As the Penguins worked their way through the four circles of hell known as the Stanley Cup Playoffs one thing became abundantly clear. People really don’t like Sidney Crosby.
Don’t like him.
I get the appeal, on the whole. To dislike a player on a team who consistently makes you look bad. It is of course why I still get sour-faced when people mention Jake Arrieta. It’s why I still get mad about Danny Briere being offsides. We are sports fans. We hold grudges. Sometimes far longer than we should (See: Subban, P.K. circa 2010).
But sometimes players transcend those grudges. Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Jaromir Jagr and Sidney Crosby. Those are the names Sidney Crosby belongs with. Among the greatest ever to play the game regardless of team preference or affiliation. Because what Crosby has done has been part of a revitalization of hockey.
His Little Penguins Learn to Play program got more young Pittsburghers playing than ever before. He spends individual time with young players who attend his summer hockey school in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada. He once bought a glass of lemonade off of a friend of mine as a child because he knows the cardinal rule of lemonade stands (That being: you see a small child with a lemonade stand you buy some, always.) During the 2012 lockout, he delivered bikes to local Toys for Tots charities and worked with other Pittsburgh-based NHLers to visit kids in the hospital, as is a common NHL team Holiday Season tradition.
Sidney Crosby is a good guy. A good ambassador and good for the game. In fifty years, people all over the league will remark they got to see him play. It will be like the game when Orr flew, Crosby’s game 5 against Nashville. But right now? It’s more fun to trash an all-time great. More fun to point out the few times he’s had enough instead of the hundreds of games when he’s roundly abused and says nothing.
Too bad all those tweets can’t stop him from spending the last 365 days winning two Stanley Cups, two Conn Smythes, a World Cup of Hockey, the World Cup of Hockey MVP Award, and the “Maurice” Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goal scorer.
I think I’ll just let one last tweet say it all: