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Crosby Can Make The Game Great Again

from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province,

The NHL’s star machine, in fact, is broken. You know about Crosby’s concussion history. Ovechkin, who has fewer goals this season than Scott Hartnell, is a fraction of his former self. Many of the graduates from ’03 — Ryan Getzlaf, Jeff Carter, Eric Staal, Ryan Kesler — have plateaued after showing such early promise. Doughty has regressed. So have others.

As a result, the game has become flat and monochromatic. The business of sports is about many things but, first and foremost, it’s about entertainment and that requires stars. Crosby was not only the game’s best all-around player, he was also its face and a figure who reached beyond hockey’s regional limitations. Sid sold in the States. He sold to the networks. He attracted non-traditional fans.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the game missed that the way a three-year-old misses his mother.

Can Crosby be that guy again? The NHL had better hope so. The Penguins need Crosby’s production but the league needs his presence. It needs an offensive star. It needs someone who excites the fans. It needs someone who can take the game forward.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: sidney+crosby

Comments

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It doesn’t matter. The dead puck era has returned and the game is sliding back into obscurity . And do you know why its not gonna change anytime soon? Because the GM’s actually considered putting the two-line pass back in, yet no mention of re-inforcing the no tolerence for obstruction hooking ect.. Also the reduction of goalie gear back to some sort of sane level is not even being considered. No doubt Crosby is great and can put up big numbers but I doubt that even he could score more than 100 points in a full season the way the game is being called. January 1 2012 mark it down because its the beginning of the dead puck era part 2. It proves one thing, hockey must be the greatest sport on earth because no other game could survive this type of incompetent leadership.

Posted by Patrick Oneill from Yonkers NY on 03/16/12 at 02:41 AM ET

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“Crosby was not only the game’s best all-around player…”

He has never been the best “all around”.  He is purely offense, incapable of defending, dives worse than Louganis, cries like a sissy, couldn’t throw a hit if his life depnded on it, runs his mouth and then runs away and only “stands up for himself” when he is attacking unsuspecting, smaller-non-fighting-players straight off the faceoff.  Other than that he makes great passes and has a good shot.

Better all around: Toews, Zetterberg and Iginla just to name a few.

Posted by sean_o_sean on 03/16/12 at 03:39 AM ET

Hockey Night in Australia's avatar

What utter nonsense.  The game is great beyond any one player.  Howe, Lemieux and Gretzky played and retired and the game goes on. 

We’ve seen a lot of great hockey this year without Crosby stepping on the ice.

Posted by Hockey Night in Australia on 03/16/12 at 07:28 AM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

What a joke of an article.

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 03/16/12 at 10:43 AM ET

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I am so glad Sydney is back, I haven’t watched a single game while he was out, because as we all know, the NHL witout Sydney SUCKS beyond belief. I fear for the league if he ever retires,  all 30 team will have to shutdown operations. The proof is that the NHL didn’t even have an All-Star game this year, I mean, how could they without Ovechkin and Crosby?

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 03/16/12 at 11:19 AM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

Best Video of the year!  As an official that is supposed to be paying attention to the game, what was he watching? How on earth did he not see that coming?  It’s his job.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 03/16/12 at 11:24 AM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

OOps wrong thread. How did I not see that?

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 03/16/12 at 11:26 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

It’s not that bad… but he totally misses the point. Crosby’s presence absolutely makes the game markedly better and more exciting. Even if you’re a Wings or Flyers fan, you have to admit that when he’s on the ice there is some excitement knowing he’s likely to put up a couple points every night and fire passion into his team.

The game itself is a good, fun game, inherently. It doesn’t need Crosby to survive, as we’ve seen. With Crosby out long-term, Ovechkin mired in a full year slump, and Toews ending up on the brain injury list, the league still has exciting and GREAT players… Stamkos is in the record books for his goal scoring in place Crosby and Ovechkin aren’t, and his all-around game continues to grow. Datsyuk is still the best all-phase player the game has had maybe EVER (before you freak out at that statement, realize that is more based on how the game is played now than saying Datsyuk is a “best all-time” talent), and dazzles with his stickhandling. We’ve got goalies like King Henrik giving us spectacular saves to watch on NHL Tonight every couple days when the Rags play.

The league moves fast. It’s hard to lose greatness, but you have to remember, the marginal difference in hockey talent between Sidney Crosby and even someone “mediocre” like Dan Cleary isn’t that big. All these guys are pros, they are all in the top 0.01% of what they do. And with a typical career only spanning, at best, age 20 - 40, with a prime, at best, being 25 - 35, the cycle of talent moves fast anyways.

Point is, yes, it is MUCH BETTER to have Crosby on the ice, as a hockey fan, as the Pens, as the NHL’s marketing department… but new players pop up, old players bloom late… things happen because the general talent level is exceptional.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 03/16/12 at 11:27 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The league has spent a lot of time in the last year learning things about regional marketing and selling the game over the faces.

I’m hoping they can use the return of the game’s pre-sold superstar to bolster those lessons rather than replace them.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/16/12 at 12:48 PM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

I’m hoping they can use the return of the game’s pre-sold superstar to bolster those lessons rather than replace them.

Too late.  Though it’s not as disgusting as last time.  This time there’s only 10 mentions of him/Pens instead of 11.

What a garage league.

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 03/16/12 at 01:24 PM ET

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Posted by sean_o_sean on 03/16/12 at 01:39 AM ET

Read an article that says schools have started handing out iPADs to 3rd graders in the classroom. Judging by this post, I guess it’s true.


“As a result, the game has become flat and monochromatic.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the game missed that the way a three-year-old misses his mother.”

Funny thing is, while Crosby is easily the game’s finest player (anyone saying otherwise is probably taking juice time with Sean_o_sean), you don’t see a ton of these “the game is unwatchable cuz Crosby isn’t there” articles coming out of Pittsburgh. Or from any Atlantic division market. Or, really, from American publications that I can think of. Just Canada.

To me, this article is pure tarnished national pride, not unlike the Eric Francis assassination piece on Kuznetsov or Damien Cox’s “trade Kessel before the fans get too attached to him like they did with Sundin” article from yesterday.

Ed Willes mentions that Crosby “sells in the states” as a way to obscure his real message. No kidding he sells in the states. He plays there.

Know what else sells tickets and drives ratings in the states? Teams in healthy markets and their best players. Callahan. Lundqvist. Giroux and Jagr. Chara. Until he opened his big stupid mouth and started killing my fantasy team, Thomas. Datsyuk. Mike Friggin Fisher. Malkin, Letang and Fleury. Crosby’s got a bit of national, non-hockey fan name rec in the US, but the real strength of his marketing appeal is that a sneeze from him will cause 8 car collisions across Canada.

Reading between the lines here, what Willes is saying (look at all these other names in this article: Ryan Getzlaf, Jeff Carter, Eric Staal…did I miss something or was Carter never considered one of the game’s best players for even an instant by anybody until now?), is that Canada’s pride is damaged when the best players in the game are either not Canadian or, as with Giroux, French, which is the same thing to people like this guy.

The game’s got some problems. The GMs have started proposing rule-changes that don’t make sense to take care of problems they wouldn’t solve. Interference is creeping back in. Too many guys of too high a caliber missing 10-60 games a year with the same exact injury, including the very best guy. If 1st line centers keep taking serious concussions at the current rate there won’t be anyone left in a few years.

But most of its creme de la creme players being French or Russian does not make the game “flat and monochromatic”.

Posted by larry from pitt on 03/16/12 at 03:36 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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