Crosby needs change of scenery

Fire, speed not ev­i­dent this year in Pen­guins star

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - Is­lan­ders Old­timers hockey Har­ness rac­ing Fred MacDonald’s col­umn ap­pears ev­ery Satur­day in The Guardian. He can be reached at fid­dlers­facts@hot­ ◆New York Jets (10-5) at Buf­falo Bills (78) ◆Oak­land Raiders (7-8) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-5) ◆S

The more I fol­low the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins, the more I am con­vinced the great Sid­ney Crosby needs a change of scenery, if his bril­liant ca­reer is to con­tinue at the same level of ex­cel­lence that has, thus far, fash­ioned his ca­reer.

The Pen­guins man­age­ment, in­clud­ing owner Mario Lemieux, has not pro­tected Crosby or Ev­geni Malkin. In fact, it has al­lowed ri­vals to take lib­er­ties, like vi­cious cross-checks to the back and neck, el­bow shots to the head, butt ends and other as­sorted ques­tion­able hits no other su­per­star has been forced to en­dure.

The Pens never had any­one to pro­tect Crosby and Malkin, so re­mov­ing en­forcers from the game does not help Crosby and, in my view, has made the sit­u­a­tion worse.

There are other is­sues, which sug­gest a trade makes sense.

There have been ru­mours in re­cent weeks the Pen­guins camp is di­vided be­tween Malkin and Crosby. From the way the Pen­guins have played so far, that is cer­tainly be­liev­able.

Crosby is go­ing through the mo­tions and the fire and speed that once was a ma­jor part of his game is hardly no­tice­able. It is ob­vi­ous to hockey fans in this part of the coun­try, and likely in Pitts­burgh as well, that for the good of the Pen­guins, and for Crosby him­self, a change in his NHL ad­dress is needed.

For the thou­sands of Crosby fol­low­ers in this part of Canada, let’s hope a trade is made be­cause no­body wants to watch the 2015-16 version of Crosby.

Colum­bus Blue Jack­ets video scout Scott Har­ris from North Tryon took in Wed­nes­day’s Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey League game be­tween the Char­lot­te­town Is­lan­ders and Monc­ton Wild­cats.

Har­ris has fash­ioned a great ca­reer with Colum­bus and in fact was the video scout for the USA Olympic team last year un­der coach Todd Richards. For a while Wed­nes­day, I thought I was at Na­tion­wide Arena as I no­ticed Scott and ex-Blue Jack­ets play-by-play man Ge­orge Matthews ex­chang­ing sto­ries about their days in Colum­bus.

As for the hockey Is­lan­ders, they are ready for a strong sec­ond half and if all things fall in place, they could fin­ish in the top eight. I was at home with the flu for the past num­ber of days and I couldn’t find the Is­lan­der­sCape Bre­ton game on the ra­dio and I know they are broad­cast. Need a lit­tle help on this one!

The an­nual “Noon­ers” old­timers hockey tour­na­ment fin­ished dur­ing the hol­i­days and the Whites dumped Team Red by three goals in the two-game, to­tal-goal se­ries. Com­mis­sioner Mike (Wil­lis) Hen­nessey again re­cruited ex-NHL star Al McA­dam but once again found them­selves on the los­ing end. Keith (Bim) Ford pot­ted a pair for the win­ners in a fi­nal where both Cory Gray (Whites) and Jamie Cud­more came up with

big saves.

Live har­ness rac­ing con­tin­ues Sun­day at 12:30 p.m. at Red Shores at the Char­lot­te­town Driv­ing Park with a 15-dash card.

The $2,350 open mares is in­ter­est­ing as the Merid­ian Farm­sowned Barona Li­lac from Dar­ren Crowe’s Truro stable meets the best fe­male pacers on the Is­land. The $2,300 top class goes in Race 14 and an­other Truro in­vader, Mach Wheel with Dar­ren Crowe aboard, meets the likes of For­ever Par­adise, Smi­ley Bayama, Idealic Life, Tempo Seel­ster and Painted Desert from the rail.

Wood­bine kicks of its 2016 sea­son tonight with a 13-dash card and the $34,000 Race 2 top class has Erle Dale N leav­ing from the rail in the six-horse field.

Vet­eran P.E.I.-born horse­men Paul MacKen­zie and Gary MacDonald are home for a few days vis­it­ing fam­ily and friends. Th­ese are two of the best driv­ers ever to come out of here. Last week, I told read­ers the surest bet was the St. Louis Rams over the Seat­tle Seahawks es­pe­cially with the 13.5-point spread. Of course, I was cor­rect.

- The Jets im­pressed in beat­ing the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots. Vet­eran Jets QB Ryan Fitz­patrick has been ra­zor sharp of late and they’re the bet­ter foot­ball club. For­mer Jets boss Rex Ryan is now with the Bills and they’ve been up and down all sea­son. The Jets by four points.

Andy Reid’s Chiefs started 1-5 and have reeled off nine straight wins. This is a very un­der­rated club with a smart QB in Alex Smith, who does not turn the ball over. That’s one of the prob­lems with the Raiders and why I love the Chiefs.

- The Packers played like dogs in a lop­sided loss to Ari­zona, eight sacks on QB Aaron Rodgers. Bet­ting the Packers is like bet­ting a boxer com­ing off a knock­out loss. Green Bay is hor­ri­ble right now and I do not think they can re­bound. Take the four points and bet Min­nesota.


Pitts­burgh Pen­guins cen­tre Sid­ney Crosby, left, goes for the re­bound off the pads of Min­nesota Wild goalie De­van Dub­nyk Satur­day.

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