Saturday, December 23, 2006


Thanks to a poster over on the Caps official discussion boards, The Peerless came across these musings from the Toronto Star.

All The Peerless can say is, ENOUGH ALREADY!!!"

Here's the money quote:

"Imagine, for example, if [Sidney] Crosby was a Chicago Blackhawk and [Alex] Ovechkin a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

"Or if Ovechkin was in Philly and Crosby was a Ranger.

"Now you'd have something cooking."

OK, Mr. Cox, here's what I'd imagine . . .

If Crosby was a Blackhawk, he'd be playing for the worst franchise in the league, and no amount of '87' jersey sales would change that fact. The Blackhawks would never seriously compete for a Stanley Cup. They might make the playoffs from time to time, but Bill Wirtz would never make the last investments he would have to make to get a Cup for the Windy City. Crosby would be sentenced to a career that would be haunted by the title, "best player never to win a Cup."

If Ovechkin was a King, he's be dressed in the worst uniform in the league playing for a club at least as boring, by its own historical standard, as the Caps. A club with no particular history of its own to speak of (sorry, Wayne Gretzky wrote his history in Edmonton), it has the personality of the Clippers of the NBA, which is to say, none. This is a club that tried a personality infusion through the signing of Jeremy Roenick, for heaven's sake.

If Ovechkin was a Flyer . . . well, so what? Since the 1974-75 season -- the last time the Flyers won the Cup -- what Flyer has been a poster boy for the league? Eric Lindros? Ron Hextall? please... The Flyers draw well -- they will do so without Ovechkin -- but do they make fans across North America think, "hockey?" Not lately, and Ovechkin doesn't make them a playoff team in the next couple of years, either, even if you dropped him smack in the middle of their current lineup.

If Crosby was a Ranger . . . he'd compete with Derek Jeter and the Jints and the soap opera that is the New York Knicks . . . not to mention the possibility of the Brooklyn Nets . . . for space on the back page of the tabloids. Would he make a bigger impact than Jaromir Jagr? Perhaps, in time, but . . . so? And, does he make the Rangers a bona fide contender? In this case, he probably does (providing Jagr is still there...if not, no).

But let's get to the bottom line....would these imaginings improve the NHL's television ratings? National TV lineups are a product of reputation, and not generally that of players. Winning, either by tradition or recently, means something. Buffalo has eight appearances on Versus this year . . . Detroit, the Rangers, and Colorado have seven (so does Pittsburgh -- the Crosby Effect -- but then again, so does Boston, which I can't figure out). Washington, with one of those players noted in this article, have two (one against Crosby). That's not a product of love -- real or perceived -- but wins and losses, which have been a problem in these parts recently.

There is nothing particularly special about Colorado as a hockey hotbed. They've had good college teams, but no one is going to confuse Denver with Minneapolis as a hockey haven. The Avalanche have done it with sustained excellence (of course, now we'll see what happens that they've taken a step backward on the ice -- they're 13th in attendance at the moment). The team sucked in Quebec, but the addition of Patrick Roy and the development of Joe Sakic were crucial to the success they finally achieved. And, attendance (not to mention TV attention) followed suit. The same might yet hold true for Ovechkin in Washington and Crosby in (one hopes) Pittsburgh. As for the cities mentioned, I'm not seeing exactly what the benefit of having either player displaying their skills in those cities means overall to those cities or the league.

Frankly, this "Ovechkin and Crosby in unloving cities" nonsense has grown past tiresome. It's reached into the realm of silly envy, which reveals itself in Cox' own comment at the end of his article . . .

"The [Toronto] Maple Leafs will get a close look at both players over the next six days, Ovechkin tonight and then Crosby and the Pens next Friday.

"That'll give Leaf fans their chance to daydream what it would be like to have either in a blue-and-white uniform."

Enough already...

1 comment:

Caps Nut said...

It isn't a question of "wins and losses" on the ice. Because if that were the case, the Penguin Scum would have few national TV appearances than the Caps because over the past few seasons, the Caps have had more wins than the Penguin Scum.

It has everything to do with reputation and who the league decides they want to boost.