Friday, May 30, 2008

Drama in Canadian media.

* insert Darth Vader's theme* There's trouble in fantasyland, folks. So there's this long-running thing here about Crosby and Don Cherry. Waaaay back when Sidney played for the Rimouski Oceanic he scored this absolutely ridiculous goal (ridiculous = awesome) where he basically played the puck lacrosse-style with his stick and into the net. Anyway Cherry called him a "hot dog" for doing it.

Since the said event Cherry hasn't really ever praised Crosby, but he also hasn't really crapped on him like some other players (see: Jarmior Jagr in the late 90s). Cherry prefers the Jordan Staals and Gary Roberts of the hockey world, and that's fine, it's what Cherry's about. I accept
that. Nobody turns on Coach's Corner to see Cherry coo over players that everyone knows are awesome and should be awesome every game. We turn it on to see what kind of abuse he shells out.

But then Globe and Mail columnist William Houston (see the story below) writes an opinion piece on Cherry's opinion of Crosby. So (of course) here's my opinion on Houston's opinion of Cherry's opinion. Still with me? (man, where's a good Duthie-ism when I need one?) Here's my favourite quote, it's what Houston tries to wrap up his point with.

"But as a whole, the Hockey Night response to Crosby's effort was dismissive and small - a disservice, not to Crosby, because he receives plenty of kudos and doesn't need them from Hockey Night. It was a disservice to the telecast and the viewers."

A disservice to the viewers, eh? Well apparently, as a viewer i'm just a little to slow on the uptake to realize that Sidney Crosby had a good game without someone at Hockey Night in Canada telling me. Wait, but Houston also admits that they did mention Crosby's play. So I guess that simply mentioning it won't get through my thick viewer skull. Gee, I sure wish P.J Stock and Craig Simpson had come on like a couple of screaming junior high kids, jumping up and down with signs... like Sidney Crosby is like totally like playing like the best player like everrrrrrrrrr! lol, lmao, hugz!!!.... I would have definitely figured it out then.

There's this word i'm looking for, what is it? Oh yes, OVER-REACTION. Seriously, Houston
comes off in this piece like a whiny guy who wishes he was on Hockey Night in Canada. Yes, I agree. Crosby did look incredible in game three, in fact I think he looked like he was on some sort of mission to destiny. A destiny that involved magic, and some sort of dramatic music montage....... He played awesome (and created a whole new artery bulge on Mike Babcock's neck). I also agree that there does seem to be the "ABC" (Anybody But Crosby) factor with a lot of fans/media, and i would be the first to call foul when it happens (see: Philadelphia series). But I also agree that Gary Roberts - Jordan Staal pairing went out there and absolutely destroyed. They brought momentum, and the fact that Roberts was a healthy scratch a few days ago is also a very good story (Not to mention, i'm pretty sure he's the same age as Sidney's Dad, Troy). Also let's not mention that the Penguins were out-shot badly and Marc-Andre Fluery held the fort.

If Hockey Night in Canada had've said nothing about the play of the rest of the team and focussed totally on Crosby's play then you'd be on their arse for not recognizing a team effort when they see one.

Just so you know. It does take a full team to win a game, sure Crosby was a bit part of it. But if it was just him out there, there'd be no magic... or music montage.

Hockey Night snubs Crosby, and viewers

Headshot of William Houston

Let's see. He's the youngest player to be appointed as the captain of an NHL team. This is his first Stanley Cup final. Hard to tell, but he may still be hurting from an ankle injury that sidelined him for 29 games in the regular season.

On Wednesday, Sidney Crosby scored two of the Pittsburgh Penguins' three goals and logged almost 20 minutes of ice time to lead the Penguins back into their series against the Detroit Red Wings. It was a terrific performance.

But guess who received the attention during the Hockey Night in Canada postgame coverage? Gary Roberts.

The show's grudge against Crosby has gone well beyond ridiculous. Yes, host Ron MacLean interviewed him last Saturday, but the show's most influential commentator, Don Cherry, doesn't like him. And MacLean certainly defers to his elder.

"He's only 19 years old," Cherry said.

Yes, and Crosby's 20.

The ABC rule (Anybody But Crosby) had MacLean toeing the line. When he read off the three stars of the game, he said Crosby had been selected as the first star for scoring the opening goal and picking up another.

That understated Crosby's impact on the game about as much as saying Tiger Woods is occasionally noticed on the PGA Tour.

When Cherry did his postgame spot for ESPN, he continued to ignore Crosby and wax lyrical about Roberts. Finally, ESPN commentator Barry Melrose said, "What about the Crosby kid?"

"Oh," Cherry said. "I forgot. Yeah, he played a great game."

Crosby should be a Cherry favourite. He's a Canadian, he's tough and he has been in at least one fight. But the two got off to a bad start when Crosby was in junior hockey and was rapped by Cherry for being a hot dog because he used a lacrosse-style stick manoeuvre to score a goal. For his part, Crosby has a bit of an edge and he probably hasn't been appropriately deferential to Cherry.

Whatever the case, his performance on Wednesday ranked as one of the big NHL stories of the year and it deserved raves.

True, Hockey Night put him on the air for a postgame interview with reporter Elliotte Friedman. How could it not? And analyst Craig Simpson said a few words, chosen carefully, about his rising to the occasion.

But as a whole, the Hockey Night response to Crosby's effort was dismissive and small - a disservice, not to Crosby, because he receives plenty of kudos and doesn't need them from Hockey Night.

It was a disservice to the telecast and the viewers.

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