Washington coach Barry Trotz won’t be cutting Penguins center Sidney Crosby any slack in the teams’ second-round playoff series that starts Thursday. Nor will he afford himself the luxury of admiring Crosby’s skill.
On the eve of the series, though, Trotz allowed himself to heap some praise on the decorated star who is considered the top player of his generation.
Trotz was on the Team Canada coaching staff when Crosby starred at the World Cup of Hockey in 2016.
“I knew Sid was a terrific player. Everybody knows it,” Trotz said in a press conference with reporters Wednesday. “But on the big stage, he’s got great leadership skills. That was a best-on-best tournament, and who were the best players in that tournament? He raises his game all the time. I have a lot of respect.”
And then, well, it was a little hard to discern, but it seemed as if he got just a little emotional when he segued into talking about Crosby as a person.
“I know he gets pulled in a lot of different directions, but he’s very personable, very sincere in a lot of ways,” Trotz said. “I remember sitting outside of the hotel, and my son was on his iPad – my special needs son – and he didn’t know my son. He sat next to him and started talking to him and playing on the iPad with him.
“He’s a solid guy. Good representative for the game.”
Trotz then seemed to snap out of it. He shut down a couple follow-up questions about Crosby, referring the reports to Crosby or Penguins coach Mike Sullivan.
Caps Are Hurting, Too
It’s not on the level of the Penguins missing Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin, but Washington has a couple of injuries going into the series, too.
Forward Andre Burakovsky is “week to week,” Trotz said and so is out at least for the start of the Penguins series because of an undisclosed injury he got in the first round against Columbus. He apparently had a minor surgical procedure last week. Trotz said Burakovsky could resume skating soon.
In addition, winger T.J. Oshie is playing through a nagging injury. He has been skipping practices.
“We’re going with the same lineup, so he’s fine,” Trotz said, downplaying the ailment. “We tell players if you need some time (away from practice), take it off, but if you’re ready to play and you’re ready to go, then you’re in.”