So who in the NHL’s “hockey operations” department decided that the annual All-Star game – virtually meaningless except as a marketing showpiece for the league – should this year exclude its #1 sales asset?
Crosby, along with most of his Pittsburgh teammates, is in the midst of a forgettable season. With only 31 points in 38 games, he’s well under his historic 1+ points per game pace. But not only is he turning things around (7 points in his last 4 games), he is also not entirely at fault for his earlier scoring woes this season.
I’ve seen quite a few Penguins games this year. Although Sid hasn’t dominated shift after shift as he has often done throughout his career, he has generated many fine scoring chances as per usual. Those on the receiving end of his sublime passes (hello Chris Kunitz, Phil Kessel, Patrick Hornqvist) just haven’t made much of the opportunities. Kunitz is past his best-by date, Hornqvist has been largely a failed experiment for the Pens, and Kessel – well, anyone who has watched much Toronto Maple Leafs hockey over the years knows how the man’s name itself equals inconsistency.
Beyond this, though, there’s the sheer wrongheadedness of leaving Crosby out of a weekend that the NHL clearly views as more an advertisement for the speed and skill of its product than as anything remotely resembling a real hockey game. This year’s 3-on-3 format (smart thinking, btw) underscores that orientation. So do fans want to see Toews, Kane, Ovechkin, Sedin, Karlsson et al going head-to-head with Crosby or Komarov? Sid or John Scott?
Time for a video replay on this bad call. Get Crosby out there.