(Disclaimer: This is long and I'm not sure if it makes sense. Also, I'm borderline retarded so it really might not make sense.)
Sidney Crosby is Forrest Gump.
No, I don't mean he's a loveable 'tard, I mean he's the movie. Forrest Gump won the Academy Award for best picture, best actor, best director, best screen play (adapted), best film editing, best visual effects... it pretty much won everything it could. And most would agree that Forrest Gump is a great movie. It's captures the '60s in a unique and charming way while also providing dozens of great moments and lines. The movie can sometimes be almost too cute (What the fuck, he created the smiley face?) but I don't think anyone would have denied at the time that it was one of the best movies to come out in a while.
But there were some people that thought Pulp Fiction was better. Pulp Fiction was edgy where Forrest Gump was sweet, cool where Gump was straight-laced, unorthodox where Gump was safe and conventional. How could a movie as straightfoward and obvious as Forrest Gump beat out a unique cinematic experience like Pulp Fiction? To these people, Pulp Fiction had been beaten that first year because it had a bankable star (Tom Hanks v. Bruce Willis) and a big budget ($55 mil v. $8), not because it was the better movie.
So the Pulp Fiction people started complaining. Forrest Gump isn't that good, Bubba is a shitty actor, Lt. Dan getting new legs is ridiculous, etc. The people who liked Forrest Gump didn't really care enough to defend it and the cries and denunciations of Forrest Gump grew and grew to the point where more people talked about how it wasn't as good as Pulp Fiction than talked about how it was a pretty good movie. Even when pointing out Pulp Fiction's good points, people did it through the framework of how it succeeds where Forrest Gump does not. They missed the point, though: the two movies shouldn't really be compared because they're so different: you can like one without denigrating the other.*
*And ironically, the best movie to come out that year was probably The Lion King or The Shawshank Redemption (Malkin).
I don't think people that hate Sidney Crosby really hate Sidney Crosby. They hate people like Sidney Crosby. Just like people that hate Forrest Gump don't hate Forrest Gump, they hate movies like Crash and The Majestic. They hate the idea that Sidney Crosby is really good and that he tries really hard to be a spokesperson for the NHL, so they take every minute flaw of his and magnify it. They've seen that other players that always try to do and say the right thing (Kobe, A-Rod, etc.) end up being douche bags and assume Crosby is the same way.. Meanwhile, every flaw in Ovechkin's game is dismissed because those who hate Crosby assume everyone is as petty as themselves.
Greg Wyshynski's short film on why people the love and hate of Sidney Crosby was fascinating to me because it kind of proved the opposite of its intent: the people portrayed as ridiculous were the ones that said they liked Crosby because he's good and a role model and a nice person, while those who make pictures of him with pacifiers in his mouth and call him a pussy were considered the normal ones. I like Wyshynski, but I think he definitely missed the point with that piece. You shouldn't be asking why people how they could like Crosby so much; you should ask why some people hate him so much. I think they hate him because they assume someone like him is too good to be true. Someone can't be that deferential and polite all the time. Since they don't have any evidence to the contrary, they invent reasons to hate him out of small incidents that occur in the heat of a hockey game and then shout, "See, he's no better than the rest of us!" And he's not. He's not Superman, but is it so bad if that is who he aspires to be?
Look, Ovechkin probably is better than Crosby and Pulp Fiction is definitely better than Forrest Gump, but that doesn't mean Crosby and Forrest Gump fucking suck because other people hyped them too much. They're not trying to be the same thing: Ovechkin wants to score goals and celebrate and be a wild and crazy guy, and Crosby wants to be a spokesman and a paragon of virtue. That's cool. I almost feel bad for Ovechkin because he's constantly thrown into this whole thing and I imagine he'd rather just score goals and bang Igor Larionov's daughter. I imagine that as they get older this whole thing will go away: Lebron went through the same shit between him and Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony before they all grew and became their own players. As someone who lives removed from this whole thing, I can't wait. Forrest Gump was right: life is like a box of chocolates because you never know what you're going to get. However, you do know that someone is always going to criticize your chocolate and whine about how their chocolate is overlooked.