the most basic of sportsmanship rituals does? It brings about a lack of respect for you. How hard is it to shake someone’s hand? Even if you hate someone, you can still show respect to him or her.

I remember the 2009 Cup Finals when the Penguins defeated the Detroit Red Wings, and everyone wanted to defend you saying you were young and that you were caught up in the moment of winning the cup. Saying that you forgot to shake Nicklas Lidstrom’s hand — well Jonathan Toews didn’t forget the handshake line in 2010 when the Chicago Blackhawks won the cup; and he was even younger than you were.

Now here it is Jan 1, 2011, and you have blatantly disrespected not only the Capitals and their captain Alex Ovechkin by not participating in the hand shake; but you have disrespected the league — and the fans. Most of all, you’ve done wrong by the kids that look up to you. Do they necessarily know what you did? No. But you know what they will not have? That awe-inspired “this is a true athlete, this is who I want to be” feeling. You have been quoted many times about your respect for Steve Yzerman and how he was your idol, yet you have missed out on the biggest lessons he taught to so many.

Respect. Class. Humility. Sportsmanship.

Edit: Toews was the third youngest to win the cup but the youngest to join the Triple Gold Club.