After a sweeping win at the NHL awards last week, Sidney's face has been pretty much everywhere. And since it is Sid's mug that is widely recognized as the "Face of the NHL," Ray Slover of The Sporting News has some advice for the suits at the NHL on how they should capitalize on the recent exposure:
This is a genuine guy, this Sid the Kid. He should be the centerpiece of the NHL's marketing campaign. Certainly that campaign will continue to include Alexander Ovechkin, who has an electric smile and winning personality.
But Crosby is more what North American hockey fans want, and a man lukewarm fans can embrace. Handsome, articulate and, above all, a nonpareil talent. He can fill highlight reels, scraps of which will be used in NHL promos. Let me repeat that so the NHL marketing geniuses get it. Sidney Crosby will be the face of NHL marketing and promotion...
...This is the dawn of a new era for the NHL. Distractions must be avoided, a time of labor peace is mandatory and most of all, NHL players must avoid inflicting damage on their reputations. No more Dany Heatley crashes; no black marks from drug or alcohol incidents, or highly publicized domestic crises.
Don't limit the push to NHL markets. The league must leverage its publicity by looping in the AHL and ECHL, its primary farm system for talent. All three leagues will benefit.
And it certainly doesn't need any more television trouble. Technical difficulties prevented Versus from showing the awards show. The TV issue continues to be the most contentious matter for U.S. fans.
Give Crosby and his young cohorts a say in creating buzz. After all, Crosby is the young star and can better relate to his generation than any old guys on the Board of Governors or in NHL headquarters.
One more thing: Don't force it. Creating buzz for the NHL isn't a matter of loading a cannon and spraying puck pieces across the atmosphere. Fans don't want anything crammed down their throats.
Sidney Crosby is the next one. The next step is up to the NHL.
I am mostly on board with Slover, especially about the problems with the American television broadcasts and the no more Dany Heatley thing (wait, he meant no more scandals not "no more Dany Heatley..." so nevermind then), but he claims Ovechkin has "an electric smile and winning personality"?! Wow. Maybe it's just me, but I must have missed those qualities in him. All I can see when I look at him is a dirty hitter.