After reading John Steigerwald’s column in the May 18 Observer-Reporter, I wonder if he’s patronizing the fans, didn’t do any research or has just gone insane.
He’s suggesting Sidney Crosby retire because opposing teams are targeting him. He backed up his statement by referring to quotes by hockey icon Don Cherry. Suddenly, according to Steigerwald, this man’s opinion is to be regarded as gospel. Funny how when this same guy was critical of Mario Lemieux, Tom Barrasso, Jaromir Jagr, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, he was viewed as an idiot. Now, he’s an expert.
Steigerwald said Lemieux’s retirement was caused by his not being protected by players who were targeting him, like Darius Kasparaitis. He neglected to mention the Penguins acquired Kasparaitis, and when he targeted opposing star players, it was said to be just a part of hockey.
The Penguins tried to get themselves a “cop” when they acquired Matt Cooke, who had taken out numerous players in the league. That plan backfired when he cleaned up his game. He was released.
Steigerwald also called Lemieux the greatest hockey player who ever lived. The greatest hockey player was Robert Gordon Orr, who played for the Boston Bruins and Chicago Black Hawks. He retired before he was 30 because his knee was gone. What caused his knee damage? He gave 120 percent every night and was the target of almost every player in the league.
While Steigerwald is witch-hunting to determine why the team favored to win the Stanley Cup three years in a row hasn’t made it past the second round, he need look no further than the goal mouth. The Penguins have more offensive talent than any team in the league. But until they learn to take care of their own end of the ice, they will get nowhere.
As for Crosby retiring like Lemieux because of the targeting, remember Lemieux came out of retirement when attendance was down and the team was losing money. Top players have been targeted for years.