March 21, 2009
Our coverage of Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby is, looking back on it, all over the place: He's the guy who takes off his visor to fight, and the guy who speed-bags a dude from behind in a brawl; he's a startling talent on the ice, but not the MVP candidate that teammate Evgeni Malkin and the Washington Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin are; he's the guy the NHL sells as a hero, but the villain is so much more interesting.
But that's Crosby as of 2009. Look at any comments section on those stories, and you'll see hundreds of readers that loathe him, resent him, and maybe even a few that appreciate him.
The bashers outnumber the admirers, but that's because bashing him is easy -- it's more difficult to pinpoint why some fans are able to cut through the stereotypical Crosby detractions (crying, whining, entitlement) and embrace him as their favorite player.
So we decided to take a look at Crosby's popularity, asking a number of Penguins fans why they choose to support him beyond the sweater he wears. We wanted to ask Sid himself if he's aware of the backlash against him.
At the same time, we also wanted to explore an old plank in the Puck Daddy platform: How the NHL needs to balance its marketing of "Sidney Crosby, Golden Boy" with "Sidney Crosby, Public Enemy No. 1." With the time-tested comparison to professional wrestling, of course.
Check out the results here in the latest Puck Daddy Mini-Doc: "The Hate and Love of Sidney Crosby." (Running time: 8:04).