Red Wings-Penguins: NBC Stands For "Nothing But Crosby"

Pat SullivanCorrespondent IJune 1, 2008

Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals featured fast paced hockey, hard hits and stellar goaltending. It also featured NBC wetting its collective pants over Sidney Crosby and his beloved Pittsburgh Penguins.

I noticed the trend earlier this season. NBC frequently had Sunday afternoon games that only featured the Penguins. Most of the time, they played those pesky New York Rangers and the games were virtually identical every week.

This began to get to me. As a die-hard Detroit Red Wings fan, I felt the focus should be the NHL’s top team. I did, however, understand the NHL’s marketing tactics.

The Penguins are easily the most popular team in the league. They have some fairly attractive youngsters on their roster and they play a high octane brand of hockey—something fans love.

This favoritism seemed tangible, until the playoffs hit.

Crosby and his cast went from being favorites to being infallible. On NBC, the Penguins could do nothing wrong. Missed passes, poor goaltending and diving were overlooked. Crosby is Jesus incarnate, while Evgeni Malkin is the prophet who speaks in tongues.

NBC has made the Penguins the top team. No team is any match for the Pens when they play on this network.

Game 5 intensified my point. Marc-Andre Fleury mishandled the puck in front of his own net and almost allowed a goal, but any mention of this almost-fatal flaw was positive analysis on his puckhandling. Apparently, Fleury’s stick skills have only improved.

On a power play, Crosby broke his stick, skated back to the bench, received another stick and went back into the play.

Pretty standard, right?

NBC replayed this series in fast motion and dubbed Crosby a hero. He touched the puck twice after receiving his new twig and merely cycled it low after gaining possession.

A similar situation saw Kirk Maltby jet out of the penalty box and stop a Sergei Gonchar slapshot from behind. This was an integral play, but did not manage a single replay.

Both plays were very minute, regular plays.

The Penguins even dominate the commercial bumpers. Crosby’s hit on Brad Stuart is played as the series’ biggest hit, and his first goal in Game 3 may as well be the Cup winner.

I understand the NHL could really benefit from the Penguins winning, but this is ridiculous.

It’s primitive: Penguins good, Red Wings bad.

How many times was Marian Hossa’s first-period tally replayed? Approximately twice as many times as Jir Hudler’s game-winner.

Bias in the media doesn’t just exist in politics, it’s prevalent in our game too. I’ve had it with NBC—the Nothing But Crosby network.  I can no longer find objective hockey. The Penguins may as well sign Mike Milbury and his NBC counterparts’ paychecks.

What will NBC focus on when the Red Wings lift the Stanley Cup? Surely a teary eyed Crosby will be interviewed as the Wings’ celebration is cut short.

If NBC keeps this bias up, will we even know if the Red Wings won?