Sidney Crosby was injured earlier this month on two separate hits in two separate games. A lot of people feel that is the worst thing that could happen to the NHL. However, I personally feel that his injury might be a blessing in disguise to some.
The injury to Crosby opened the door for other NHL players to get the attention they deserve.
Steven Stamkos, for example, leads the league in both points and goals. Granted, a lot of those came after Crosby was injured. However, it still stands that Stamkos deserves more attention than what he gets when Crosby is not injured.
I don't doubt that Crosby is a great player. However, when he is playing the media rushes to interview him, forgetting there are other great players in the NHL. Every single time I turn on Versus or NBC all I hear about is Crosby. They can be broadcasting a non-Pittsburgh game and they will FIND a way to work Crosby's name, at least, into their game coverage.
People always ask why other team's fans don't like Crosby. I'll tell you that the amount of attention he receives from the media plays a large part in us not liking him. Maybe he can't help the attention he gets, but that doesn't change our thoughts on him.
The fact that Crosby has missed the past two plus weeks and is now missing the All-Star game is a good thing because players like Stamkos, Nicklas Lidstrom and others are FINALLY getting the attention they deserve.
I'm hoping that Crosby's injury opens the media's eyes to the fact that there are other players in the NHL. However, I'm not holding my breath. Once Crosby returns, the media will probably flock to him.
I am enjoying the attention Stamkos is finally getting. He deserves it. He deserved it before now but was overshadowed by Crosby. What's new there?
Crosby entered the league in 2006 and was quickly labeled the "face of the NHL." He hadn't even played a game in the NHL, let alone proved anything to us, when he was labeled that way. Yes, he won a Stanley Cup and Olympic Gold Medal but who, besides the media, really cares?
Stamkos, on the other hand, entered the league in 2008 and had to prove himself to EVERYONE. In his rookie season, then head coach Barry Melrose told the Tampa Bay and NHL media that Stamkos "didn't belong in the NHL."
Not counting his tumultuous rookie year, Stamkos has 89 goals and he tied Crosby for the Rocket Richard Trophy last season. He could easily have had an Olympic Gold Medal also, if not for the fact that he was unjustly left off of the Canadian Olympic Team last year. As for the Stanley Cup, that will come in time.
Stamkos turns 21 on February 7th and easily rivals Crosby in the talent category. I only wish the media would realize that, even when Crosby is healthy. It would definitely help when marketing the NHL to include more than one featured player.
For now, I'll take whatever attention Stamkos gets. I just hope that the NHL media realizes the error in its thinking and corrects it, sooner rather than later. If the media does, the NHL could rival the NFL and other sports in popularity. If not, the NHL will remain unknown to many, especially those in areas not known for hockey.
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