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Sidney Crosby turned down an opportunity to appear on The Late Show With David Letterman shortly after the Olympics, and predictably, criticism followed. The New York Post ran an article about it on Sunday under the headline, "Crosby blows NHL's golden chance." As usual, a lot of people were participating in the international pastime of bashing Sid.

But today, his General Manager had heard enough. At the NHL's GM meetings in Boca Raton, Florida, Ray Shero had this to say about the criticism of #87:

"At some point, there's a responsibility — that he takes very seriously — about being a hockey player and preparing. To me, any criticism for Sidney isn't warranted. He does so much for the game, so much for the league. He's trying to do it all, and it's unfortunate he can't do it all. But he does a lot."

Amen, Ray. Amen. There is not a single player in the league who brings the amount of publicity and eyeballs to the NHL that Crosby does, and I'm including Alexander Ovechkin in that discussion. While I agree that an appearance on Letterman would not have hurt, there are a few issues at play here.

Number one is the fact that the Penguins had four games in six days last week. It's as simple as scheduling. Look at the other Olympians...Ryan Miller got the night off against the Pens; Marc-Andre Fleury got the night off against Buffalo, and he didn't even play in the Olympics...and Crosby didn't take a minute off.

Number two is the fact that it is not Crosby's responsibility to spend every waking moment promoting the NHL when he's not playing. There are other players in the league, yet all publicity issues seems to fall on Crosby's shoulders. As Shero said, Crosby does try to do it all. Considering his level of stardom, Sidney is very media-friendly. But no other player in the league bears this burden. Not Ovechkin. Not Malkin. No one.

Crosby's won a Stanley Cup Game Seven and an Olympic Gold Medal in the past year. He's constantly on television pitching Reebok gear. He has not and will not get into any unfortunate off-the-ice situations. He is the mature face-of-the-league that any pro sports association could only dream of, the rare instance of the product actually being better than the hype. And to top it all off, he's only 22. If the reading of a Top 10 list on David Letterman for a few seconds trumps all of that, then criticize away. But it's my opinion that the NHL will never find another ambassador better than Sidney Crosby, so just enjoy him for what he is - which is pretty spectacular.

Unfair to criticize Crosby: Penguins GM []

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BAMAQT said...

Hear! Hear! Your article is Spot on. That's why your website is one of my favorites.

Adam Sacco said...

Well said sir, well said.

MJ said...

Any publicity about hockey is a good thing. While I don't condemn Sid for nothing doing Letterman, it can't hurt the NHL to have its greatest star out front.

SmokeyMaverick said...

Good point MJ: There is no such thing as bad publicity, right? All this negative publicity is still keeping NHL in the lime light much more so than if Sid would have done the Top 10 (although I think it's an unintended consequence).

btw - when is Sid gonna move out of Mario's pad?

JeremyT said...

Better question, Mav: When is Ben going to move IN to Mario's basement??

BurressWithButterflywings said...

Sid is a guy who's damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. If he acts quiet and reserved, people make fun of him for being bland and boring. If he goes around acting like every goal he scores is his first ever, people would call him cocky and immature.

He is 22 years old, a team captain, Stanley Cup Champion, and Olympic Gold Medalist amongst the MVP awards and scoring title. I would say Sidney Crosby can do what he wants, and if he wants to tell Letterman screw off, then good for him and too bad for Dave.

He pours every ounce of energy he has into playing his best every shift and winning hockey games for his team. He is a great community guy, as well. Those are his top priorities and I don't think he feels the need to constantly be in the spotlight and make everything about him, he isn't in the NBA or Alex Ovechkin.

It's no joke the NHL needs publicity, but I would say that pill he put behind Ryan Miller in the Gold Medal Game should have been sufficient enough.

SantoGold said...

Who still watches Letterman anyways? He hasn't been fresh or edgey in about 15 years. His audience is mostly mostly white guys age 55 or older who, if they haven't watched hockey before, aren't going to start now because Sid read a top 10 list. Good for Sid for finding better things to do with his time.

Steve said...

I think I've already made my point about Sid and anyone who bashes him is a creep. Sid owes noboby nothing at this point including Letterman, pissed USA hockey fans and the NHL for that matter. In fact, Bettman should feel compelled give him reach arounds and bags of cash anytime he's near him. If he did the Letterman show only few million Dave fans would know about it, if he doesn't 50 million others know. So why is anything bad for Dave, bad for the NHL? The NY Post is a joke anyway like the people who read it.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

I think us, the NHL, and NHL fans give a crap about this a lot more than Letterman does.

And yes, his show is a shell of what it was when I was a kid. I only hope that Conan doesn't lose his edge when he gets his next gig like Dave did.