Sidney Crosby is out again with post-concussion symptoms from a collision with Chris Kunitz. The bad news in this situation is that it didn't even take a head hit to start the post concussion symptoms again. Not a good sign for the Penguins or the NHL. Sid is the face of the league and the NHL needs for him to play for it to grow (hate him or not you know it's true). This situation reminds of Eric Lindros or Pat Lafontaine, but worse with the caliber of player Crosby is. With concussions becoming a big issue now in the NHL with star players like Giroux, Skinner, and Pronger most recently to add to the list of concussed players.
The Crosby situation got me to thinking of a interesting topic. Who takes Sid's spot as the new face of the NHL? The league needs someone to put on national broadcasts and attract in more fans. A few years ago the obvious choice would be Alexander Ovechkin. However AO has become a shell of his former self and no longer is talked about in the same breathe as Crosby. Next logical choice could be Steven Stamkos, but I think playing in the Tampa market he doesn't get the exposure most players would see. He is a supreme talent and one of the top players in the NHL, but I don't think I would put him as my new face. How about Claude Giroux? He is a rising star in this league, but does he have enough of a history to push him into that status? Maybe in a few years, but not right now we could look at Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as the new face, or how about a young Matt Duchene in Colorado? Let me throw out a few more possibilities, Pavel Datsyuk, Corey Perry, Anze Kopitar, Geno, Tim Thomas, Tyler Seguin, Ryan Miller, Zach Parise, Kovi, Sedins and John Tavares. That's just a few I'm sure there's more.
However I think my choice is from the Chicago Blackhawks. I think from that team you two choices in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Both players have the skill and flash to draw in news fans and get the ratings. Patrick Kane showed how nasty he could be last night in the shootout against Minnesota, but I think I give a slight edge to Toews. Toews is the captain of that team and always shows up in big situations. I watched the game a week or so ago when the Hawks were down 3-0 to Coyotes on home ice and Toews single handly brought the Hawks back to tie it at 3-3 and at least get a point in a 4-3 shootout loss. He shows up every game and leads his team in Chicago in a big time hockey market.
Jonathan Toews is my choice for the new face of the NHL. Who do you think?
Sabres blog to come tomorrow.