With the NHL currently on hiatus due to the Coronavirus, hockey fans on social media are bringing out the time machine and revisiting old prominent moments in hockey history.
One particular moment that many younger mans may not be familiar with is a hilarious feud between Ilya Kovalchuk of the Atlanta Thrashers and Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins that occured during a game at Philips Arena back in January of 2006. Crosby was in the middle of his rookie season, while Kovalchuk was playing in his fourth NHL campaign.
The play started in the Penguins offensive zone when Crosby laid a questionable hit on Atlanta forward Slava Kozlov along the boards. Kovalchuk then broke in on a rush and later received a hit from behind from Crosby and a whack in the shin pads region. The two forwards were mixing it up and the 22-year-old Kovalchuk goated the 18-year-old Crosby into taking a penalty. Kovalchuk had plenty of opportunities to respond to Crosby’s whacking, but the Russian sniper showed his maturity by restraining himself and letting Crosby take the penalty.
Later in the period when Crosby was back out of the penalty box, Kovalchuk drove him into the boards from behind with no call from the referee. The Penguins rookie was visibly upset on the play and shaking his head in frustration on the bench to express his disagreeance with the call.
Crosby later got called for a another undisciplined penalty in the second period and the Atlanta broadcast commentators went in on Crosby for his “whining”. On the ensuing Thrashers power play, Kovalchuk unleashed a cannon from the point past Pittsburgh netminder Marc-Andre Fleury to open the scoring. Immediately after blasting home the power-play goal, Kovalchuk turned and pointed twice at Crosby in the penalty box. Kovalchuk was clearly teaching Crosby a lesson about taking undisciplined penalties in the NHL and the consequences that they have. Kovalchuk led all NHL players with 27 power-play goals that season.
Crosby didn’t seem to pleased with Kovalchuk’s gesture, as the Pittsburgh center voiced his displeasure while exiting the penalty box. Some easy lip reading will tell you Crosby exclaimed “f**king joke, f**k you!” towards Kovalchuk or an official after the goal.
Kovalchuk was one of the most lethal goal-scorers of all time in his prime. Crosby is now considered one of the best players to ever play the game. Did Sid the Kid learn his lesson from Kovalchuk? Consider this. After racking up a whopping 110 PIM in his rookie season, Crosby has never even come close to racking up 100 PIM in a season ever again.