SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — San Jose center Logan Couture says Sidney Crosby isn’t the only player cheating in faceoffs in the Stanley Cup Final.
Couture said that he, teammate Joe Thornton and just about every other player who gets in the faceoff circle tries for any sort of edge they can get, legal or otherwise.
“Everyone cheats on faceoffs,” Couture said Friday. “I cheat, Jumbo cheats. That’s how you try to win draws. He’s one of the best at it. He wins a lot of faceoffs.”
Couture caused a bit of a storm after Game 2 when he accused Crosby of cheating on faceoffs. It was a faceoff win by Crosby in overtime that set up Pittsburgh’s game-winning goal by Conor Sheary that gave the Penguins a 2-0 series lead.
As the Sharks prepare for Game 3, Couture said he wasn’t trying to lobby linesmen to kick Crosby out of the circle in future games.
“Not at all,” he said. “These guys are the best in the world at what they do. I have no complaints of the officials throughout these playoffs. They’ve been very, very good.”
Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan didn’t even want to respond to Couture’s allegations on Thursday but does agree with the Sharks center on one aspect: Everyone is cheating to an extent.
“That’s all part of being a center iceman, trying to figure out a way to get an edge and be successful,” Sullivan said. “Sid isn’t doing anything their guys aren’t doing.”
Crosby won 26 of 40 faceoffs the first two games, none more important than the clean win in the offensive zone against Joel Ward in overtime in Game 2 that set up Sheary’s goal.
Couture wasn’t in the faceoff circle for that draw and Ward took the blame on himself for the play.
“I just have to be better is the bottom line,” he said.
Couture is one of the few Sharks to hold his own against Crosby in the faceoff circle this series, winning four of seven draws. But San Jose has struggled as a team on draws this postseason. After winning 50.7 percent of faceoffs in the regular season for the 10th best mark in the league, the Sharks are last of all 16 playoff teams at 46.7 percent in the postseason.
“You find better centermen out there,” Couture said. “It’s tough. It’s a little part of the game we want to improve at and be better at but there are bigger aspects of our game we want to get better at.”
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