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Opinion: There's Something About Sidney

By Stephen Daniel
November 24, 2008

In the hockey world, unless you have been living in a cave for the past five years, you have heard of a young man named Sidney Crosby... actually, you still may have heard that name in a cave. For the past half-decade, he has been the most highly publicized hockey player in the National Hockey League. There is no doubt, that he is the face of the NHL right now.

That being said, young, "El" Sid Crosby has faced much attention and scrutiny over the years. He shot pucks into a washer on the set of Jay Leno before he even set foot on NHL ice. He was the youngest player to receive the Lester B. Pearson award and youngest captain in NHL history. He was only second youngest (behind Wayne Gretzky) to win the Hart trophy, and he has been praised for his skill, leadership, and his overall work ethic. However, all of that comes with a price...

Young Sidney has received a great deal of hostility from opposing fans and even players. Fans boo and heckle Crosby and claims that he "get's all the calls" or he is a "diver". Additionally, Alexander Semin had this to say about they young Crosby:

"What's so special about [Crosby]? I don't see anything special there. Yes, he does skate well, has a good head, good pass. But there's nothing else. Even if you compare him to Patrick Kane from Chicago ... [Kane] is a much more interesting player. The way he moves, his deking abilities, his thinking on the ice and his anticipation of the play is so superb.

I think that if you take any player, even if he is "dead wood," and start promoting him, you'll get a star. Especially if he scores 100 points. No one is going to care about anyone else. No one is going to care whether he possesses great skill. Let's say you put someone in front of the net and let him deflect pucks in, and he scored 50 goals; everyone will say "Wow!" and then hand him a $10 million per year contract. That's what they like here."

This comes from a player who has been cast in the shadows under Alexander Ovechkin's "limelight". Maybe he wants some of that light to be shunning on him. In terms of spotlight, Alex Ovechkin and Sindey Crosby have a giant target on there back every single game, where Semin has not received nearly as much attention as those two players

So what makes Sidney so special? Why is he potentially the best player in the world? Former NHL player and ESPN analyst Matthew Barnaby made mention of the intangibles: crucial face-offs, back checking, amongst the scoring that he brings to the Penguins. Barnaby goes onto say, "These are the little things that superstars don't do in the NHL, but what Sidney Crosby does every night. That's why he is the best player in the NHL."

So it's the effort, intangibles, and defense that Sidney Crosby brings that makes him so special. This is important, people. Let's take the last game against Detroit and the Penguins. Detroit forward and superstar Pavel Datsyuk had the puck in his own zone in overtime in this game. Datsyuk lazily carried the puck near the blue line looking for a pass where Jordan Staal took the puck from behind, one-time pass to Fedotenko, ball game, pens win in overtime. There is no doubt that Datsyuk is an incredible player, but this is the kind of thing that Barnaby was talking about.

Finally, of all the NHL fans that don't like Crosby, let's face facts. He is the face of the NHL whether you like it or not, and why is that a bad thing? He is an excellent player, he is unselfish with the puck, he doesn't criticize the media or other players, he does extensive work for the Pittsburgh community, and he is well spoken for. You do not see Crosby talking trash about fans or players. Also, for the people who think he dives too much, let's realize that he has a gigantic bull eye on his back in the NHL. I would love to see anyone put on their skates and do what he does every single night.

If there is any player in the NHL that deserves his just do of how hard he plays, how respectable he is, and how much he contributes: both on and off the ice. To take this entire media attention and handle it the way he did at 18? Sidney Crosby deserves every bit of praise that he gets. He truly is an NHL superstar.

Thanks for reading, I am Stephen Daniel and I will be seeing Yinz, later!


Comments (3)

You should have titled your article:
"There's Something About the Refereeing".
After watching the Pittsburgh/Detroit game the only thing I can say is the referees are the ones who should be singled out as great players who made a difference in that game. Watch all over the league. if a team takes too much of a lead, the referees step in. Inotice it most on Vesus though.

CW | November 24, 2008 2:27 PM

A friend in need is a friend indeed.

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