Sidney Crosby was drafted first overall in 2005 and helped lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to three championships across his 15-year career.
Crosby grew up wanting to be a professional hockey player just like his father, Troy Crosby, who served as a goaltender for the Verdun Junior Canadians in the Quebec Junior Major Hockey League. While his father never reached the NHL, Sidney Crosby would go on to be considered one of the greatest hockey players of all time.
Even though Crosby proved his worth during his time in minor leagues, other players were so jealous of his talents that they would intentionally try to injure him. As if that wasn’t difficult enough to deal with, parents of other family’s would constantly harass him between games, which lead to him taking off his jersey when he entered the stands.
This ultimately resulted in Crosby choosing to play for Shattuck Saint Mary’s Boarding School in Minnesota. During his time there, he scored 72 goals, totalled 162 points and led his team to a championship. Later in his career, Crosby was drafted to Rimouski Oceanic in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he played for two seasons.
Crosby would finally live his dream of playing in the NHL in 2005, when he was drafted first overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins. While Pittsburgh wouldn’t be much of a factor in that first season, Crosby recorded an assist in his very first game and scored his first goal during the home opener in October of that year.
Crosby was playing alongside Mario Lemieux at the time, but the legend had to retire 24 games into the season due to heart beat issues. This, along with various losses and questionable decisions caused a coaching change in the middle of the year. Michel Therrien took over as head coach after the firing of Ed Olczyk and instantly wanted to name Crosby as an alternate captain.
That decision would result in a lot of controversy and several disapproving statements by hockey pundits, but none of it deterred Crosby in his first year. When his rookie season was over, he set franchise records in assists, goals and even became the youngest player in NHL history to score 100 points in a single season. He was only the seventh rookie to do so.
Fast forward to 2007 and the Pittsburgh Penguins were finally a title contender in the NHL. They proved this by going 47-27-11 and making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. Of course, The Penguins were defeated by the Detroit Red Wings 4-2, but Crosby scored his first Stanley Cup finals goal in game three and returned from an early season injury to almost led the postseason in assists.
The Pittsburgh Penguins would go on to win the Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit Red Wings the very next year, but Crosby played a minimal role due to injuries. Crosby scored 33 goals, 70 assists and 102 points in 77 games that season, but only managed to score one goal in the entire seven game series against the Red Wings.
Although Crosby wasn’t much of an asset in the finals that year, he would go on to score a career high 51 goals 58 assists and 109 points in 2016. The Penguins would go on win the Stanley Cup Finals that year and Crosby even won MVP honors for his performance. It was his performance in the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals however that was spectacular to watch.
Crosby managed to win MVP honors in back-to-back years but the 2017 season really stood out for several reasons. Maybe that had to do with Crosby recording two assists in the opening game of the series, or his three assists in game five, but he just had a knack for getting the puck to the right person during that year.
Crosby and the Penguins only made it to the second round of the playoffs since their back to back winning seasons and really haven’t shown much in the way of improvement. Crosby’s goals even dropped into the 30s and 20s during the following years, but he kept steady in assists with 60 in 2017 and 2018
In 2020 The Penguins were eliminated by the Montreal Canadiens in the qualifying round and Crosby only managed to record 16 goals and 31 assists in the shortened season. Despite Crosby’s drop in performance the last couple of years, he remains one of the greatest hockey players of all time and will always be remembered for the magical things he was capable of doing on the ice.
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