I hate Crosby. You hate him too. Pretty much everyone outside of Pittsburgh does. But you’d have to be a complete fool to deny how good he really is. And when he’s playing, the Penguins are a threat to everyone else in the league. Despite that, we want him healthy, and back to his usual self. I know it sounds crazy, but we should all be cheering for a full recovery before the season starts.
Look, we all want the Flyers to win the Cup. We’re dying for that to happen. But that’s not what got us into watching hockey originally. We watch hockey because it’s an exciting athletic competition. We watch because it’s really, really hard to win. And that’s where guys like Crosby come in. It’s always a challenge beating good teams, and stopping good players. That’s what makes victory against them so sweet.
Look back at the Flyers-Pens rivalry over the last 2 decades. After Lemieux retired and Jagr was traded, the rivalry completely fell apart. Did we really care if we beat Pittsburgh? Was it really that special? They dropped to the bottom of the standings, year after year. They could have disappeared (and nearly did) and nobody would have cared. A couple years, and first overall picks later, and the team is more than just relevant. When Sid came into the league, we all wanted to see what the hype was about. We didn’t hate him just because he was a rival player. We hated him for his whining. But while he was crying about everything, his team was also winning. And if you just look at what he does when he’s on the ice, it’s a lot of fun to watch.
I know that when him and Malkin were hurt last year, we expected the Pens to roll over and die. Instead, they kept pace with us, and nearly pulled out a division title. Still, when the playoffs rolled around, nobody feared them. And if those two aren’t ready to go this year, I don’t think Pittsburgh will be as much of a threat. And that just makes 6 games on the schedule that much less fun. Which is exactly why we need him back. We need to have that fear in the back of our minds that no matter how good our defense is, at some point he might just shred them to pieces. We need to have those opportunities to slam him through the wall. A competition isn’t fun without anyone to compete with.
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