That the Penguins lost again in San Jose wasn’t a shocker; it seems that always happens.
But the manner in which their 5-3 setback on Thursday night played out was staggering.
Sidney Crosby was a career-worst minus 5.
And he earned it.
Never was Crosby’s lack of engagement more apparent than on the short-handed goal that tied the game at 2-2 early in the third period.
Crosby created what turned into a golden opportunity for Patrick Marleau by attempting a cross-ice pass through a couple of defenders in the San Jose end (bad puck management).
Crosby then compounded the error by refusing to chase the play, choosing instead to coast in pursuit while Marleau was in the process of beating Evgeni Malkin and eventually Jeff Zatkoff (bad effort).
Crosby was at the San Jose blueline, maybe two strides off the pace, when Marleau received the puck and began steaming toward the Penguins end.
Back-pressure by Crosby could have greatly benefitted Malkin and Zatkoff against Marleau.
Instead, Crosby took one stride after he crossed the red line and zero strides after he’d reached the Pittsburgh blueline.
Maybe Marleau would have scored, anyway.
But to have Marleau do so after Crosby had quit on the play was appalling.
It was about 180 degrees from where Crosby had been while winning the gold medal with Team Canada in Sochi.
It was un-Crosby-like.
It was un-captain-like.
It was unacceptable.
No more evidence of Crosby’s obvious frustration level right about now need be sought.
And that’s a problem.
If the Penguins aren’t going to get all-out effort all the time from their captain, what chance do they have of attaining the same from mere mortals?
Add that to the list of issues heading into Anaheim.