ShareThis Page

Crosby a superstar everyone should respect

| Friday, July 13, 2007

At 19, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has established himself as the face of the National Hockey League.

He's a superstar who doesn't behave like one.

Crosby is every sports fan's fantasy: The hands-down No. 1 player who plays for the love of the game and doesn't take himself too seriously, while understanding that playing in the NHL is a privilege and not a right.

What a concept.

A league featuring a player such as Crosby -- the reigning league MVP who graciously turned down millions of dollars to sign a more team-friendly, five-year contract extension Tuesday -- is worth watching.

It should behoove NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to acquire a better television contract, so more people can watch a league with a star attraction such as Crosby, who's too good to be true.

True hockey fans know all about Crosby, who's worshipped here.

But Crosby's blue-collar appeal transcends the NHL and has the potential to draw people who don't know a red line from a foul line but pine for a humble superstar with a strong work ethic.

What Crosby did this week off the ice rivals what he accomplished on the ice last season.

What he did is just about unheard of for a player of his lofty status. He's a superstar who left millions of dollars on the table when he could have waited another year to negotiate and drive up his price.

Peyton Manning wouldn't do it in the NFL. A-Rod wouldn't do it in Major League Baseball. Kobe Bryant wouldn't do it in the NBA.

Make no mistake, Crosby is every bit as good in hockey.

He's the best of the best. He zigs when other players zag. He sees plays unfold before they happen. He plays the game on a completely different level from everyone else.

He's earned the right to squeeze every dollar out of the Penguins because not only does he help his team win, he brings more value to the franchise.

But Crosby isn't consumed by ego. He's comfortable with who he is.

He wants to win, and the best way for the Penguins to win is to keep their young and talented nucleus intact.

He's doing his part by signing a contract extension that will pay him what he's worth, but it may not be what he deserves over the length of the deal.

Crosby will be set for life before he turns 24. He'll never have to worry about money again. But it's still a bargain for the best player in the NHL.

Penguins fans should never begrudge Crosby his money and fame.

To his way of thinking, Crosby doesn't have to be the highest-paid player or drive the most expensive car to be happy. Heck, he's still a renter at Mario Lemieux's home during the season.

It's the kind of thinking fans would love to see from more superstar athletes.

Respect the game. Respect the fans. Remember where you came from.

Crosby has never forgotten.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.