Puck Daddy

Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and the disconnected Xbox controller

Greg Wyshynski
Puck Daddy

Sidney Crosby had one of the worst games of his NHL career on Thursday night against the San Jose Sharks. Zero points. A career-worst minus-5, on a night in which the Sharks won 5-3. One shot on goal amidst four shot attempts.

And this happened, on Patrick Marleau’s shorthanded goal at 5:18 of the third period:

Crosby skated hard and then trailed the play, allowing Evgeni Malkin to attempt to defend Marleau one-on-one and, well, you can see how well that went.

The view from the corner camera was rather incriminating re: Crosby’s effort on the play. Which led to one of the Internet’s burgeoning memes being applied to Sid – the Xbox controller disconnected meme. This one’s by the great Ann Frazier:

View gallery

.

Crosby Controller Disconnected

It’s hilarious, of course. Just as it was when Alex Ovechkin coasted into the Capitals zone on “defense” against the New York Rangers on this classic GIF:

View gallery

.

Ovechkin Controller Disconnect

My first reaction was that this was unfairly maligning Crosby, who by all accounts is a better than average defensive player and is like the love child of Pavel Datsyuk and Patrice Bergeron when compared to Ovechkin.

But beyond that, what was his responsibility on this play? Backcheck Marleau at the risk of a penalty? Be ready to transition to offensive on what could be a 4-on-3 the other way? Stand there and do nothing?

Of course, Ovechkin’s Xbox moment was similar snapshot. But guys like Mike Milbury have made it a hobby to collect these moments and use them as evidence in a larger trend, which is that Ovechkin is atrocious defensively. (Spoiler: He sorta is.)

But what do either of them realy tell us?

They’re both a symptom of a highlight culture in sports media, in which plays are reduced to a few seconds of cathartic offense or blundering defense without context. The rise of GIFs (and for Yahoo iPhone users, “Loops”) has raised this to an art form: a single moment is played, replayed and serves as substantiation for all of us who are too lazy to wait for YouTube.

But if you look at the total play in the NHL.com clip and then the GIF for Crosby … well, the added context is either exonerating (he was coasting in, letting Malkin and the goalie handle it) or damning (he was coasting in, letting Malkin and the goalie handle it?!).

We recently moved to a publishing platform here on Y! Sports that’s going to allow for more GIFs, which is great, because they’re a fascinating way to capture an emotion or convey a point or highlight a play if there’s no long-form video asset available. (Like the Kassian play last night.)

But for the purposes of breaking down a play, they’re as myopic a device as building a story about a single tweet, from a journalistic standpoint.

That said … they’re also funny as [expletive] when the two biggest stars in the NHL both appear to have accidentally shut off their controllers on a defensive play. LONG LIVE THE XBOX MEME!

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.
    • Simmonds leads Flyers past Predators 4-2 for 5th straight

      Simmonds leads Flyers past Predators 4-2 for 5th straight

      The Philadelphia Flyers are the hottest team in hockey. Wayne Simmonds scored two power-play goals and Philadelphia beat the Nashville Predators 4-2 on Sunday night to win its fifth consecutive game. Playing in front of a sellout crowd, the Flyers … More »

      AP - Sports - 25 minutes ago
    • WHL Roundup: Adam Brooks showing no signs of slowing down as Pats beat Broncos

      SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. — Dawson Leedahl had a pair of goals and Adam Brooks added to his league-leading point total with a goal and two assists as the Regina Pats doubled up the host Swift Current Broncos 6-3 on Sunday in Western Hockey League action. … More »

      The Canadian Press - 31 minutes ago
    • Nielsen glad to put 1st game against Islanders behind him

      Nielsen glad to put 1st game against Islanders behind him

      Frans Nielsen is glad to have his first game against the New York Islanders since leaving as a free agent last summer behind him. ''There was some nerves,'' Nielsen said Sunday night after assisting on a goal in the Detroit Red Wings' 4-3 overtime … More »

      AP - Sports - 48 minutes ago
    • DeKeyser lifts Wings over Isles in OT

      DeKeyser lifts Wings over Isles in OT

      Detroit coach Jeff Blashill liked the way his team bounced back after a tough loss against the defending champions the previous night and a difficult third period in which the Red Wings twice gave up the lead. Danny DeKeyser scored 1:02 into … More »

      AP - Sports - 1 hour 4 minutes ago
    • Copp scores late, Jets win in Chicago

      Copp scores late, Jets win in Chicago

      Andrew Copp scored the tiebreaking goal with 4:45 left, Bryan Little got his third goal in three games and the Winnipeg Jets edged the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on Sunday night. Copp beat Scott Darling on the stick side with a shot from the right … More »

      AP - Sports - 1 hour 13 minutes ago