Crosby-mania over the top

Technically, he’s back on the ice. But in reality, he never really left.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or isolated in a hunting cabin for the last few days, you already know by now that Pittsburgh Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby returned to the NHL on Monday night in a 5-0 win over the N.Y. Islanders, in which Sid (having apparently dropped the moniker of “The Kid” to his name) had a pair of goals and two assists.
Now for any player, coming back from a lengthy absence due to injury is quite a big deal. But when someone with the stature that Crosby has is returning, and especially after being out for nearly a year with a concussion, the anticipation for this game already was going to be at a fever pitch.
I mean, the CBC aired this game live nationally on very short notice and Crosby’s return was the top story on The National that night for Pete’s sake.
However, Crosby had never really left the limelight since his last on-ice action back in January as the water cooler topic was how long he was going to be out for—and if he was going to be coming back.
Almost every day there would be an update on if he was any closer to action, or on the progress he was making during practice.
At some point, I was waiting for a report to come out on what Crosby was doing to change his eating habits following his concussion and what bands he was listening to help with the healing process.
For those who are Penguins’ fans or Crosby fans, it’s obviously important that they know what is happening with the franchise player for that organization. But if you’re a fan of one of the 29 other teams in the NHL, the constant Crosby conversation might be enough to drive you up the wall.
And now that he’s back, don’t expect the headlining topic to change anytime soon.
There already is discussion about the Penguins being the Stanley Cup favourites after Crosby’s first game back, and people already are handing Sid the Hart, Art Ross, Rocket Richard, Bill Masterson, and Vezina Trophies for this season.
Okay, obviously he’s not going to win the Vezina Trophy, but I think you get my point.
Perhaps the biggest danger out of all this going forward is the potential of over-saturation of Crosby coverage as the season continues, which, given the current the media hyperbole over Sid’s return, might be a possibility.
I’m sure there are some of you reading this who might find it a bit of a contradiction that someone in the media who is writing a column about Sidney Crosby would be complaining about Sidney Crosby coverage, but let me make my points.
As I mentioned earlier in this column, Crosby is just a single player on a team that is in a league where 29 other squads are competing.
It’s not just the Sidney Crosby Show, even though the story of his season in doubt will be considered the biggest story of the year by numerous outlets and sports fans alike.
The sport of hockey, like all others, is bigger than one player or team, but sometimes that tends to get ignored in order to push a storyline.
That kind of thing happened Sunday in two championship events that were taking place.
First, there was the season-finale for the NASCAR Sprint Cup series in Homestead, Fla., where Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards ended up finishing in a dead-heat in the final standings.
But it was Stewart who took home the title by having more wins on the season.
While the championship battle was thrilling, indeed, if you were interested in what was happening with the other 41 drivers competing in the race, you were going to be out of luck.
For instance, Martin Truex Jr., who has had a dreadful season, drove a great race and ended up coming away with a third-place finish. However, he was hardly mentioned near the end of the event and didn’t even get an interview during the post-race show.
However, a far-worse example than that came during the MLS Cup final later that evening, where the L.A. Galaxy were taking on the Houston Dynamo in Major League Soccer’s championship game.
Although the game ended up being a 1-0 win for the Galaxy, thanks to a goal by American soccer star Landon Donovan, all that anyone heard about during the broadcast was about the play of David Beckham.
Beckham, who is the face of the MLS without a doubt, played decent in his team’s championship performance. But by just listening to the telecast, it sounded like the Englishman was the second coming of Pele himself.
In fact, the praise got so over the top that one soccer journalist wrote on Twitter that the game should have changed its name from the MLS Cup to the ‘David Beckham testimonial, acknowledgment, celebrity, love fest, appreciation, commendation, adoration, worship, tribute match.”
Hence the dangers of trying to hype up just one player over the rest of the event. You may bring in those casual fans that won’t care otherwise, but you run the risk of alienating your core audience.
However, I must admit even the bitter cynical sports writer in me rose out of my seat when Crosby scored that beautiful backhander for his first goal of the season.

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