Saturday, July 23, 2005

Steel City Saviour?

TSN is using the Steel City Saviour tagline to refer to Sidney Crosby now, after today's draft lottery awarded the 1st overall selection to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Isn't it perhaps a bit early to be referring to him as a saviour of a franchise for which he hasn't even donned the jersey yet? Expecting greatness out of Crosby at his age is hardly a new thing: he's been touted as the next Gretzky, unfairly, since he was 14 and 15.

But this isn't on-ice success we're talking about. The Penguins financial woes, their shoddy arena, and their city's recalcitrance at committing to a new one are not fresh problems. For all that Mario Lemieux has done for that franchise, they are still flirting with bankruptcy and continue to be plagued with arena problems; one of the three or five greatest players of all time couldn't prevent or cure these ills, but Nova Scotia Sid can?

Don't get me wrong: I would love for him to turn that franchise around. Crosby and Lemieux playing together is the hockey equivalent of a Harlequin Romance. The Penguins are a storied franchise and enjoyed tremendous success in the early 90's with, perhaps, one of the best NHL teams ever assembled. They have a great young core of players, not the least of which includes last year's 2nd overall pick Evgeni Malkin, for Crosby to mature with and build around. However, tying Sidney's success with whether or not he can save the flightless birds is a colossal mistake. Crosby should be judged solely for his on-ice endeavors. It is entirely possible that the Penguins cannot remain viable in that city and need to move to a Houston or a Portland, and there is not a great deal that Sidney Crosby can do about that.

If Mario Lemieux and the star-studded cast that surrounded him in the 90s couldn't fix that sinking ship, how is an 18-year old kid going to?

It seems sad that on the very day when the business side of things can finally be put behind us and we can focus once again on what happens on the ice, business and the game are pinned together yet again on the shoulders of poor Mr. Crosby. (Perhaps his nickname should be Atlas?) Best of luck, Sidney: apparently you have a franchise to save.


At 9:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have some angst at not getting what you want...perhaps your team will have another chance in the next decade or two.

At 12:05 PM, Blogger Dave Marshall said...

Not really. My team never had a realistic shot. I was hoping for a higher pick than we got but I have no angst about not landing Mr. Crosby.

I just think that one of the few bad situations he could have found himself in, he's in.

At 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be fair, ticket sales have shot up since it was discovered Pittsberg is going to more than likely snagging Crosby.

Pittsberg is a very fickle town, in regards to it's sports fans, given what I know and have heard from friends down there. More fairweather than, loffle, Calgary fans or, loffle, Vancouver fans, loffle, loffle, loffle.

If having a winning team through Crosby, Fleury, Super Mario, Recchi (because by gawd, TSN loves Recchi), et al is what it takes to make Steeltowners care about the Pens, then yes, Crosby will have 'saved' the franchise. Besides, if even 10% of the rumours you hear are true, the Penguins are going to be in Winnipeg as the Jets in the next couple of years if their financial woes do not resolve themselves and I cannot think of a better dowry the League could give Winnipeg than Mr. Crosby & Those Other Guys.

- Trevor


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