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Finally, after 4-5 months without a hockey season, The NHL is back and so are the dominant, strong, and talented franchise players. Reports have said that Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby is feeling better than ever, and the hockey media outlets were quick and eager to take a bite out of Crosby’s story of the “Comeback Kid”. But with his absence felt after a concussion in the 2011/2012 season, Is Crosby still the player the media portrays him out to be?
His stats alone are impressive. He was the youngest player to do it all. Youngest player to get 100 points in a season, and the youngest player to record 200 career points. Crosby has also had his fair share of awards, being the League’s MVP, winning the Lester B. Pearson award (which is voted on by your peers), and the Art Ross Trophy winner, all in 2007 alone. Those are great accomplishments’ but nothing compares to winning the Stanley Cup in 2009 as captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and not only winning the gold medal, but scoring the “Golden Goal” at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics for Team Canada in an overtime game with the United States . Sidney Crosby’s only been in the League since 2005, but he has a combined 223 goals, 336 points, and 609 points in 434 games. Nobody can say he’s a not a great talented player…because it would be an absolute lie.
But, is he still the face of the NHL? Many people automatically say yes, because they recognize his name, because they’re his fan, or because they really truly believe it. But there are many other professional hockey players that have been overshadowed by Crosby in the years he has played. When Crosby was out, there was another player that decided it was his turn to lead the Penguins to the playoffs in hopes of another Stanley Cup run. This player has been a part of the organization for as long as Crosby had, and also won the MVP award the year the Penguins won in 2009. Evgeni Malkin. One of the most dynamic, toughest, and skilled players the Pittsburgh Penguins have. In the 2011/2012 season he put up a grand total of 109 Points in 75 games played. It didn’t hurt to have a great left winger named James Neal, a former Dallas Star player playing right by his side. “Geno” was on a roll, and the best part about it is he always has been a great player. Sure he didn’t always put up 109 points, but he was always right there by Crosby’s side, contributing the great success the Pittsburgh Penguins have had in the recent years. Many people could say Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are a modern day Mario Lemiuex and Jaromir Jagr. The only difference is, Jagr’s success was never overshadowed by Mario. But, the media outlet for Hockey was different then. You heard Gretzky’s name a lot but you also always heard his teammate’s names. You heard the people around him that helped him along the way, because the media was different back then.
Other NHL players that have become quite the star quality players since Crosby’s been out include names like Steven Stamkos, and Claude Giroux. Steven Stamkos, who is a young center for the Tampa Bay Lightning, has hit the 90 point mark the last 3 years of his career. Last year, he had 60 Goals, 37 assists, and a total of 97 points in 82 games played. Claude Giroux, the newly appointed captain of the Philadelphia Flyers, has 243 points in 285 Career NHL games. Needless to say he has a full fun filled career ahead of him. Are they not worthy of being the “Face of the NHL”? There’s also two Central Division players on two different teams, Jonathan Toews for the Chicago Blackhawks and Pavel Datsyuk for the Detroit Red Wings, who are each magnificent in their own ways. Both are great two way players, both have Stanley Cup Rings, and both could easily be the face of the NHL, so why does the media automatically give the label to Crosby? Well, he does have the stats, records, and awards to back it up, so is it fair to say he should be? Is it just us fans that make it out to be something bigger than it is, or do us as fans have the right to feel the way we feel about Sid the Kid?
In a way, it’s almost like asking who the greatest player to ever play the game is. Some say Gretzky, he has the points and stats to back it up. But, others say Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux or even a defenseman like Bobby Orr. Either way, the media will hype up Sidney Crosby, and us as hockey fans must accept it. Does it mean hockey fans will agree with it? Not necessarily, but to each their own. As long as the other hockey players keep getting more and more airtime, sooner or later, the spotlight will be theirs. Lets enjoy it, let them enjoy it, and let the games begin!