COLUMN: Here’s To 1,000 More

In an already illustrious career, Sidney Crosby hit 1,000 points by assisting on Chris Kunitz‘s goal on Thursday night at PPG Paints Arena against the Winnipeg Jets. After being stuck on 998 for what seemed like an eternity, Crosby assisted on a Jake Guentzel goal for 999 against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday. His longtime rival, Alex Ovechkin, just did it a few weeks prior and at home as well, which of course makes it more special.

The burden weighed Crosby down as you could tell he was thinking about it. He was playing very non-Crosby like the past two weeks but can now put this accomplishment into the rear view mirror and hopefully overtake Connor McDavid atop the NHL points lead. He had 63 heading into Thursday night’s action. Crosby’s 1,000th career point was his 62nd point on the season.

But this achievement is not a reflection of  Crosby’s 2016-17′ season. It’s about what he’s done for, not only the Penguins, but the entire city of Pittsburgh since he was drafted in 2005 because of a magic ping pong ball.

Crosby saved hockey in Pittsburgh. The city was about to lose it’s hockey team after years of futility. It was becoming hard for owner Mario Lemieux to finance the team with the minimal attendance and years of being a cellar dweller until the Crosby hype struck Pittsburgh. Lemieux promised to keep hockey around the Steel City and went to the extent of building a new arena, Consol Energy Center at the time, to assure that they were staying. Chaos has ensued since.

Crosby is the NHL’s best player even into his 11th season as an NHL player. He is 29 and may soon pass that title (or baton) to McDavid, not Claude Giroux.  But even when McDavid clearly becomes the best player, Crosby will still be just as dominant of a force as he was throughout his entire career.

Let’s take a look at some defining Crosby moments over the years.

Crosby and Lemieux

Lemieux and Crosby didn’t get to play many games together, 26 to be exact, but it was one of the coolest transitions from NHL great to NHL great that the league will ever see. Lemieux played in the same era as Wayne Gretzky, so the likelihood of 66 being considered the NHL’s “best player of his era” is debated by many. Even if he is second best of his era, he and Crosby saw the ice for 26 games together. Lemieux posted 22 points in 26 games that season before announcing his retirement citing his inability to perform at the level he used to be able to after many health ailments.

Winning Lord Stanley Part 1

After losing to Detroit the season before, the Penguins were not going to be denied the second chance they got. Evgeni Malkin may have won the Conn Smythe Trophy for MVP of the playoffs but Crosby wasn’t far behind. Spearheading a team as the number one team isn’t easy. Neither is being the player who everybody watches with every microscopic move he makes. Crosby put up 31 points in the playoffs to Malkin’s 36. Both were integral parts and at the end of the day, Sid was able to hoist the trophy first.

Concussions

No one wants to remember these days. It was not easy enduring Penguins hockey without “Captain Crosby” on the ice.

In the Winter Classic in 2011, David Steckel took a terribly bad headshot at Sidney Crosby that the officials did not call and was later deemed to be non-punishable. He was able to participate in the game against Tampa Bay on January 5th until Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman drove Crosby head first into the boards.

It took 10 months to get back on the ice. When he finally came back, he made the New York Islanders night a living hell. He scored 2 goals and added two assists in the 5-0 rout.

Then, a few games later, Crosby took a hit against the Bruins from David Krecji that caused him to be out two games. Then the two games turned into another indefinite absence. He would miss another three months and finally return against the Rangers on March 15 where he recorded two assists.

Of course, he started this season with “concussion-like symptoms” but only missed the first seven games. We know the story of how he’s done so far to this point.

Winning Lord Stanley Part 2

In a world where people still try to compare Crosby and Jonathan Toews, Crosby won his second Cup of his career last season and also won the Conn Smythe. he beat out some impressive performances from the HBK line and rookie goaltender Matt Murray.

Crosby found chemistry with winger Conor Sheary that has spilled over into this season and may become something that blends for a long time. He locked up some more legacy, as if he even needed it.

Closing The Story…Not The Book

Sidney Crosby has so many awards from Olympic gold medalist for the Canadian team all the way to Stanley Cup Champs, even winning an Emmy Award. I’m not going to list them all. If you want to know all the awards he’s won, click on the link in the first paragraph on his name.

I am a very avid believer that Crosby can be the NHL’s best for another 3-4 years but McDavid is right on his tail. When you think of Sidney Crosby, it shouldn’t be about his status in the NHL. It shouldn’t be about hating him from a Flyers or Blue Jackets, or even Capitals fans perspective. It’s about giving proper recognition to a guy who works his butt off to be the league’s best and although he’s not he most vocal leader in the locker room, he’s the Penguins captain. Not every team makes their best player a captain so it goes a long way in showing the respect Crosby garners.

Congrats “Sid the Kid” on 1,000 points. It’s long overdue with the concussion history. Now, go out and chase more records. Here’s to 1,000 more.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s