PITTSBURGH - Sidney Crosby isn't apologizing for unintentionally failing to shake hands with some Detroit players after Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, saying he didn't realize the Red Wings were leaving the ice before he joined the handshake line.
During a chaotic post-game scene on the crowded Joe Louis Arena ice following Pittsburgh's 2-1 victory on Friday, Crosby was ushered to several live TV interviews by NHL personnel, hugged some teammates and was handed the Stanley Cup by commissioner Gary Bettman.
Crosby was celebrating when Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom, alternate captain Kris Draper and some other key Red Wings players went to their dressing room. Crosby estimates he shook hands with about half the team, including goalie Chris Osgood and coach Mike Babcock, who congratulated him on his leadership ability.
That wasn't enough to satisfy Draper, who told The Associated Press that "Nick was waiting and waiting, and Crosby didn't come over to shake his hand. That's ridiculous, especially as their captain, and make sure you write that I said that!"
Crosby finds any suggestion that he would intentionally avoid shaking hands nonsensical, saying, "It's the easiest thing in the world to shake hands after you win."
After losing is different, as the Penguins experienced a year ago against Detroit, so Crosby understands why some Red Wings players quickly shook hands and left before the Penguins' post-game celebration began.
"I really don't need to talk to anyone from Detroit about it," Crosby said Sunday. "I made the attempt to go shake hands. I've been on that side of things, too, I know it's not easy, waiting around. I just won the Stanley Cup, and I think I have the right to celebrate with my teammates.
"On their side of things, I understand if they don't want to wait around."
At 21, Crosby is the youngest captain to win a Stanley Cup, but he routinely shows an understanding of NHL traditions and it would be out of character for him to snub any such ritual.
"I had no intentions of trying to skip guys and not shake their hands," Crosby said. "I think that was a pretty unreasonable comment. The guys I shook their hands with, they realized I made the attempt. If I could shake half their team's hands, I'm sure the other half wasn't too far behind. I don't know what happened there.
"I have no regrets. I've been on both sides of it, and it's not fun being on the losing end. But it doesn't change anything. You still shake hands no matter what."