I don't hate Crosby. Never have. I did hate the whining he used to do when he first broke into the League to the refs whenever he thought he was garnering too much attention in any given night. But he's over that now which likely came with age and maturity. I do believe he is an exceptional hockey talent, no doubt about it, and very likely the penultimate player in the game today. With that said, however, I really enjoy games that the Sens play against him IF they can shut him down....not because I dislike him, but it simply means that my team (aka the one I'm cheering for) shut him down and that is not an easy task.
I am not surprised, classmate, that the atmosphere in Pittsburgh's arena is better than Ottawa. But I believe that Pittsburgh has a more "blue collar" fan base as opposed to Ottawa's. In any sport, Ottawa has seldom been known for his raucousness. It's not just hockey. That's demographics and the people populating the area more than fanaticism, IMHO.
Seems to me that the Islanders backed off Sid the Kid last night for the most part...legal hits or otherwise. Not to infer that he got four points - on five goals - because they "let him go" but he certainly seemed 'untouchable' for the most part and the two times there was contact on him, it was minor to minimal. Of course, it was the Islanders and they are not exactly burning up the League or anything but I saw hits on other Penguins. Although he could have simply been THAT good on the night....he is an amazing hockey player. And good for him to have such a stellar night on his first outing back after a horrific injury.
And for the record....I was shocked that Steckel did not get extra-discipline (never mind he didn't even get a penalty, I don't think) on his original hit on Crosby back on January 1st. But as the CBC showed last night, that outdoor "classic" was played in anything but classic conditions with all the rain, mushy ice, etc. Frankly, Pittsburgh and Washington were likely lucky no one broke a leg or something! But the refs had their hands full trying to keep track of why players were going down and, likely, maintaining their own (the refs) pace for the game in crappy conditions. That game was, literally, an accident waiting to happen. Awful that it turned into a train wreck for Crosby.
The Penguins play, I think, Columbus next and then Ottawa on Friday. It will be interesting to see if Sid has to "fight through" more physical tests as the week goes on.
P.S.: I felt awful for the Isles' goaltender last night. What a horrible way to play one's first NHL start!