The website JumptheShark.com chronicles the exact moment that a television show goes from being good to being awful. The title of the site refers to the infamous episode of Happy Days in which Fonzie literally jumped a shark on water-skis.
The site has identified certain themes that repeatedly force a show to jump the shark. One of those themes is “They Did It” which refers to the moment when two characters with sexual tension between them finally get together romantically. An example would be the show Moonlighting (for those that are old enough to remember). The show was great when there was sexual tension between the two main characters (played by Bruce Willis and Cybil Sheppard) and the dialogue between them was always entertaining. Then…the two of them got together and from then on the spark was gone both in their relationship and in the show. The two of them getting together was something the fans of the show had been waiting for and yet the moment it happened the show began its decline.
I mention this not because I want to plug their site, though I do get a great deal of enjoyment out of it, but because I feel that the NHL is in danger of jumping the shark.
Right now Sidney Crosby is Bruce Willis and the Stanley Cup is Cybil Sheppard. Clearly Sidney REALLY wants Stanley, and truth be told Stanley wants Sidney as well. But the fact that the two of them have never gotten together is a huge storyline for the NHL right now and it’s one that could keep people tuning in for years to come. Unless, of course, Sidney and the Penguins win the Cup this season in which case he and Stanley will spend the summer together and the tension and anticipation of the moment will be gone forever. The NHL will, in essence, have jumped the shark.
Sidney Crosby is the face of the league, like it or not, and they’ve invested a lot in this young man and his career. The expectation is that he will eventually win a Stanley Cup and take the throne as Undisputed Best Player in the Game. However, I believe it is better for the NHL the longer that it takes for him to win the Cup.
If Sidney were to win the Cup this season there would be no drama around him in the future. He will have won his Cup and cemented his place in hockey history before he even turned 21. If, however, the Red Wings win the Cup this year than we can go into next year wondering if it will be the year that Sidney finally gets to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup. If he were to go another 10 years before he won it think of the drama and the emotion there would be!
Ray Bourque was never the face of the league and was never even the undisputed best defenseman in the sport due to guys like Al MacInnis, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger and Scott Stevens. But Bourque was a fan favorite in Boston and a guy that hockey fans all over the world rooted for. When he finally won the Cup with the Avalanche everyone was happy for him because he had waited so long. Had he won it earlier in his career that storyline simply wouldn’t have been there that season and the drama would not have been as compelling.
So, I contend that the longer Sidney Crosby waits to win the Cup the better it will be for the NHL. Having the media be able to ask “is this the year he’ll win it? Will he ever win it?” will build interest in the sport on an annual basis and the longer it builds the bigger the payoff will be when he does win it. It’s great to have him in the Finals but I am hoping he waits a little longer to become a champion.