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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Can The NHL Survive Life Without Sidney Crosby

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

I will write on the record immediately and state right
here that I am not one of the more knowledgeable hockey
fans, and yet I like and follow the sport. Here however
my opinion is more league based than X's and O's based,
so bear with me if you will as I try to look at this.

Sidney Crosby, without a doubt one of the most recognizable
names in sports, at least on the North American level, and
the NHL as far as major sports are concerned needs all the
attention it can get. I recently did a piece here on how
they were getting it right and that the Winter Classic event
was a perfect example of that. The thing is, Sidney Crosby
is one of two huge names in their league, Alex Ovechkin is
the other, and though I can hear die hard fans disagreeing
with me right now, and spitting out names I've either never
heard of before, or don't agree with, that's why I say two.
I am more of a casual fan than a die hard, if I know you then
you're famous, if I don't you're not. That's what separates
a Star from a SUPER Star. The Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby
rivalry was growing into the NBA version of Larry Bird vs
Magic Johnson rivalry for the NHL, but now that has taken a
hit, no pun intended. Sidney Crosby has not played since
December the 5th 2011, and there doesn't seem to be any sign
that he is coming back in the near future. I am no doctor
of course, but my point is that he was out for 11 months
before that, and as careful as they were with him then, if
that wasn't enough time, what is? Is this the end of the
line for a bright start than may have burned out to quickly.

The Penguins are not a terrible team without him, as a matter
a fact they are over five hundred at 21-17-4, and tied for the
final playoff spot in the Eastern conference. That is however
a problem for a team who in the past has had financial problems
and has been on the verge of folding and bankruptcy. Yes they
are not a terrible team without him, but the reason they wound
up with him is because they were, and then drafted 1st to get
him in the 2005 NHL Draft. Drafts are meant to help teams in
these types of ways, not always to save them from bankruptcy,
but to help make them good again, and in this case he may have
helped with both. He also helped the league regain some of its
popularity in the lower North American, where the $Money$ is.
make no mistake about it. Ovechkin has helped with that cause
as well, but how much fun would Bird vs _________ have been?
And Ovechkin is Russian, so having a North American vs the
"evil" Russian counterpart didn't hurt either.

All that being said, can the league survive if Crosby doesn't
return? I think so, but just imagine the NHL with no Gretzky
in it's recent history or the NBA without that Bird v Johnson
rivalry, or the Michael Jordan years. Would they still be here?
Yes Would they have had that same type of success? Probably not.
NHL fans would like to believe it isn't as big a deal as I am
making it out to be, but keep in mind that in the US baseball
was once KING, and now it's football. You need every edge you
can get, and Sidney Crosby is an edge the NHL and the Penguins
hope they won't have to live without too much longer

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