Crosby Almost Takes a Stand and *sigh* Comments on Adam Baratta's Interview with Puck Daddy.

Myself and many people have a hate-hate relationship with Sidney Crosby. We hate him for playing hockey against our teams, we hate him for being the NHL's poster child, and we hate him for getting away with the same cheap shots that many players around the league get away with, albeit they are in smaller spotlights. Finally, we also hate Crosby for being so damned talented and the being the best hockey player in the world. There is one thing that I do like about the sure-to-be-lifelong Penguin center, his willingness to call out the league.
The Globe and Mail had reported a few days ago that Sidney Crosby was considering snubbing the All-Star Game in Raleigh as a protest against how the NHL has handled headshots to date. There was only a single source cited saying that Crosby might be a no-show at the game, but Crosby was quick in coming out and announcing that he had no intention of skipping the event whether he was healthy or concussed. I have to admit that I was disappointed when the statement came through from Crosby. With all the controversy surrounding not only how the league handles headshots but also how discipline is dolled out, I felt that someone needed to take a strong, open stand. Someone with clout needed to say enough is enough, people are getting hurt, there is no such thing as a “mild” concussion, and we have to take serious steps to prevent headshots.  The reserved superstar that is Sidney Crosby would have made the perfect rallying point around which other players, coaches, player agents, doctors, etc. could gather.

In the end that brief glimmer that the league's most widely touted star was going to do something great for the game that didn't involve putting the puck in the net was quashed.  I respect his willingness to be vocal about the issue, but he's been vocal about it before and nothing has really changed.  Hopefully, sometime soon, a player with Crosby's status will push back and force the league to fully confront the problem.  Yes, we've just seen suspensions to Scotty Nichol and the excitingly named Mike Brown, but there have been roughly ten other suspensions related to head contact already this season.  Those are cases in which suspension occurred, there are sure to be more instances, such as Crosby's, were there was contact but no penalty or supplemental discipline.  While in most cases I do not believe the players were intending to injury their opponent, there clearly is not enough of an incentive to avoid such potential injuries.

I just got through reading a recent post from Wyshynski over at Puck Daddy that contained detailed information about what the Guardian Project is supposed to be about.  Fine, ok, there is some really nice stuff to be found in the blog from Adam Baratta, one of the big guys behind the scenes of the Guardian Project.  I think the biggest thing that Baratta brings up is that we're seeing the Guardians completely without context.  That's a fair statement.  But there's more because there is always more.
There were certain limitations we had in the creation of these characters. The Flame had to have fire, OK? The Bruin had to be a bear. I think we've been fairly creative,"
"If you look at the majority of the superheroes created out there, there's a similarity in the way they're created. They all have ripping muscles and tight suits and have very similar looks and feels. We needed to have 30 characters that were unique and distinct and recognizable.
 I have spent my share of time railing against the character design and, honestly, this doesn't help.  Baratta tells us that there is a way that superheroes have been traditionally constructed, and implies that the creative team followed this formula.  First of all, I understand that you've got to make thirty characters plus villains and such, but don't start a quote saying that you've been creative and then let us know that your team used a formulaic approach to hero creation.  Still, several of the heroes have been received successfully, typically using because of the traits I described in a previous blog.  I personally believe the Flame and the Bruin are among the more successful.  I wish that Baratta had taken time to address some of the more blatant copy jobs or confusing power/story combinations. (I'm looking at you Mr. The Oiler... with your love of nature and you're giant crude oil spewing cannons).

The other thing that grabbed me was the follow question and answer:
So are the NHL Guardians like a second tier of mascots for NHL teams?
"These guys are not mascots," said Baratta, curtly.
"Mascots are cute and cuddly and really for the very young fan. Superheroes are the kick-ass tough guys that represent the spirit of the team."
Sounds like a lot of folks think that the Guardians are mascots, eh?  I've personally never felt that way, but I certainly understand the sentiment.  So, these guys are supposed to be the spirit of the team and reach out to demographics that aren't "very young fans."  I imagine then that we're talking about primarily male tweens to teens and then comic loving adults, fair enough.  I've still got two questions, one of which I've addressed before:

1. We now have a superhero for each team.  The superhero represents the spirit of the team.  But what about the fans and the players?  As a kid those guys out on the ice were like superheroes to me.  How they played and how we as the fans reacted embodied the spirit of the team.  Do you think the Predator Guardian embodies the spirit of the Nashville Predators on any level approaching the TV Timeout Ovation and subsequent goal we witnessed against the Blackhawks on January 15th?

2. You've seen this before, but I still want to know.  What about the girls?  Yes, girls read comic books and like superheroes, that's a given, albeit in smaller numbers.  Will they see any representation in the Guardian Project?  Were the creator's given instructions not to make and female Guardians because the NHL was worried that the other teams would make fun of them?

1 comment:

willn's said...

Very good Chris , Different audiences might need capturing thanks to your campaign on the topic .Perharps 3 versions ; a children’s version , the true spirit of the team and a female fun version? .The audience is ample.
Clearly the aim of these is not to pull in audiences and recognise fans because so far a majority of the characters have done and shown everything but,leaving fans wanting more and more ...,
Again what’s the intention of the big event if its not associated with fans and the player and only team background? Its a tricky product I agree, where end users “fans and players” require some sort of connection to the characters to gain loyalty to the whole package placing alot of value. Of course a picture is worth a thousand words ?; Would some sort of slogan to make it original and fun.,