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Sidney Crosby Stands By Claim That Zdeno Chara Punched Injured Jaw During Conference Finals

BOSTON (CBS) -- A little over a month ago, Sidney Crosby's agent brought video to TSN's Darren Dreger. He claimed the footage showed Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara targeting and landing a punch to Sidney Crosby's jaw in a post-whistle scrum during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Perhaps Crosby himself did not want to speak publicly about the punch while the Stanley Cup Final was taking place, so as not to be accused of stealing attention away from the two conference champions who were battling it out on hockey's grandest stage. But now, Crosby's talking about it, and he's standing by the claims.

The folks at Yahoo's Puck Daddy blog came across an interview from CTV, in which Crosby states that Chara punched his jaw and a penalty should have been called.

"It's part of the game," Crosby told CTV. "Refs can't always see that kind of stuff. There's nothing you can do. It's part of the game. Guys are going to do that. I can't do anything. If Zdeno Chara's going to decide he's going to punch me, what am I going to do? So, you kinda hope it gets called and if it doesn't, you play through it."

Much of Crosby's complaint last month had to do with the fact that the hit in question came in Crosby's first game without the protective shield that kept his jaw safe. However, Crosby said in his CTV interview that his jaw was just fine when he was on the ice.

"It was pretty good," Crosby said of his jaw's condition during the playoffs. "I got a couple of shots that didn't feel great, but nothing that I felt hindered my play, or anything less than anyone else was playing through at the time of the year. So, I was really happy with the way it responded. It got tested a couple of times, and it was fine."

So, Crosby says his jaw was perfectly fine, yet he continues to claim that Chara intentionally targeted that jaw and did enough damage that it's worth talking about nearly two months after the fact. There is also the bit about the "punch" being nothing more than a post-whistle shove that takes place during countless stoppages of play in every single NHL game.

Chara punching Crosby in real time (what actually happened) 6/1/13 by dafoomie on YouTube

And yet, Crosby stands by the belief that it was a punch. Anything said about Crosby in June can just be echoed in July.

It reflected poorly on him a month ago, when he sent his agent on the mission to spread the news of the punch two weeks after it happened, even leading Dreger to pull Zdeno Chara aside in the middle of the Stanley Cup Final to show him the footage. Now, another month removed from a nothing play, Crosby looks even worse. He says "It's part of the game," but if he really believed that, those would be his only words.

Read more from Michael Hurley by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.


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