Detroit Red Wings: Why Wings Fans Need to Forgive Sidney Crosby

Rob KirkCorrespondent IIMarch 7, 2012

All is (almost) forgiven
All is (almost) forgiven

Since the 2009 NHL season ended with Marc-Andre Fleury sprawling in front of Nick Lidstrom's last second shot, I haven't been able to look at the Pittsburgh Penguins or their captain in the eye.

All Wings fans clung to the story that Sidney Crosby snubbed on the hand shake, was ungracious in victory or had a terrible playoff beard. Well, his facial hair is terrible. Even Pens fans think so. But what we hated the most, is that Sid the Kid was handed the Stanley Cup...on Hockeytown's ice.

As a Red Wing fan since the early 1980s, I know what it's like to miss the playoffs, finish in last place and have other fan bases feel sorry for you. Detroit's success since the early 1990s had made me forget most of this. Four Stanley Cups in 10 years will do wonders for selective amnesia. Steve Yzerman went from the guy who couldn't win the big one, to the most revered leader in all of sports (including you, Mark Messier).

It would be easy to suggest that the Wings haven't recovered since their home ice defeat. Successive second-round defeats to the San Jose Sharks have Detroit faithful wondering when the silver chalice might visit the Joe again.

The roster is a little bit younger and the veterans a little cagier, but the biggest improvement is in goal with Jimmy Howard. A run to the Cup finals would certainly help us forget about the last time Lord Stanley was lifted at the Joe, but honestly, it's time we all got over it.

Crosby shouldn't be such a pariah to us Wing fans. I'm not a fan of post-whistle activity, NBC's nauseating Crosbycam coverage and the overwhelming consensus that Sid is the "face" of the NHL. After all, our best players have English as their second or third language and God help us if they put a live mic on Pavel "I trust my eyes to Dr. Rhamani" Datsyuk.

Wouldn't it be easier to blame former Wing Marian Hossa who, after his third team in three years, finally got a title? Heck, until Chicago won the Cup, Hossa was the NHL's LeBron James. Maybe if he had scored more goals than I did in the finals, Detroit would have Cup No. 12. For the record, I did not play in the finals.

So, the news came out today that Crosby has been cleared for contact. NHL fans in every city need to rejoice. Crosby brings attention to hockey—and hockey needs the attention.