Was Sid out-of-line?

History was made Friday night when Sidney Crosby became the youngest captain in National Hockey League history to hoist the Stanley Cup. Yet, days later, it is what Crosby didn’t do that continues to make headlines.

Members of the Detroit Red Wings allege that Crosby’s prolonged celebration at game 7’s end, which led to a few missed handshakes, was “disrespectful” to them, and their captain, Nicklas Lidstrom. Today, on the same day the Penguins marched through the streets of Pittsburgh celebrating their Cup victory, several Detroit players re-iterated their displeasure with the 21-year old superstar.

“I think that’s one thing you should do,” said Henrik Zetterberg as the Red Wings cleaned out their lockers for the summer. “I don’t know why he didn’t do it, it’s disrespectful.”

Zetterberg was still lined up when Crosby made his way to centre ice to shake hands. Lidstrom, was not.

“You know you’re happy and celebrating with your teammates,” Lidstrom said. “But you know the losing team wants to get off the ice too. Sidney was probably caught up in the emotions and everything.”

Caught up in the emotions of winning a first Stanley Cup. Is that really so bad? You be the judge.

Did Sidney Crosby “snub” the Red Wings?

In 2008, the Red Wings spent exactly 2 minutes and 10 seconds celebrating, from the final whistle, to the first handshake. This past Friday, the Penguins celebrated for 2 minutes and 15 seconds between the same two points. A difference of 5 seconds. However, it took Crosby a total of 3 minutes and 35 seconds to join the line, a full minute and twenty seconds after his teammates started shaking hands.

And that is why the Red Wings are so ticked, because Sidney Crosby was 1 minute and 20 seconds late. Not because they lost the Stanley Cup, on home ice mind you, but because Crosby was 80 seconds late to take part in a ritual that has no set start time.

Perhaps instead of chastising Crosby, the media, the Red Wings and the rest of the National Hockey League should look beyond a minor inconvenience and focus on the big picture. Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final generated the highest American television audience (8 million viewers), for an NHL game in 36 years. I have my doubts that a Wings – Hurricanes Final would have garnered such attention. Perhaps the Red Wings should worry less about defending their captains honour off the ice and more about protecting him on the ice. It was revealed Sunday that Lidstrom underwent testicular surgery after being speared by Chicago’s Patrick Sharp in the Conference Final. Or perhaps this is just an outlet for a team that is used to winning, to vent its frustration. One thing is for sure, if getting caught up in the moment of realizing a life long dream, to the tune of missing a few handshakes, is the worst thing anyone can say about Sidney Crosby, then I choose to commend, not criticize him. After all, it’s not like he skipped out on the handshakes on purpose, (see Lebron James).

In the years to come, when history reflects on the 2009 Stanley Cup Final , it will remember Sidney Crosby for what he accomplished, not how he celebrated those accomplishments.

That being said, Crosby is well aware that you can’t please all the people all the time.

Prior to this incident, the knock on Sidney Crosby was, perhaps he yapped a little too much, complaining to the officials. Well, now the ‘complainer’ is a champion, and the former champions are left with nothing to do but…….complain.

M.P. Kelly