People who are associated with the Penguins in any way over the past 10 years have dreamed of it, talked about it, and begged for it. “Why can’t Sid and Geno ever be hot at the same time?” Well, they are now. And man, it’s a lot of fun to watch.
There’s been many roadblocks that have kept Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin from getting hot at the same time for a sustained amount of time. If Geno was healthy, Sid got a concussion and was out for what felt like 40 years of wandering around in the desert. When Sid comes back, Geno finds a way to get banged up. When the two are healthy, it’s like Geno would have his streaky moments. He’d be hot for a few games and then cool off for several. Oh yeah, then there was the Mike Johnston era where no one could get hot offensively.
Now, Geno is tied for the lead in the NHL in points entering the Penguins’ “bye week (sorry, I forgot the Penguins played in the NFL)” with 43 points. Sid leads the league in goals with 26 and in points-per-game at 1.31, and is only 1 point behind Malkin and Connor McDavid, all of this despite missing the first six games of the Penguins’ season.
They’re on fire. Both of them. At the same time. It’s happening.
From what I’ve seen, Geno is being selfish again, but the good kind of selfish. He’s creating chances for himself, and that opens up things for his teammates as well. He’s found the perfect blend that way of when to shoot and when to pass. And top it off with the fact that he’s healthy, which is something he wasn’t during the Pens’ Stanley Cup run last season.
Crosby is doing the things he’s always done, but most importantly, he’s gotten back to doing what he was doing before that awful cheap shot at Heinz Field: he’s playing in front of the net. No, not like Patric Hornqvist does, but close enough to gather rebounds, make quick cross-create passes, and get high quality shots. Sid has one of the quickest releases in hockey, and that aids him in scoring in close. That’s why he has 26 goals when people barely just now got to 20.
Pens fans will always love 2016. It brought them a Cup in June, and it brought them the dynamic duo of Sid and Geno getting hot at the same time through December. 2017 is here now. Can we get an encore?