Michael Jordan had the ball. The game was on the line. He drove to the free-throw line, stepped back on Byron Russell. Iconic moment in NBA history. Even if you don't like the NBA, you remember that play.
Now imagine, directly after that, some marginal NBA player and a horrible former GM got on National TV and said, "Jordan pushed off; that is embarrassing. That is a soft no-call."
Maybe that is a little extreme. Imagine if Lebron James got himself fouled and won the game at the free-throw line. Would the NBA studio hosts go on to call Lebron James a diver? A fraud? The face of their league, the best player in the world. Would they?
On Sunday, Sidney Crosby made this play:
Game on the line, playing with a mask that makes him look like Master Shredder. Crosby got a matchup he liked, drove to the net, and drew a penalty. The Pens went on to score the game-winning goal on the ensuing powerplay. (Oh, by the way, Crosby assisted on it.)
National TV game. Broadcast over. Internet buzzing. They throw it back to the studio, and we get this:
Wow. Crosby went down a little too easy, we hear?
If that was Lebron James driving down the lane late in OT, getting fouled and winning the game at the free-throw line, the studio would love it. The brilliance of the play would be celebrated, not mocked.
The NBA celebrates that. But, no, the NHL puts two hacks on NBC, and they tell a national audience the best player in their game is a diver.
Even if Crosby dove (he didn't; he drew a penalty), why say that? Now"the "casual fan" thinks Crosby is a diver. Well done.
The NHL has four to five times a year to get to a casual fan. Now they let Jeremy Roenick and some hack former GM make their game look like a joke. How dumb is it that NBC will show unlimited commercials featuring Crosby throughout the playoffs, but you've already branded him as soft and called him a diver?
And, hey, we're not saying that people shouldn't speak their minds, but how about someone that can actually do so without undermining your entire league? The NBA studio shows do it. But, no, the NHL would rather have Mike Milbury troll Sidney Crosby and even Alex Ovechkin. They'd rather have Jeremy Roenick go to Twitter and taunt fanbases.
NBC has a small window to sell their game and players. They failed once again on Sunday.