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Morning Skate: P.K. Subban’s ‘bad breath’ is a minor victory over Sidney Crosby

Stanley Cup Final mind games are fun.

2017 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Three Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Lace 'em up. Time for the Morning Skate.

And so Catfishgate morphs into Breathgate.

When P.K. Subban claimed to Pierre McGuire that Sidney Crosby accused him of bad breath during Game 3, we all cheered and fist pumped and laughed. Oh, P.K. Only he would say such a thing after a huge Stanley Cup Final win. And the Sidney Crosby haters probably lapped it up, too.

So, naturally, it was Crosby's turn to answer the claim. And he did on Sunday, telling reporters that Subban made it all up. Here's part of his quote, as transcribed by ESPN:

When asked if Subban was trying to get under his skin and see how he'd react to the claim, Crosby agreed, saying "that's part of it."

"He likes the attention and things like that," Crosby said. "If he wants to make things up, what can I do?"

Crosby is one-third wrong here and two-thirds absolutely correct.

P.K. obviously wasn't telling the truth, but I'm not sure it was about attention. The interview came moments after an emotional Game 3; I doubt P.K. had time to come up with a story like that. He's a funny guy, and that Listerine story was the first thing to pop into his head.

And this is hockey. Of course Crosby didn't say something as lame as "your breath stinks!" Just look at what his teammate said to P.K. moments before. That's much more in line with on-ice smack talk.

But where Crosby's right on is the head games comment. Not only did P.K. finish up a big win with a playful dig at Crosby, but he ensured that Crosby would have to answer questions about bad breath in the lead-up to Game 4.

"Are you guys gonna ask him that? Well, it'll be interesting to see if he says what he said last night," Subban said.

They did ask him that. It did become a story. A thing. Was it pre-meditated? Probably not. But it worked exactly as it should. Crosby is right that Subban likes attention; he also thrives under it. Crosby isn't that kind of player.

Subban created Breathgate with a throwaway joke. That it dragged the Penguins' star player underneath the media circus spotlight with him for just a moment before Game 4 is an added bonus for the Predators.


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