Pavel Datsyuk and 5 Stars Who Deserve More Attention Than Crosby and Ovechkin
Since the end of the NHL Lockout in 2005, the NHL has been hell-bent on force feeding die-hard and casual hockey fans two players. Those two players are Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin.
Ovechkin and Crosby are certainly two of the best players in the league, and they're basically household names now. And, that's exactly the problem.
The NHL has established two well-known superstars, and rather than step away and try to build more, they are pushing two players who have likely hit their peak popularity.
With that said, here are the five superstars who should be getting more attention than Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin.
5. Pavel Datsyuk
Pavel Datsyuk is arguably the best player in the NHL and the only reason he wasn't No. 1 on this list was because of his age.
This past offseason, ESPN surveyed several NHL players asking them who they would pay money to watch play hockey. Several said Crosby and several said Ovechkin, but ESPN noted that every player they interviewed said they would pay to see Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings.
That alone should reflect well on the superstar. You can't go a game without seeing him pull off some amazing deke or taking the puck off the opposing player, and considering money—what the league runs on and is looking for more of—it's logical to promote the player who people would be willing to pay to see.
Anyone who thinks Pavel has no personality is kidding themselves. The video above is proof of his personality, and he's made several hilarious comments in interviews, including one crack remark where he said, "We've got a pretty good team here, we're all pretty good players, and then there's Hudler."
The fact that Datsyuk receives little-to-no attention from the NHL is just a missed opportunity.
4. Claude Giroux
Claude Giroux is only 23 years old and he's already drawn a lot of comparison to Peter Forsberg. Giroux is a naturally gifted scorer, on pace for 103 points this season.
Combine that with the fact that he plays for a big-name team that has a very young core, and that should be plenty reason to promote Giroux in the league.
3. Steven Stamkos
Steven Stamkos is the anti-Crosby of the list.
Like Crosby he's not the most exciting in interviews, but he is a superstar player. His one-timer is absolutely insane and he can bury the puck as well as anybody.
The difference is Stamkos comes without 90 percent of the hockey world hating him. Sure, he may not be in the biggest fan base in the NHL, but Pittsburgh wasn't exactly a mega-fan base either in the 2000s before Crosby arrived.
Steven Stamkos is one of the biggest stars in the NHL and he's got the youth to back it up. A solid push by the NHL would not only help them, but it would help another fan base in general.
2. Jonathan Toews
This commercial should've been the beginning for Jonathan Toews. Eight months later, and the NHL hasn't lifted a finger to push him like they did Sidney Crosby.
Toews may not be a 50 goal scorer, but it should be recognized that he won the Conn-Smythe Trophy in 2010 and was also named Team Canada's MVP in the Olympics, in the same year.
Toews is a great player, but what he's even greater at is being a leader. He's got everything the league should be going for, and the fact that he's not recognized more in the league is a shame.
1. Tyler Seguin
Tyler Seguin is easily the best player in the NHL under the age of 20. At 19 years old he's on pace for as successful a season as we've seen at that age since Crosby and Ovechkin were 19.
Combine that with the fact that Seguin is already on a good Original Six team, and Seguin is marketing gold.
When the NHL begins looking at promoting new stars in the NHL, Tyler Seguin should be the first one they start pushing.
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Jordan Matthews writes for the NHL and the Detroit Red Wings. For more coverage you can follow him on Twitter.