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Mano: How Will Sidney Crosby Be Remembered?

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
Mano: How Will Sidney Crosby Be Remembered?
It's the year 2034 and the Pittsburgh Penguins have just won their 3rd straight Stanley Cup, officially becoming an NHL dynasty. Everyone is caught up in the moment that they forget about the little run from 20 years back - The Crosby/Malkin era. It began during the 2007-08 season when the Pens and their young nucleus made it to the Cup Finals, losing the series 4-2 to the Red Wings. It then reached its peak the next season during the ultimate Cinderella story - the Pens returning to the cup finals under an intern head coach to face the Red Wings once again, this time winning Lord Stanley in 7 games. Then, some would say it went downhill from there.
It's a really unique scenario because Crosby has won a Stanley Cup and has appeared in two of them. But it's about what he's done after that. No matter who you are - Pens fan or any other fan - Sidney Crosby will always be compared to one of the best to ever play, Mario Lemieux. As of Thursday May 15th 2014, Crosby is still regarded as one of the, if not the, best players in the NHL currently and many think he could go down as being one of the best to ever play. But not everyone may think that 20 years from now.
Both Lemieux and Crosby won their Stanley Cup(s) at young ages, 25 and 21 respectively. And if you look back in the past, both actually share some things in common with each other after that. Both would go on to accomplish more milestones after those years, both had a few injuries in the coming years, and, unfortunately, both would begin to fail in the playoffs. In the 5 years after that, both would continue to post great regular season records, get top seeds, & then lose to lower seeded teams, with Sid getting knocked out by them for the next 5 years and Mario would go on to lose to them 4 of the next 5 seasons (with the 5th being as a 6th seed losing to 3rd seeded Philly).
But if both of them would go on to have the same accomplishments after their cups, the same injury setbacks, the same postseason flops, then why is Lemieux regarded as a top-2 all time player and Crosby is being questioned for everything about him?
As far as I'm concerned, Mario led a team that in my opinion was far inferior to some of the teams Crosby has been on in the past few years. Crosby has had no excuses with the team Ray Shero has put around him, as the Penguins have been cup contenders for a long time now and only having one cup in 2 appearances to show for it isn't good enough.
Also, Mario was never questioned for his leadership heart, and integrity. Mario really could become a head coach like Patrick Roy because his leadership was never a weak spot. Crosby on the other hand, isn't the captain we once remember him being. His teams have underperformed the past 5 years and some of that should be put on the man with the "C" on his chest. He certainly hasn't shown the heart he had earlier in his career.
So what's next? The 2014-15 season is. His 6th season since his last Stanley Cup championship might be the most important one of his career. Next season his critics will be louder than ever before. There will be more questions than ever. He must show next season that he deserves title of best hockey player in the world and one of the best to play the game. Simply put, championship or bust. If the results are the same as what we've seen the past 5 years, Crosby could lose his ranking as best in the world for not just now, but forever. He'll become the Karl Malone of hockey. His milestones will be overshadowed by his playoff success (or lack thereof). We can't look at Mario's numbers his 6th season after winning to see what we can expect; he retired the following November. It's time for Crosby to perform to what we know he can, especially after his performance and lack of heart this postseason.
Because if he doesn't, how will Sidney Crosby be remembered? For his regular season success, or his post season failure?

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