This is the time of year when players start to flock back to town and mentally prepare themselves for training camp, but Sidney Crosby’s story is different. Of course, it was breath of fresh air seeing Sidney during his press conference yesterday since he has stayed away from the media since April. It’s just too bad it had to be for these reasons. Although Crosby’s press conference included his doctors and General Manager Ray Shero to address issues, rumors, and questions surrounding his concussion, there is still much uncertainty about his current health status.
Training camp begins in a week and we still don’t know nearly anything about Crosby’s health. Sure we know that he has had major side effects from the back to back hits to the head in January, we know he has only made it to about 90% effort in workouts, and we know that the Penguins first regular season game is in less than a month, but these aren’t the things we necessarily want to know now.
As a Penguins fans, we want to know when our Captain will be ready to put on the black and gold sweater again, and if he will be the same player he used to be. Before Crosby went down with the serious concussion, he was playing the best hockey of his career. It just makes you wonder what he could of done if healthy the rest of the year. Okay, Okay with what ifs aside, having the face of the NHL out for such a long period of time has to have repercussions, right? Well I hate saying things happen for a reason in this case, because I would love to know what good is having the best player on our team experiencing health issues that could be life changing, but there might be some good things coming out of this…hopefully.
1.) Crosby Haters
This is to all of you who have every called him Cindy, Crybaby or any other choice words that shouldn’t be used in front of children. Whether you like him or not, he is arguably one of the best players in the world. He has won various NHL awards, a Gold Medal, and a Stanley Cup at an age where most people are just trying to find jobs after college. Now that he is missing, some people are finally starting to understand his worth. He is a big name that spreads the sport we love across the world. Since he is obviously the most marketed player in the NHL, it would be unfortunate to lose someone who tries to make the sport bigger and better. Let’s be honest, we all know that hockey and ESPN don’t have the strongest relationship (or really any relationship), but when big players do big things, ESPN will broadcast it. When Crosby, Alex Ovechkin or Steven Stamkos have a highlight reel goal or even if their team is successful, ESPN will talk about it because of the player’s names. Losing Crosby might lose some of hockey’s notoriety. Whether you root for him or not, you know he is good for the game. As hockey fans, we know our sport is the best and want other people to respect it too.
With a summer of tragedy, the NHL is being pressured to pay attention more to their players and their health. Although the three deaths of enforcers over the summer were not ruled relatable, it still makes you wonder how much concussions or serious head injuries can have on a playing career and even a player’s life. The past couple of months, current NHLers and even former NHLers have spoken up to urge the NHL to enforce certain rules to help protect their players. Maybe the NHL will start taking things more seriously when the face of their league misses so much time. It is an important issue that unfortunately is being seen after so many players have already been affected.
Although it might not always seem like it, the NHL’s image is really important to them. Even if they are considered on the low end of the ‘big 4’ sports, they still want their image across the sports world to be positive. NHL officials cringe every time networks such as ESPN replay the ‘biggest brawls’ and shows highlights such as the Penguins-Islander fight fest last season. Although publicity is publicity, the hockey world would rather people see the positives of the sport instead of negatives. In this case, the negative is definitely the whole head shot issue. With their best player down, the NHL doesn’t want non-fans to think of a league where player’s lives can be changed negatively after playing the sport they love. Hopefully after pressure from players and fans, the NHL will figure out that changing a rule might ultimately help out their sport and its future in the right way.
Although it is so hard to say that there are any positives out of this issue, I consider myself an optimistic person who wants to see hockey go in the right direction. Of course, I would rather see this done without a player like Crosby going down, but hopefully things will work out in the long run. If we see number 87 back on the ice this season, I guess I will allow haters to begin hating again, because at least Crosby is kicking your team’s butt.