Friday, July 11, 2008

Sidney Crosby: Posterboy for the NHL? I Don't Think So

Maybe I am a little bias on this. I'm not going to pretend that I like Sidney Crosby. I hate him. Everyone who knows me knows I hate him. He is my least favorite player ever. I never want him on the New York Rangers or the Phoenix Coyotes no matter what and that is the truth. 
His anointment as the second coming of Wayne Gretzky has the NHL shaking with excitement as the catalyst to bring the NHL back to respectability. He will lead the charge in bringing new fans to the new family friendly game that the NHL is trying to make while also attempting to wow the sports world by breaking one of the hockey god's most untouchable records. 
Now I see a problem with this. Sid the Kid (I hate that name) is exactly that. A kid. Regardless of what others may think, Crosby dives. He whines to referees and complains when he doesn't get his way. He does this because the NHL has made him feel entitled to get everything he wants because of what they have labeled him as. Every sport has a face to it. But Sidney Crosby shouldn't be the face of the NHL. The best player in the league should be the face of the NHL. And there are 10 guys that I can think of right now that are better than Sidney Crosby: Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Dastyuk, Vincent Lecavalier, Jarome Iginla, Nick Lidstrom, Dion Phaneuf, Rick Nash, and Dany Heatley. Right there are 10 players how are better than Sidney Crosby right now. They all dominate their respective positions and are stars in this league, superstars in some cases. I didn't include goalies in this but there are a few who are very dominant and are better than Crosby is as his position (including an actual King). Is Crosby a good player? Yes he is. I am not doubting his abilities as a hockey player. But to put him at the head because he is or will become the best player in the league is absolutely wrong. Crosby is absolutely nothing right now. He has never won a Stanley Cup. He isn't even close to Gretzky's records. Yes he has a Hart Trophy as the youngest player ever. Gretzky has 9, winning 8 of those in a row. 9 Hart trophies in 10 years. 10 Art Ross trophies including 7 in a row. When Crosby starts doing things like this then we can start whispering his name in the same league as Gretzky. Until then he has nothing and is nothing.
So who should be the face of the league? Usually it is the best player in the league and this guy is. Alex Ovechkin should be the face of the NHL. Why? First of all, he is a better player. He scores, he hits, he plays defense, and he absolutely dominates every single game he is in. He scored over 60 goals this year, the majority of those without playing with anyone to help him. His physical play gives him another dimension to his play that Crosby does not have. Yes Crosby got into a fight but has he ever consistently played physical? No. Ovechkin's personality is perfect for the NHL. He plays like a kid living his dream and his personality is the same exact thing. Watch the Youtube video of the Capitals on the Segway tour and you will see his personality. The interviews he gives always contain some kind of funny moment and he just laughs it off. It is that kind of attitude that should be put forward to represent the NHL and not some guy who sneaks out the other side to not sign autographs (Yes, Sidney Crosby has done that). 
Has Ovechkin won a Stanley Cup or even gotten to the finals? No. But he doesn't have the attitude that he believes he should be there because he is who he is. He knows that getting to that point takes unbelievable work. His personality is great and he is the best player in the league right now and certainly much better than Crosby. Besides, Crosby's playoff mustache looks awful. At least Ovechkin can grow a beard. Why is Crosby the face? Because the NHL made him the face. Before him Gretzky was the face and before him was Bobby Orr and before him was Gordie Howe. But the difference between Crosby and those other 3 is that the other 3 earned that position through their play and personality. Crosby has been given it gift wrapped. You have to earn being the face of a sports league through your play and personality and Alex Ovechkin has certainly done that.
What do you think? 

1 comment:

Debbi said...

I couldn't agree with you more