Sports Magazine

Pens Fans: Don't Forget What You Are Seeing

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
Were you like me? Did a little part of your brain forget? Did you forget exactly how Pittsburgh Penguins fans are the most spoiled fans in the NHL? Why? #87...enough said. I think most fans were discouraged when Sidney Crosby's neck and concussion issues kept him out of the lineup for almost an entire calendar year spanning parts of two seasons. People questioned his work ethic. People questioned his toughness. People were questioning his leadership as the Captain of this hockey team (rememeber when the Penguins decided to all sport tape C's on their practice jerseys to make a statement that Crosby is still their Captain and leader?!). Regardless of what your personal feelings were about Crosby's injury and his timetable to return, you cannot deny his impact to the game of hockey, to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and to the NHL.
The poster boy of the NHL since he was drafted has lived up to the hype from Day 1. His game has changed alot since he was a rookie. He is less chaotic with the puck, and more methodical with knowing what to do with the puck. It is well documented how he has changed his game for the better. Early in his NHL career faceoffs were a weakness with his game. That offseason, he worked hard on faceoffs and is now in the top 10 in Faceoff % in the NHL. He was criticized for his lack of scoring "touch" and not doing well in shootout situations. Again, he worked hard for several offseasons and before the fateful Winter Classic blindside hit, he was well on his way to another NHL scoring title. Crosby has elevated his game in any way possible, and now (at age 26) he is reaping the benefits...just as he hits his prime as an NHL superstar.
Crosby finds himself in a usual position...atop the NHL scoring race. His 39 points gives him a 4 point lead over the second place Steven Stamkos. Multiple point games have becoming just another day at the office for "Sid the Kid". Statistics are nice, and can help support the argument that Crosby is the best player in the world, but if you watch Sid play every night...there isn't even a debate. His power with the puck, his stick handling, his ability to find the open teammate, and his ability to dominate is clearly evident. None was more evident than a play in the Penguins come from behind victory over the Flyers (5-4) last night. It was the 3rd period and the Penguins were nursing that one goal lead (largely due to Crosby's 3 assists) and the puck was behind the Flyers goal. Crosby was on the spot as well as 3 Flyer defenders. Crosby loses his stick. He picks up the stick and uses the butt end to keep the puck near his feet. He stands up (still holding his stick upside down) and manages to win the puck battle with his feet and get the puck to a teammate. Sure, the play didn't result in a goal. It didn't even result in a scoring chance, but that play personified how Crosby is the complete player. How Crosby is the best player in hockey and worthy of the "NHL Poster Boy" tag.
Crosby vs. Ovechkin? Really? That isn't even a debate anymore. Crosby vs. Toews or Kane? No contest. Crosby vs. Stamkos? Stamkos can score, but Crosby can do it all. Sidney Crosby has spoiled Pittsburgh Penguins fans since he was drafted, but he hasn't slowed down. Constantly improving his game, and elevating his teammates at the same time. How many people had Chris Kunitz even in the discussion for the scoring title before the season? You didn't? Me neither, but he is currently 3rd with 31 points, and a large part of his success is due to playing on the same line with #87...the best player in the world.

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