March 07, 2010
In yet another "how the NHL should capitalize on the Olympic viewership column, Artie Gigantino of the San Francisco
Chronicle Examiner makes a few salient suggestions (loved the newspaper ad) and a few awful ones (1. Ban fighting; 2. ???? 3. Get Olympic ratings). But this idea definitely resonated:
Although the season resumed right away, allow two or three of them to appear on Leno or Letterman. That is worth its weight in gold, no pun intended. Drew Brees made the rounds after the Super Bowl, as did Derek Jeter after the World Series.
Worth its weight in gold ... provided the guy with the gold is up for it. Larry Brooks of the NY Post wrote on Sunday that David Letterman's show extended an invitation to Sidney Crosby(notes) when the Pittsburgh Penguins were in New York last week, and were denied.
What better way to examine this decision than with a Top 10 list, right?
Upon learning of the snub, Slap Shots was told that this wasn't the first time Crosby, who last year declined to appear on NBC's "Today" show following Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup victory, had rejected a request from Letterman's "Late Show."
We only can imagine the demands on Crosby's time. Yet, in the days that hockey was front-page and back- page material after Canada gold, U.S. silver in overtime attracted more television viewers in the States than any game since the Lake Placid Miracle in 1980, it's difficult to understand why the NHL's most recognizable player and ambassador refused to spread the gospel.
Well, it's not that difficult. But it is a bummer. So, from the home office in Cole Harbour, here are The Top 10 Reasons Sidney Crosby Declined the Letterman Invitation:
10. Crosby and other high-profile Olympians for the U.S. and Canada went beyond the call with the media and appearances for a few weeks, and once the last beaver was deflated at the Closing Ceremonies it was back to NHL business -- especially for a guy with Crosby's focus. So it's understandable that he's turned the page on the Olympics and that he's probably exhausted by them, too.
9. Worried that Letterman would only leave him sloppy seconds on the cute staffers.
8. Crosby was worried about the bitter U.S. fans in a New York audience receiving him the same way the Ryan Miller loyalists did in Pittsburgh.
7. Took "how to grow the game" media relations advice from the Russian Olympic Team. That said: If we're going to kill the Russians for not speaking to the media during the Olympics and failing to promote hockey, then Crosby deserves the same rhetorical smack upside the head for declining a major crossover guest spot like Letterman.
6. Worried that Pierre McGuire will drug Paul Schaffer and replace him on stage, leading to uncomfortable leering during segment taping.
5. He doesn't believe a Letterman appearance is a way for the NHL to capitalize on the Olympic momentum in a smart, hip way, and without selling out by fundamentally changing the game for casual fans. He would be very, very wrong, of course.
4. He , or Reebok, found the content to be offensive. Or, after seeing what the New York Rangers had to do with Madonna in their last appearance on Letterman, was worried he'd have to be a human rickshaw for Lady Gaga.
2. Doesn't understand that the most popular player in a given sport -- LeBron James, Peyton Manning -- has an obligation to that sport and its fans to capitalize on moments of ultimate success in order to attract more fans and raise the profile of the sport. Or, in the short form: Does anyone believe Ryan Miller(notes) wouldn't have been on Letterman last week if the U.S. had won gold?
And the No. 1 reason Sidney Crosby Declined the Letterman Invitation ...
Two words: Team Leno.