I hate Sidney Crosby. There's no hiding it. Never have liked him. Never will. He repulses me. That being said, it's not entirely his fault that when I see him, or hear his name that my blood boils and my stomach begins to turn.
Let me also state this: Sidney Crosby is an amazing player. He is one of the best players in the NHL today. ONE of. Not the , but one of. The NHL is full of amazing talent right now, probably the deepest it has been in a very long time.
Does he whine? Maybe. Does he take an occasional dive? Probably. Is he overrated? No. Is he overexposed. Absolutely.
He has two Stanley Cup appearances, one victory. He just scored the game-winning goal to give his country an Olympic gold medal. He's only 22. He's an extremely gifted and spectacular player. He was relied on to carry the sport out of the abyss after the lockout; he didn't letdown.
Biggie or Tupac; Yankees or Red Sox; you like Cap'n Crunch or you don't; Ovechkin or Crosby—chose one. I will always be an Ovechkin boy. I love everything about him. He annihilated my team last year in the playoffs and celebrated a la Terrell Owens in the center of the Dallas Star, in the middle of Madison Square Garden last year—I don't care.
He plays with raw emotion and allows his play to do all the talking, unlike Crosby who has gained a maybe unfair reputation of his gums providing a lot of service...I mean he did ask to have an announcement made for the fans to stop throwing hats after Ovechkin's hat trick in the playoffs last year...I'm just saying.
But that's not even why I hate Crosby so much. This isn't a Crosby-Ovechkin argument. It helps me despise him, but it's not the main reason.
The reason I can't stand Crosby so much, is that he is forced down our throats like he is the savior of hockey.
I'm sorry to break it to you: He's no Wayne Gretzky. He's no Mario Lemieux, he's no Mark Messier. Hell, he's not even Joe Sakic or Steve Yzerman. Not saying those last two aren't great players, because they are, just like Crosby is.
But hey, that's what the NHL went with, and who could blame them. They saw the golden opportunity of a kid that's been hyped for what seemed to be since he was a toddler, and snatched it.
Apparently they've never heard of the putting your eggs in one basket warning.
Look at the NBA. They have an abundance of talent. Do they hype up LeBron James a ridiculous amount? Absolutely. And he deserves it, just like Crosby, he's one of the best in his sport. But, they also market the hell out of guys like Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Steve Nash, and even Shaq still gets a lot of face time.
The NFL does the same thing. Every casual fan knows Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. But they also know about 25 other players names and can immediately associate them with the NFL.
Outside of Crosby, who does the NHL even attempt to market? Ovechkin pretty much forced his way onto people's radar. Unlike Crosby, who in my opinion is, well, boring—off the ice—Ovechkin is the polar opposite.
Why not spread some of the love around?
Hate him or love him, Sean Avery hit the nail directly on the head when he spoke about the NHL's marketing agenda.
“I mean it would certainly be good for the game if we marketed the game, but the NHL does a terrible job of marketing,” he told ESPN a couple of years ago.
“They just, they haven’t figured it out that villains and heroes are what sells. Our commissioner hasn’t realized that he needs to probably do a better job of marketing the game and certainly some of the players in it."
Like I said, you can hate him, or love him, but he's 100 percent right.
The NHL does as good a job at marketing it's brand as Chad Ochocinco does at remaining low-key.
Ochocinco is a brand in himself. He's a marketer's dream. The NFL gets it. They see a personality, and they run with it. Bettman and the NHL simply do not.
Why aren't guys like Joe Thornton, Pavel Datsyuk, Jarome Iginla, Evgeni Malkin, RYAN MILLER, Henrik Lundqvist, Zach Parise, and Patrick Kane marketed equally? The list goes on and on.
The NHL is filled to the brim with talent in recent years. Yet the only name that is forced down our throats consistently is Crosby's.
Did the NHL ever think that maybe one of the reasons that nobody cares about the hockey is because, well, nobody knows who the hell even plays it?
People are emotional. We like to feel an attachment to what we watch. Why in the world do you think people care so much about who Derek Jeter and A-Rod are dating? We like to feel like we can connect with these people.
How are the casual American fans going to connect with our NHL players if they have no idea who they even are?
Whether we like it, or not, Crosby is the face of the NHL right now. I, for one, do not like it. Obviously. And I know there are millions just like me. It's not because I don't think he's an outstanding player, because he is, he has proved it just about every time he steps on the ice, but there are so many other players that can be put on the map if just given the opportunity.
A guy like Niklas Lidstrom has been winning just about everything there is to be won forever, yet outside of hockey diehards who even knows who he is?
Chicago has one of the most dynamic teams that the NHL has seen in a long time, can a casual sports fan even name one of their players?
The NHL got exactly what they wanted: Crosby hoisted the Stanley Cup after an electric seven-game series against a storied franchise.
They even got a bonus with Crosby scoring the game-winning goal in Vancouver with over 27-million Americans watching.
Take the flame that Olympic torch ignited, and make it spread like wildfire.
The Olympics have pretty much handed the NHL the American-mainstream on a silver platter to put hockey back on the map.
Will they capitalize on it? Hopefully, but if history is any judge, probably not.
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