Sunday, July 24, 2005

Sidney Crosby:
The weight of a franchise on his shoulders

What more can really be said about Sidney Crosby joining the Pittsburgh Penguins that the 24 hour sports talk shows have missed?

The thing everyone has to keep in mind is that only very seldomly can a first-year player dominate in the NHL. In the post previous to this one, I listed those first-year players who had more than 100 points in their first season, and it's not a very long list.

That said, there's nothing wrong with high expectations. The only problem so far is that people are saying Crosby, a 17-year-old from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, will be the savior of this franchise.

As if competing against men in the best hockey league in the world wasn't enough pressure.

Look, Sidney (should you be one of the players reading along here), if for some reason you don't live up to all of the hype on the ice, don't despair. A guy like Joe Sakic only had 62 points in his rookie season at age 19.

At 5-foot-11, Crosby's not going to overpower any of the defensemen in the NHL. Granted, his speed, athleticism and the physical power of his lower body will do wonders as a rookie, but keep in mind that he's not Eric Lindros, a behemoth who can push his way into scoring position.

If anyone watched the Memorial Cup, they'll recall seeing Crosby beaten down and frustrated as his overmatched QMJHL team lost to the London Knights in the finals. Expect that to be a familiar scene as the Penguins, an absolutely dismal club last season, could certainly struggle even with the young phenom, a healthy Mario Lemieux and offseason addition Mark Recchi (all three of whom Lemieux has said would play together on the team's top line).

Make no mistake, Crosby will be great. Just remember that he doesn't have to be the second coming of anyone else in order to do so.



At 4:57 p.m., July 25, 2005, Blogger aquietgirl said...

I would hate to see Crosby go through what M-A Fleury went through, although his job is probably either than poor, shaken, Marc-Andre's ...


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