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Monday, June 15, 2009

Should Crosby Have Made More of an Effort to Shake Hands?

First off, congratulations to the Penguins for winning the 2009 Stanley Cup. Few people were betting on them to win game seven in Detroit after the home team won every game the rest of the Finals, including me, but they pulled it off with a well-deserved victory.

I think maybe the most impressive thing about Pittsburgh's victory is that they did it even though Pens captain Sidney Crosby was effectively neutralized by the Red Wings. Crosby had three points, all of them coming in games three and four of the finals, and was -3. By comparison, Crosby's shadow, Henrik Zetterberg, had six points and was +3, but when Zetterberg didn't score a point in game six or game seven, well, the Wings were sunk. Even though Detroit was seen by many heading into the series as having superior depth, when Pittsburgh got just one point from their two best players, Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, in games six and seven and Detroit got none from Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, their best, Pittsburgh came out on top, thanks to guys like Max Talbot, Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy.

As for Crosby, after being a polarizing figure throughout the finals, exchanging slashes with Kirk Maltby, sitting out the third period of game seven with a knee problem thanks to a hit from Johan Franzen, causing a stir by sitting out one of the media days, and generally not playing up to his usual standard, he managed to create some controversy once the game was over too.

Obviously this Sidney Crosby not shaking Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom's hand thing has gotten blown out of proportion somewhat, thanks largely to public statements made by Kris
Draper and Henrik Zetterberg on the subject. Crosby was basically celebrating a little too much with some of his teammates at one end of the ice while the Red Wings lined up for the traditional series-ending handshake. Some players, most notably Lidstrom, waited for a handshake from Crosby, Pittsburgh's captain, before finally giving up and leaving the ice. Crosby was unapologetic, going so far as to shift some of the blame to Lidstrom for not waiting long enough. Crosby also said he felt he had the right to do some celebrating with his mates, and he's got a point.

The problem is that Crosby is the team captain, and the captain has to lead the handshake line, especially in that situation. No exceptions; the fact that Crosby didn't have the presence of mind to organize his teammates into a proper handshake line is a little disappointing. I've always enjoyed the sportsmanship and tradition of the series closing handshake, and I'm sure Crosby does too. I believe him when he says he didn't mean to snub the Red Wings. I think it's something another player, particularly a guy Crosby's age who's mistake can be written off to youth and enthusiasm, could've easily gotten away with.

Crosby's status as the 'face' of the NHL only magnifies things. Yes, it's a youthful mistake and, as Lidstrom says, something he'll learn from. But you're the captain. You have to lead the handshake line with the losing team, no matter how much you want to celebrate. There's no two ways about it.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Who's Sidney Crosby?

"Who's Sidney Crosby?" asked CNN's Wolf Blitzer with a deer in the headlight look during a panel discussion about the upcoming Democratic Primary in Pennsylvania in The Situation Room.

The question came after Dick Armey, former Republican House Majority Leader, said: "I think it's sort of a monthly thing. Count Senator Clinton out, and watch her come back. I think she would get Sidney Crosby to come out strong for her; he could sew up the whole state. Right now, he's probably the most popular person in the entire state.

The 40 seconds Crosby snippet starts 1:40 into the clip below:

Picture source: SouthCentral on Flickr

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

NHL: $2.5 Billion Industry Looking for Volunteers!

The NHL, with projected revenues of $2.53 billion (as per Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal) for the 2007-08 season, is looking for people who will work for free as volunteers during the All-Star game festivities.

Why not! There's a sucker born every minute, right?

The league generates $2.53 billion for the season, hundreds of “employees” make millions per year, owners sit on their sound investments and the league doesn’t have the decency to pay people $10/hour to work during the All-Star game festivities!

Why would they, though, given that people apparently line up to work for hours for free (or a cap and a shirt) for them? Ever seen people react to t-shirts thrown in the crowd during a sports event? Obviously, a free t-shirt goes a long way.

Rubbing elbows with the rich and famous? Maybe. There’s nothing like being the dork working for free, wearing a NHL shirt, driving Sidney Crosby from the Airport to a restaurant you can’t afford. Or showing Ovechkin’s dad where the bathrooms are at some All-Star game party. Or having a glimpse at Vincent Lecavalier walking the red carpet, far away, while you keep the autograph seekers away.

Long Live the NHL!

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