Sidney Crosby Dominates, Highlights NHL’s Flaws

Recently, Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby has reminded us that he is the best hockey player in the world.

While referencing Sidney Crosby, New York Rangers Coach Alain Vigneault reminded us how archaic and derelict the NHL can be.

Simply the Best

Since Mike Sullivan was promoted from Wilkes-Barre to replace the fired Mike Johnston, Crosby has been on a tear of epic proportions.

Prior to the coaching change Crosby struggled, and many were ready to write him off. Past his prime. Too many concussions. Doesn’t care enough. People wanted to bench or trade him. There was even a trending hashtag on Twitter #StripTheC.

How many of those people are back on the bandwagon?

Crosby hasnt just helped his team win, and put up a few points along the way. He has created highlight reel plays and reached a superhuman level.

After missing the All-Star game, and being completely written out of the NHL scoring race, Crosby has stampeded back into the thick of things. Only Patrick Kane (76), Jamie Benn (59), Erik Karlsson (59), and Tyler Seguin (56) have more points than Crosby’s 53.

Before Sullivan’s promotion, Crosby had a Relative Corsi of -2.8 and a Corsi For % of 46.5. After Sullivan, those numbers changed to 8.7 and 60.8 respectively. His statistics are a direct result of dominating possession.

Looks like Sid isn’t ready to hand the league over to Connor McDavid just yet.

A League Stuck in the 70’s

On Monday, New York Rangers Coach Alain Vigneault criticized the NHL for not suspending Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds for a hit that left Ryan McDonagh concussed. Vigneault wondered publicly what action the league would have taken if the injured party was Sidney Crosby.

Our own Mike Necciai had the perfect answer to Vigneault’s question.

Mike had a few more quality examples that can be found on his Twitter feed @Michael29Angelo

The abuse that Crosby has suffered during his career, and the lack of any substantial response by the league is a prime example of what is wrong in the NHL.

This is no longer the age when “enforcers” roam the ice with a valid reason for being there. The average hockey fan is very different than in the past. Few people come to games expecting to see line brawls and unnecessary crunching hits. Hockey has, allegedly, evolved into a skill game built on speed and finesse.

For the most part the players have changed. The way people watch games has changed. The way franchises build teams has changed. This is the age of fancy stats, and gif makers. Everything has changed in this wonderful game except the people who make, and enforce the rules.

One of the main objectives of the 2004-05 lockout was to open up the game to skill players and eliminate the “clutch and grab” that factored into Mario Lemieux’s first retirement. For a time after the lockout ended, skill did reign supreme, but year after year since, the league has crept back into the dark ages.

The NHL makes excuses for players hurting players. They allow their stars to be slowed down by instructing the refs to put their whistles in their pockets. This is a golden age of talent in the NHL. Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos, Connor McDavid, and their fellow stars don’t need bigger nets or smaller goalie pads. They simply need protection from players with a clear intent to injure. They need to be allowed to play the game the way that it should be. Yes, physical play is part of the game, but let us be smart about it.

Sidney Crosby is the face of the NHL because he displays the great things about the league. As a result of his concussions and repeated abuse, he has also become the face of what is wrong in the NHL.

Until next time.