Feature Friday: Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Florida Panthers  Photo Credit: Eliot J. Schechter

Pittsburgh Penguins vs.         Florida Panthers
Photo Credit: Eliot J. Schechter

 

 

  Throughout the 2013-2014 NHL season, I’ll be posting player features each Friday. This week, we’re going to take a look at Sidney Crosby.

 By: Melissa Esing (@Off_thepost)

 

I thought about saving this one for last, but I couldn’t resist. He’s currently on a seven-game point streak  since the beginning of the 2013-2014 regular season. He’s the youngest NHL MVP since Wayne Gretzky. He was conSIDered (see what I did there) one of the highest regarded draft picks in the history of the NHL. He’s the captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He’s “Sid the Kid”, Sidney Crosby.

Crosby had to start somewhere to become the legend he is today. According to a 2009 USA Today article, it all started for him in his basement in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia by shooting pucks into a Whirlpool dryer. Troy Crosby, Sid’s father, was a goaltender for the Verdun Junior Canadians (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League). Clearly, hockey ran in the family.

Once Crosby hit thirteen, he was denied by the Nova Scotia Minor Hockey Council and unable to play midget (a hockey level designed for ages fifteen to seventeen). A year later, he played on the level with the Dartmouth Subways. Throughout the experience, he scored 217 playoff and regular season points combined. In the 2002 Air Canada Cup, Dartmouth finished in second place. At the national tournament, Crosby proceeded to win both the Top Scorer and MVP awards.

According to a 2010 Sports Illustrated article, Crosby was taunted by other players throughout his minor career in attempt to physically injure him purposely on the ice. To this day, Crosby is known for being injury-prone. Can you blame him, though? Opposing players are attracted to Sid like a magnet, in a bad way. Why wouldn’t they try to take out a competitor that’s considered up there with legends Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux?

In the 2003 Midget Draft, Crosby was picked first overall by the Rimouski Océanic. At the completion of Sid’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League rookie season, he ended with 54 goals and 81 assists over a total of 59 games. He earned awards such as the Paul Dumont Trophy (Personality of the Year), Telus Cup (Offensive Player) and the Michel Bergeron Trophy (Offensive Rookie of the Year).

In 2004, Crosby turned down a huge offer. Originally chosen by Toronto, Hamilton of the World Hockey Association offered Sid a $7.5 million three-year deal. After his refusal, Crosby returned to the Océanic and continued to conquer. He achieved his second Beliveau Trophy after scoring 66 goals, 102 assists and 168 points within 62 games. He also swept another round of MVP voting, while taking Personality of the Year and Offensive Player awards.

The 2005 NHL Entry Draft was where Sid’s NHL debut would begin, and also where the Pittsburgh Penguins would receive easily one of the greatest players of all time. The 2004-2005 season resulted to a lockout. In order to decide which team would receive the first overall draft pick, a weighted lottery occurred based off of which team had the fewest playoff appearances within the past few years. This quickly became known as the “Sidney Crosby Lottery”. The Penguins won the lottery, big time.

Sidney Crosby  December 2005 Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

December 2005
Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

 

In the beginning, Lemieux served as Crosby’s mentor. Among several reasons, Lemieux decided to retire for the second time halfway through the season, leaving Crosby to take the reins. Crosby was named the alternate captain of the team after the firing of Ed Olczyk and the hiring of Michel Therrien. That year, the team didn’t achieve the success they were hoping for, but Crosby gained his own personal success. Franchise records were surpassed by the rookie and he also became the youngest to score 100 points in a regular season. The downside for Crosby was that he inherited an early reputation of complaining due to the immense amount of penalty minutes he personally received.

The following season, he continued to reach success. He scored his first NHL-level hat trick in October 2006 against rivals Philadelphia Flyers. At the conclusion of the season, within 79 games he racked up 36 goals and 84 assists. This resulted in him leading in NHL scoring, making him the first teenager since Wayne Gretzky to accomplish this feat. Crosby also received honors such as the title of the youngest scoring champion within North American professional sports, and the Art Ross Trophy at age nineteen. In the same year, the team saw it’s first playoff appearance since 2001.

In May 2007, Crosby officially became the youngest team captain in the history of the NHL. The team’s next move was to renew Crosby’s initial three-year contract to a $43.5 million five-year contract.

With success comes injuries. This is where everyone likes to comment about Crosby being injury-prone. A high ankle sprain in January 2008 resulted in Crosby missing 21 games. The injury came from crashing into the boards leg-first. He came back for good in March 2008, and even after being out for a fair amount of games, he managed to accomplish 72 points in 53 games.

In 2009, Sid won his first Stanley Cup Championship with the Penguins at just 21 years old.

After the success of the Stanley Cup, Crosby earned the Rocket Richard Trophy after tying with Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos. He was also acknowledged for being a superior leader within the sport of hockey after winning the Mark Messier Leadership Award.

Then came the 25 game point streak. Throughout the streak, he registered 27 goals, 24 assists and 51 points. In 2011, he was selected to be an All-Star, however he was unable to play due to an injury. He was also unable to be a part of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs due to concussion symptoms. The symptoms continued on and off throughout the 2011-2012 season. He was only able to play in 22 games that season. Despite missing most of the season, Crosby received a 12 year $104.4 million contract extension in June 2012.

Winter Olympics 2010 Photo Credit: Dan E. Klutho

Winter Olympics 2010
Photo Credit: Dan E. Klutho

Aside from all of his accomplishments within the NHL, Crosby has also received a gold medal victory in the 2010 Olympics while playing for Canada. He scored the game-winning goal against USA in overtime.

Currently, Sid is on a seven-game point streak since game one of the 2013 regular season. As a player, he’s extremely well-rounded in all departments. The only negative thing that could be a legitimate argument about Crosby is being injure-prone. Other than that, his skating is effortless and fluid. His accuracy allows him to be a fantastic playmaker. He’s known for having a killer wrist shot with a vicious spin exerted on the puck. Crosby plays with his entire heart and puts drive and his all into every game. He leads his team, and he leads it well.

Crosby was asked in an interview if there were any particular areas he worked on improving after the team was swept in the Conference Finals.

“You turn the page pretty quick and once the cup is hoisted, you get ready for the next year, and that’s what we tried to do,” Crosby said. ” I’ve never been in a series where we’ve gotten swept before, that’s not a good feeling,” said Crosby in an interview. “I think that alone just provided a lot of motivation.”