Forget Linsanity and Tebowmania, here's the Chris Kreider Craze
Three weeks ago, New York's latest sports phenom was leading Boston College's hockey team to an NCAA championship.
But six short pro games later, Rangers forward Chris Kreider has already scored two game-winning goals -- in the playoffs, no less -- and his immediate impact to the team has put New York on the verge of a Linsanity-esque craze.
Kreider, who turns 21 Monday, made his NHL debut April 16 in Game 3 against the Ottawa Senators, just weeks after finishing his season at B.C.
His first goal as a Ranger — which turned out to be the game-winner — came in Game 6 of the Ottawa series, and last Saturday scored what turned out to be the winner in Game 1 against the Washington Capitals, and some in the city are ready for the Kreider Craze.
"The amazing #Kreiderman is gonna keep tearing it up!" tweeted Jake Davis.
"Kreider is a beast. Gonna be a key player in years to come," added Lisa Corrente.
Jessica Kohler weighed in: "Linsanity was ridiculous, and #KREIDERMANIA is just plain awesome."
Wayne McDonnell, professor of sports management at NYU, said this is just what the city wants to see.
“What we do best in New York is we love . . . the fighter, we love athlete’s who come out and are given that chance to shine," he said.
He added: “It shows you don’t have to be a player with a huge name to make a profound impact in this community.”
The city has experienced a rapid succession of frenzy-inducing athletes in a short span of time: from Linsanity (the Knicks’ Jeremy Lin) in February to Tebowmania (Tim Tebow of the Jets) in March to the rising Kreider Craze.
Such a trio of phenoms is unprecedented, experts said. But because of these meteoric rises to the top, fans must be mindful to temper expectations, experts agreed.
“We deify these athletes, and then we’re immediate to crucify them when they don’t live up to our expectations,” McDonnell said. “Let’s celebrate what these men have now.”
Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said after Saturday’s win that he’s been impressed with Kreider’s playing.
"I didn't know what to expect coming in, I had never really seen him play before," said Ryan Callahan. But "he seems likehe's been playing for a couple of years now. He's a great player and a lot offun to play with."
Kreider, for his part, has stayed humble throughout the frenzy,saying after Saturday's big win that he isn't out for fame.
"It's not a moment that I really day dream about,having a crowd shout my name," he said. "It's still pretty surreal."