|03-19-2005, 09:14 AM||#1|
lets go partner
Join Date: Oct 2004
Crosby stuck in the middle of NHL mess
Matt Canamucio, NHL Editor
Matt Canamucio Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The National Hockey League really wants to have its 2005 Entry Draft. And it wants to badly.
Not only will holding the draft restore some order and normalcy to the hockey world, but it would allow phenom Sidney Crosby to begin his NHL career sooner as opposed to later.
And what a better way to come back from a painful labor strife than with a seemingly legit "Next One" leading the way. If Crosby can live up to a half of his billing it could be the jumpstart the NHL needs to win back those fringe fans that have been alienated.
I mean the kid has been compared to Wayne Gretzky by Wayne Gretzky himself. Now whether or not he'll score 92 goals in a season remains to be seen, but having him to market the league around as it scrapes itself off the mat wouldn't be a bad start to recovery.
Remember how Cal Ripken, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa helped bring baseball back after the 1994 strike. Well, the NHL already has a crop of young talent ready to take the reins once the lockout is over. Crosby would give that group a bona fide spearhead and hopefully liven up a league desperate for excitement.
In 59 games for his junior team, Sidney Crosby has tallied 64 goals and 93 assists.
I'm sure most of you reading this have heard of Crosby, who plays for the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL. But do you specifically know of his accomplishments?
He is currently in his second season with the Oceanic, and has shattered the remarkable numbers (54g, 81a in 59 games) he recorded his rookie year. In 59 games this campaign he has tallied 64 goals and 93 assists for the Eastern Division leaders.
The 17-year-old has been named QMJHL Offensive Player of the Week the last three weeks, and six times overall this season. He claimed last week's honor with 12 points in two games, including a three goal, four assist effort in a 10-6 win against Rouyn-Noranda last Friday.
Crosby took his first step toward being a professional last week by signing an endorsement deal with Reebok, which has recently jumped into the hockey world by purchasing the Hockey Company. The pact will reportedly pay the teenager $2.5 million over the next five years.
As for his future if the NHL doesn't have a new CBA in place in time for a draft, that's where things get murky. If an agreement is signed in the summer or fall in time to save next season, there's always a chance the phenom could be declared a free agent and go to a team of his choosing. And if there is no next season, the options essentially boil down to: going back to Juniors, playing in Europe or being a prime attraction in the new WHA.
That last option might be the most intriguing, as the presence of a young star like Crosby could be what the WHA needs to get off the ground, although it remains to be seen if the league can even escape the infancy stages. Whether or not that can happen could become clearer if/when the WHA holds the Bobby Hull Invitational tournament with locked out NHL players this spring.
If the tournament attracts viewers and makes money, it could make the WHA a viable force and option for Crosby. Or it could crash and burn and leave Europe and Juniors as his only choices.
Unless, of course, the NHL and NHLPA's brain trust can settle their differences in the coming months, which would lead to No. 87 taking his turn at carrying the NHL's superstar torch next October.