NHL Misses Opportunity In First McDavid-Crosby Matchup

You can’t deny that the NHL has no problem in marketing their stars, of which they have no shortage of. Coming out of the lockout, we got Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin crammed down our throat, even if those two weren’t relevant in what we were watching.

So now with the league seeing the next generation of marketable superstars make their marks, you can already see the NHL push these players out in the spotlight.

It takes more than slapping some pictures on billboards, or putting those faces in commercials, people want to see them play, in actual games, against some of the other bright stars around the league.

They don’t want to see a fake ‘rivalry’ on NBC Sports Net’s ‘Wednesday Night Rivalry’ between the Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings just because the two teams share a conference after meeting the in Stanley Cup Final 20 years ago.

The NHL had a perfect opportunity to showcase maybe the best head-to-head matchup they have to offer in Crosby - who is coming of winning the Conn Smythe - and Connor McDavid, the player many have pegged for years now to take up the mantle as the league’s best.

Both Crosby and McDavid have a lot in common, first overall picks with the hopes of a franchise and a fanbase on their backs. They also have had to deal with the pressure of being ‘The Next One’ from a very young age.

Of course Crosby came in the league much later than McDavid, having risen to the top of the league, winning the Stanley Cup twice, and stockpiling personal accolades along the way.

Just at 19 years old, like Crosby did before, McDavid took over as the captain of his team, the Edmonton Oilers, becoming the youngest to do so in the history of the league.

The talent is currently there, as an 18 year old rookie McDavid averaged more than a point per game, and could have finished near the top of the points standings if not for a broken collarbone that forced him to play barely more than half the season.

With all of this, for the first time in their careers, Crosby and McDavid will share the ice as their teams play.

Having ‘The Best’ versus ‘The Next’ matchup for the first time, it should have been an easy sell for the NHL to put them on national television, but fans won’t even be able to turn to the NHL Network to get a look at the matchup.

What a shame.

Imagine the entire East Coast market you could have reached by having McDavid and Crosby play against each other on television. Think of it, how many casual fans this side of the Mississippi River have actually seen McDavid play?

I’d imagine not as many as it should be.

And being on the East Coast, love or hate him, you have seen Crosby play. Now you could tune in and root for or against him AND get to see the league’s brightest young star. Playing in Edmonton that opportunity won’t come much for a lot of people.

Tuesday night could be one of those night’s that everyone talks about 10 years from now, when another player is attempting to take McDavid’s crown from him.

It’s just too bad only one market in the US is guaranteed to be able to see it.