A mild controversy in the Winter Classic broke out at the very end of the second period when Pittsburgh star center Sidney Crosby was clipped by Caps forward David Steckel. Both players appeared to be looking in the opposite direction. But no question Crosby caught a blow to the face and crumpled to the ice. Pittsburgh trainers attended to him by their bench and Crosby returned to the ice for the third period. Opinions – as they so often do when it comes to NHL justice – differed. But on-ice officials made no penalty call, for what that’s worth. The collision happened well behind the play.

Crosby didn’t have much comment. Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma also said he couldn’t see the play from his angle on the bench and that he hadn’t seen a reply yet. My opinion? He’ll have a stronger, more negative opinion in private. But Bylsma did say an Penguins official watching from above thought it might have been incidental contact. 

“I couldn’t even tell you what happened,” Crosby said. “I think the puck was going the other way. I turned and the next thing I know I am down…Got my head, that’s for sure.”

We'll know by Monday if there is any kind of fine or suspension from the NHL. I'm going to guess no - though I've been wrong before in that area. For what it's worth here is Steckel’s take on the play:

“I didn’t even know it was him until I looked back. I haven’t seen the hit yet. Obviously, it wasn’t intentional. I was just trying to get up in the play. He was there when I turned around I guess.”

Follow me on Twitter @bmcnally14