Sidney Crosby

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Sidney Crosby
ONS
Sidney Crosby 2013-02-02.JPG
Crosby pictured during the 2012-13 NHL Season.
Born (1987-08-07) August 7, 1987 (age 27)
Halifax, NS, CAN
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 200 lb (91 kg; 14 st 4 lb)
Position Centre
Shoots Left
NHL team Pittsburgh Penguins
National team  Canada
NHL Draft 1st overall, 2005
Pittsburgh Penguins[1]
Playing career 2005–present

Sidney Patrick Crosby, ONS (born August 7, 1987) is a Canadian professional ice hockey player who serves as captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League (NHL). Crosby was drafted first overall by the Penguins out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). During his two-year major junior career with the Rimouski Océanic, he earned back-to-back CHL Player of the Year awards and led his club to the 2005 Memorial Cup final. Nicknamed "The Next One",[2][3] he was one of the most highly regarded draft picks in hockey history, leading many to refer to the 2005 Draft Lottery as the "Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes".[4]

In his first NHL season, Crosby finished sixth in league scoring with 102 points (39 goals, 63 assists) and was a runner-up for the Calder Memorial Trophy (won by Alexander Ovechkin). By his second season, he led the NHL with 120 points (36 goals, 84 assists) to capture the Art Ross Trophy, becoming the youngest player and the only teenager to win a scoring title in any major North American sports league. That same season, Crosby won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the Professional Hockey Writers Association's choice for most valuable player and the Lester B. Pearson Award as the NHL Players Association's choice for most outstanding player, becoming the seventh player in NHL history to earn all three awards in one year.[5]

Crosby started the 2007–08 season with the team's captaincy and subsequently led them to the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals, where they were defeated by the Detroit Red Wings in six games. The Penguins returned to the Finals against Detroit the following year and won in seven games; Crosby became the youngest captain in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup.[6] In the 2009–10 season, Crosby scored a career-high 51 goals, tying him with Steven Stamkos for the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league-leader; with 58 assists, he totaled 109 points, second in the NHL. During the off-season, Crosby received the Mark Messier Leadership Award. In 2010–11, Crosby sustained a concussion as a result of hits to the head in back-to-back games. The injury left him sidelined for ten and a half months. However, after playing eight games in the 2011–12 season, Crosby's concussion-like symptoms returned in December 2011, and he did not return until mid-March 2012 after extended treatment by neurologists at UPMC and chiropractic neurologist Ted Carrick, whom Crosby credits with helping him return to hockey.[7][8][9][10]

Internationally, Crosby has represented Canada in numerous tournaments for the country's junior and men's teams. After competing in the 2003 U-18 Junior World Cup, he represented Canada in back-to-back IIHF World U20 Championships, winning silver in 2004 and gold in 2005. At the 2006 IIHF World Championship, he led the tournament in scoring, while also earning Top Forward and All-Star Team honours. Four years later, Crosby was named to Team Canada for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Playing the United States in the gold medal game, he scored the game-winning goal in overtime.[11] He captained the 2014 Canadian Olympic Hockey Team at the Sochi Olympics, leading the team to a Gold Medal victory over Sweden.[12]

Early life

A recreation of Crosby's childhood dryer, used as shooting target practice, at Consol Energy Center

Crosby was born in the Grace Maternity Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on August 7, 1987,[13] to Troy and Trina Crosby. Crosby's jersey number (87) and 2007 contract signing ($8.7 million per year) reflect his birthdate (8/7/87).[14] Crosby grew up in nearby Cole Harbour, and has a younger sister, Taylor.[15] His father was a goaltender who played for the Verdun Junior Canadiens in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Troy played in the 1985 Memorial Cup and had been drafted 240th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 1984, but never played at the NHL level.[16] Growing up, Crosby admired Steve Yzerman and, like his father, was a Canadiens fan.[17]

Crosby began playing hockey by himself in his basement at two years old, shooting pucks against the family's clothes dryer;[18] he learned to skate at three.[16]

From age 12 to 15, Crosby attended Astral Drive Junior High School. He was a straight-A student and, according to the vice-principal, "an amazing role model who was really kind to students in the learning centre and to special needs kids." When he was 15, Crosby transferred to Shattuck-Saint Mary's in Faribault, Minnesota, to play with the school's hockey program. While playing for the Rimouski Océanic of the QMJHL, Crosby attended and graduated in 2005 from Harrison Trimble High School, in Moncton, New Brunswick.[19]

Playing career

Minor hockey

Early in his minor hockey years, Crosby began attracting media attention for his play and gave his first newspaper interview at age seven.[20] When Crosby was 13, Nova Scotia's Minor Hockey Council refused to allow him to play midget, a level of minor hockey designated for 15- to 17-year-olds. His family sued but lost.[21] The following year, he entered the midget level with the triple-A Dartmouth Subways and went on to score a combined 217 regular season and playoff points, leading Dartmouth to a second-place finish at the 2002 Air Canada Cup. He was named the MVP and Top Scorer awards at the national tournament at the tournament banquet held after the preliminary round and he finished the tournament with 24 points (11 goals and 13 assists) in 7 games.[22]

Crosby was called up as a 14-year-old to play two games with the Maritime Junior A Hockey League's Truro Bearcats that season.[23] Crosby had been drafted by the Bearcats in the 2001 MJAHL Draft as a 13-year-old.[24][25][26]

During his midget season, Crosby appeared on the CBC's Hockey Day in Canada telecast.[16] He has recalled numerous instances in which opposing players intentionally attempted to injure him, as well as constant verbal abuse from parents on and off the ice. Parents taunted and threatened Crosby so harshly, he took to not wearing his jersey between tournament games while he waited to play so that he would not be recognized.[27] Due to this treatment, he elected to play for the American hockey program at Shattuck-Saint Mary's Boarding School, Minnesota for the 2002–03 hockey season.[27] In 57 games with the Sabres, he recorded 72 goals and 162 points, leading the team to a U18 AAA national championship.[27]

Junior career

Crosby was selected first overall in the 2003 Midget Draft by the Rimouski Océanic of the QMJHL. In his first exhibition game, he scored eight points, leading his teammates to nickname him "Darryl" (in reference to Darryl Sittler's ten-point in the NHL in 1976).[28] In his first regular season game in the QMJHL, he scored one goal and added two assists.[29] He was named QMJHL Player of the Week for two consecutive weeks at the start of the season and won the honour four more times as the season progressed. He was named QMJHL Player of the Month and Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Player of the Week three times each.[30] Crosby finished his rookie QMJHL season with 54 goals and 81 assists over 59 games to capture the Jean Beliveau Trophy as the league's leading point-scorer. He was further recognized with the RDS/JVC Trophy (overall rookie of the year) and Michel Brière Memorial Trophy (most valuable player), becoming the first QMJHL player to win all three major awards at once.[30] Rounding out Crosby's accolades for the 2003–04 regular season were QMJHL All-Rookie and First All-Star Team honours, as well as Offensive Rookie, Offensive Player and Personality of the Year Awards. As a team, the Océanic led the Eastern Division with 34 wins and 76 points. After receiving a first-round bye in the 2003 QMJHL playoffs, they defeated the Shawinigan Cataractes in the quarterfinals, then were eliminated by the Moncton Wildcats in the semifinals. Crosby recorded 16 points (7 goals and 9 assists) over 9 post-season games.[31]

During the off-season, the World Hockey Association, a major professional league proposed to rival the NHL, held an Entry Draft on July 17, 2004. Holding the first overall selection, Toronto chose Crosby. The following month, it was reported that Crosby turned down a US$7.5 million deal over three years to play for Hamilton. Crosby told reporters that while "it took a lot to say no to that much money", he "work[ed] hard most of his life to play in the NHL." The deal would have paid him $2.5 million annually and an additional $2 million payout regardless of whether the WHA was realized as a legitimate league or not. It was not clarified, however, how Hamilton could have signed Crosby, as Toronto held his WHA rights. Nevertheless, the WHA never materialized.[32]

Returning to the Océanic for the 2004–05 season, Crosby continued dominating the league, leading the league with 66 goals, 102 assists and 168 points over 62 games to capture his second consecutive Beliveau Trophy. Joining Crosby on Rimouski's top line were wingers Dany Roussin and Marc-Antoine Pouliot, who finished second and third in league-scoring with 116 and 114 points, respectively. In addition to his scoring title, Crosby was once again named Most Valuable Player, Offensive Player and Personality of the Year honours, while repeating as a QMJHL First All-Star. The Océanic finished with the regular season with the best record in the league, registering 45 wins and 98 points, including a league record-setting 28-game undefeated streak. They went on to capture the President's Cup as QMJHL playoff champions, defeating the Halifax Mooseheads in the finals. Crosby led the playoffs with 31 points (14 goals and 17 assists) over 13 games, earning him the Guy Lafleur Trophy as post-season MVP. With their QMJHL championship, the Océanic qualified for the 2005 Memorial Cup, Canada's national major junior tournament. Meeting the London Knights in the final, the Océanic were shutout 4–0. Despite the loss, Crosby was named to the Tournament All-Star Team and captured the Ed Chynoweth Trophy as the competition's leading scorer 11 points (6 goals and 5 assists) over 5 games. Knights forward Corey Perry was awarded the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as the MVP.

Soon thereafter, Crosby attended the NHL prospect combine in preparation of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. In addition to his fitness and strength, teams were reportedly also impressed by his personality and self-assurance.[33] During Crosby's amateur years, Wayne Gretzky was asked if he thought anyone could break his records. He answered that Crosby could, while adding that he was the best player he had seen since Mario Lemieux.[34]

NHL career

2005–06

Crosby in 2006, after being designated an alternate captain

Entering the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Crosby was listed first overall in the NHL Central Scouting Bureau and International Scouting Services' respective rankings of prospects.[notes 1] He had also won the Mike Bossy Trophy as the QMJHL's best prospect. Crosby went on to be selected first overall in the draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins on July 30, 2005. Due to the labour stoppage that suspended the entire 2004–05 NHL season, positioning for the 2005 draft was conducted via a weighted lottery based on each team's playoff appearances and draft lottery victories in the last four years. This lottery system led to the draft being popularly referred to as the Sidney Crosby Lottery or the Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes.[4]

Crosby made his NHL debut on October 5, 2005 against the New Jersey Devils, and registered an assist on the team's first goal of the season, scored by Mark Recchi in a 5–1 loss.[35] He scored his first NHL goal in the Penguins' home opener on October 8 against goaltender Hannu Toivonen of the Boston Bruins. Despite having registered two assists for a three-point night, the Penguins were defeated 7–6 in overtime. Crosby began his rookie season playing alongside Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux. Unfortunately, Lemieux was forced to retire due to an irregular heartbeat after having played just 26 games of the season.[36]

Near the midway point of the season, Penguins head coach Ed Olczyk was fired and replaced by Michel Therrien on December 15, 2005. The following day, Therrien designated Crosby as an alternate captain for the Penguins. The move drew criticism from some hockey pundits, including Don Cherry, who claimed that Crosby did not have the experience for the position. He stated, "An 18-year-old kid says he's going to give us ideas. What, from the Quebec League, he's going to give them ideas? Come on. That's ridiculous".[37] Although hopes were high in Pittsburgh for the club to succeed, largely in part to the beginning of Crosby's NHL career and bolstered by the acquisitions of Sergei Gonchar, Zigmund Palffy and Mark Recchi, the Penguins still finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference.

Nevertheless, Crosby's first NHL campaign was a personal success as he established franchise records in assists (63) and points (102) for a rookie, both of which had been previously held by Mario Lemieux. He additionally became the youngest player in NHL history to score 100 points in a single season, and only the seventh rookie ever to hit the benchmark.[38] Overall, Crosby finished sixth in the NHL scoring race and seventh in the NHL in assists. Among Canadian NHL players, he trailed only Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley. Throughout the season, Crosby had battled with Washington Capitals forward and 2004 first-overall pick Alexander Ovechkin for the rookie scoring lead. He would finish second to Ovechkin's 106 points and also lose out to the Capitals forward for the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year.[39]

Throughout his first season, Crosby was accused by opposing players and coaches of taking dives and complaining to officials, which was typically attributed to his youth.[40] He became the first rookie to earn 100 penalty minutes and 100 points in the same season, which magnified his reputation for complaining to NHL officials.[38] Hockey analyst Kelly Hrudey compared Crosby to Wayne Gretzky, who had a similar reputation as a "whiner" in his youth, and suggested that as Crosby matured, he would mellow out and his reputation would fade.[38]

2006–07

Crosby during the 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs

In his second NHL season, Crosby built on his rookie success. On October 28, 2006, Crosby scored his first NHL hat trick in an 8–2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.[41] His success against the Flyers continued as just over six weeks later, on December 13, he recorded the first six-point game of his career (one goal, five assists).[42] The multi-point effort vaulted Crosby into the NHL scoring lead, which he would retain for the remainder of the season. He finished the 2006–07 NHL season with 36 goals and 84 assists in 79 games to become the first teenager to lead the NHL in scoring since Wayne Gretzky in 1980. Being only nineteen years old at the time, he became the youngest player in NHL history to win the Art Ross Trophy and the youngest scoring champion in any major North American professional sport.[43]

Crosby's second NHL season also saw significant improvements for the Penguins franchise as a whole, as the emergence of Calder Trophy-winner Evgeni Malkin and runner-up Jordan Staal complemented the club's offense. As a result, the Penguins jumped from last place in the Eastern Conference the previous season to fifth for the club's first playoff appearance since 2001. Playing the Ottawa Senators in the opening round, Crosby scored a goal in his Stanley Cup playoff debut in a 6–3 losing effort.[44] He finished the series with 5 points in 5 games as the Penguins were ousted by the eventual Stanley Cup runner-up.

Following the Penguins defeat, Crosby was named Pittsburgh's team captain on May 31, 2007, making him (at 19 years, 9 months, and 24 days) the youngest team captain in NHL history.[45][46] During the season, the Penguins had offered him the captaincy, but he had turned it down. In the press conference naming him the team captain, he explained:

"I just thought it wasn't right for me. As a team, we were playing great and you don't want to disrupt things like that. Individually, I was not ready to accept that responsibility quite yet. Going through the playoffs and having that experience has probably given me more confidence. I understand there is going to be a lot more responsibility on my shoulders with this, but it's something I'm ready for, I feel very comfortable with it and I'm just excited to get things going."[47]

At the NHL's annual awards show later in June 2007, Crosby completed a rare off-season hat trick, winning the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Lester B. Pearson Award in addition to his previously clinched Art Ross Trophy. He became the youngest player in NHL history to win the Lester B. Pearson,[48] and only the second youngest player ever to win the Hart (after Gretzky). He became the youngest player ever to be named to the NHL's First All-Star Team.[49]

2007–08

Crosby with the Penguins against Washington, March 9, 2008.

With Crosby's initial three-year, entry-level contract set to expire at the end of the following season, the Penguins signed him to a five-year, $43.5 million contract extension on July 10, 2007, ensuring his stay with the Penguins through the 2012–13 season.[50] Midway through the subsequent season, Crosby recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick on December 20, 2007, in a game against the Boston Bruins. His first assist came 55 seconds into the first period. At 8:26 of the same period, Crosby scored to give the Penguins a 2–0 lead. Then, five minutes and nine seconds into the second frame, Crosby fought defenceman Andrew Ference to complete the hat trick. This was Crosby's first NHL fight.[51] Nearly a month later, however, on January 18, 2008, Crosby suffered a high ankle sprain crashing leg-first into the boards in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. As a result, he missed the 2008 All-Star Game, to which he was named a starter.[52] After missing 21 games, he returned on March 4 against the Lightning and earned an assist.[53] Two games after his return, however, he felt his ankle was not up to shape and decided that he needed more time for it to heal.[54] Crosby consequently sat out of the Penguins' next seven games and returned on March 27, 2008 to help the Penguins defeat the New York Islanders 3–1.[55] In spite of the injury-shortened campaign, Crosby still managed 72 points in just 53 games.

His absence from the Penguins' lineup served as a stepping stone for teammate Evgeni Malkin, who, now in his second season, was developing into a superstar in his own right. Picking up the offensive slack, Malkin finished second in league scoring to Alexander Ovechkin[56] and was also a Hart Trophy nominee as MVP honours also went to Ovechkin.[57]

In addition to Crosby's return to the lineup late in the regular season, the Penguins acquired star winger Marian Hossa from the Atlanta Thrashers at the trade deadline, placing the club in a strong position to make a deep playoff run. Pittsburgh finished the regular season as Atlantic Division champions and just two points shy of the first-seeded Montreal Canadiens. In a rematch of the previous year's opening round, the Penguins began the 2008 playoffs facing the Ottawa Senators, whom they quickly swept in four games. After then defeating the New York Rangers and hated Philadelphia Flyers, each in five games, the Penguins reached the final round for the first time since 1992, to face the Detroit Red Wings.[58]

After being shutout as a team for the first two games of the series, Crosby scored the first two goals of game three as the series shifted to Pittsburgh to fuel a 3–2 win.[59] The Penguins, however, lost the next game and despite staving off defeat in game five, they were overcome by the Red Wings in six games. Crosby finished the playoffs with 27 points (6g, 21a in 20 games), tying Conn Smythe-winner Henrik Zetterberg (13g, 14a in 22 games) for the playoff scoring lead.

2008–09

Crosby (center) with Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin, 2009 Stanley Cup Finals Game 6.

Early in the following season, on October 18, 2008, Crosby scored one goal and three assists to surpass benchmarks of 100 goals, 200 assists, and 300 points for his career.[60] On the scoring play in which Crosby scored, teammate Malkin assisted to record his own 200th point. As a result, Crosby had a team trainer cut the puck in half so both players could commemorate the achievement. Minor injury troubles kept Crosby from five games early in the season as he was listed day-to-day,[61] but he was, for the most part, able to bounce back from the previous injury-riddled season and stay healthy. He recorded 33 goals and 70 assists to finish third in league scoring, as Evgeni Malkin captured his first career Art Ross Trophy.

Crosby with Marc-Andre Fleury (left) and the Stanley Cup during the Penguins victory parade.

Entering the 2009 playoffs as the defending Prince of Wales Trophy winners, the Penguins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in the opening round before meeting the Washington Capitals for a highly publicized second-round matchup. The series was heavily followed as it pitted Ovechkin of the Capitals against both Crosby and Malkin, who together finished as the league's top three scorers that season. In the second game, Crosby and Ovechkin recorded matching three-goal efforts for their first career playoff hat tricks in a 4–3 Capitals victory.[62] Despite being down 2–0 in the series, Crosby and the Penguins won the next three games and eventually defeated the Capitals in a seventh and deciding game, in which Crosby added another two goals.[63]

Following a sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final, Crosby opted against recent NHL tradition and picked up the Prince of Wales Trophy, which he had left untouched the previous year. In explanation of the change of heart, Crosby said, "We didn't touch the trophy last year, and obviously we didn't have the result we wanted ... Although we haven't accomplished exactly what we want ... we can still enjoy it."[64]

Meeting the Detroit Red Wings for the second straight year in the Finals, Crosby won his first Stanley Cup with the Penguins in seven games. At 21 years, 10 months, and 5 days, Crosby became the youngest NHL captain to win a Stanley Cup championship.[6] (The youngest captain to lead his team to the Stanley Cup in the history of the trophy is Mike Grant of the 1895 Montreal Victorias, who was 21 years and 2 months at the time.) In the deciding game seven, Crosby was forced to watch all but 32 seconds of the third period from the bench after suffering a knee injury less than halfway through the second period due to a hit from Johan Franzen.[65] Following the game, Crosby was criticized by Detroit forward Kris Draper for neglecting to shake hands with some of Detroit's players, most notably captain Nicklas Lidstrom. An irate Draper was quoted as saying "Nick was waiting and waiting, and Crosby didn't come over to shake his hand. That's ridiculous, especially as their captain."[66] Crosby replied afterward, saying, "I just won the Stanley Cup. I think I have the right to celebrate with my teammates. I know it's not easy waiting around...I understand if they don't feel like waiting around. But you know what? It's the easiest thing to do in the world, to shake hands after you win. I had no intentions of trying to skip guys and not shake their hands. I think that was a pretty unreasonable comment."[67]

2009–10

Crosby in 2009

In the 2009–10 NHL season, Crosby tied Tampa Bay Lightning centre Steven Stamkos for the lead in goals scored, with 51 goals, earning the Rocket Richard Trophy.[68] He also garnered 58 assists for a total of 109 points, good enough to tie with Alex Ovechkin for second in league points, trailing only the Vancouver Canucks' Henrik Sedin's 112. Additionally, Crosby won the Mark Messier Leadership Award, getting recognized as a 'superior leader within the sport, setting a positive example through on-ice performance, motivation of team members and a dedication to the community'.[69] This was the second time he had received this honor, the other being in January 2007, during the award's first year when it was presented monthly.[70]

Crosby's Penguins were defeated in the second round of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, losing to the Montreal Canadiens in seven games. Crosby had 19 points in 13 games in the playoffs, though through seven games against the Canadiens he had only 1 goal and 4 assists for a total of 5 points.[71]

2010–11

Crosby's 200th NHL goal, November 27, 2010.

Crosby had a 25 game point streak, which began November 5, 2010, against the Anaheim Ducks, and ended December 28, 2010 against the New York Islanders. During this streak he had 27 goals (including three hat-tricks), 24 assists, and 51 points. This streak is tied for 11th longest point streak in NHL history.[72]

On January 3, 2011, Crosby was selected as a 2011 All-Star, along with teammates Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Kris Letang, as well as the Chicago Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith, in an online fan vote.[73] However, neither Crosby nor Malkin were available to play in the All-Star Game due to injuries and rookie Jeff Skinner along with Paul Stastny were named as replacements.

In consecutive games, the 2011 NHL Winter Classic on January 1, 2011 against the Washington Capitals and January 5 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Crosby suffered hits to his head from Dave Steckel and Victor Hedman, respectively.[74] After experiencing several concussion symptoms, Crosby did not return for the rest of the regular season, and he missed the 2010–11 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Penguins were further crippled when Evgeni Malkin suffered a torn ACL and MCL, taking him out for the rest of the season. This left the Penguins without the services of their two highest scoring players.[75] Despite Crosby's injury and subsequent absence for the final 41 games of the season, he finished as the Penguins' leading scorer. His 66 points in 41 games were 16 points ahead of the second highest team scorer, defenceman Kris Letang.[76] In doing this, Crosby set an NHL record for fewest games played by an NHL team's points leader.[77]

2011–12

Crosby missed the first 20 games of the 2011–12 season due to the lingering effects of his concussion. He returned on November 21, 2011 against the New York Islanders, scoring two goals and two assists in a 5–0 shutout win for the Penguins.[78] However, after playing another seven games, for a total of 12 points in 8 games, Crosby's concussion-like symptoms returned in December 2011, possibly following an elbow hit by David Krejci in his eighth game of the season. Despite passing a successful ImPACT test, Crosby decided not to return on the ice until he felt perfectly fine, stating that he also must "listen to [his] body".[10] Crosby returned to action on March 15, scoring an assist in a 5–2 win against the New York Rangers.[79] Despite only playing 22 games, Crosby tallied 29 assists to go with 8 goals for 37 points, including his 600th career point.

Crosby's return in advance of the playoffs resulted in many experts predicting that the Penguins would win their second Stanley Cup in four years,[80] and though the Penguins were accordingly picked to oust the Philadelphia Flyers in their first round series, it was acknowledged that it would be a tough series for both teams.[81] The Flyers shocked the Penguins by winning the first three consecutive games, the third of which saw the teams combine for 158 penalty minutes. After the 8-4 loss in game 3, Crosby was widely criticized for his conduct during the game,[82][83] and gained notoriety for his testy post-game interview; when asked about an incident where Flyer forward Jakub Voráček had dropped his glove and Crosby pushed it away before he could pick it up, Crosby replied, saying "I don't like any guy on their team there, so his glove was near me, went to pick it up, and I pushed it, so yeah, that's... [...] I don't like them. Because I don't like them. I don't like... I don't like any guy on their team."[84] When the interviewer suggested he could have skated away, Crosby replied "Skate away? Yeah, well, I didn't that time."[85] The Penguins would go on to win the next two games, but ultimately lost the series in game 6. Crosby would finish with 3 goals and 5 assists in the 6 games.

On June 28, 2012, the Pittsburgh Penguins announced that Crosby had agreed to a 12 year, $104.4M contract extension that will keep Crosby in Pittsburgh through the 2024–25 NHL season, unless he is traded during this period.[86]

2012–13

The start of the 2012–13 NHL season was postponed until January 2013 due to the owners locking out the players as negotiations took place to solidify a new collective bargaining agreement. During this time, Crosby was a regular attendee of meetings taking place between NHLPA representatives and NHL owners. The lockout began on September 15, 2012 and officially ended January 6, 2013 with the NHL regular season getting underway on January 19.[87]

During the 119-day lockout, Crosby was often questioned about his future plans should the lockout persist, and said on more than one occasion that he was entertaining contract offers from various teams in European leagues (where many NHL players went so that they could continue playing in a professional capacity while waiting for the lockout to end or for the NHL season to be officially canceled). Crosby continued to practice and participated with other NHL players who had not gone overseas in several exhibition games open to the public.[88]

With the season finally underway in late-January, Crosby set the pace for scoring, totaling 31 points (9 goals, 22 assists) through the first 21 games. He remained hot through March racking up another 25 points (6 goals, 19 assists) in 15 games as the Pittsburgh Penguins went unbeaten over this stretch. However, his regular season came to an abrupt end on March 30 in a home game against the New York Islanders. Crosby's teammate, Brooks Orpik, unleashed a slapshot which caught Crosby in the mouth, causing the centerman to lose several teeth. Crosby was down the ice for several minutes before the medical staff was able to help him to the dressing room with Crosby holding a towel over his face. Initially the prognosis was not severe, but it was discovered a short while later that Crosby had, in fact, broken his jaw, and would require several rounds of reconstructive dental surgery.[89] He missed the final twelve games of the regular season, and finished fourth in the scoring race, losing the title to Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis by four points.[90]

Crosby returned to the ice May 5 for the Penguins' second game against their first-round playoff opponents, the New York Islanders—ironically the very team Pittsburgh had been playing when Crosby was injured. Despite two Crosby goals, Pittsburgh lost the game 3-2, tying the series at one game a piece.[91] The Penguins would ultimately prevail 4-2 in the series over the Isles with Crosby scoring 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists) in the five games in which he played.[92] Crosby and the Penguins moved on to face the Ottawa Senators in the second round with 'Sid the Kid' registering a hat-trick in game-2 of the series. Pittsburgh quickly defeated Ottawa 4 games to 1 in the series with a still-hot Crosby finishing the series with four goals and two assists.

The Eastern Conference Finals came down to what many felt were the two best teams in the conference: Pittsburgh and Boston. Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask put on an outstanding performance, shutting down Pittsburgh's potent offense with the help of a stifling defensive effort from his teammates. The Penguins were held to just two goals in the series, with Rask stopping 134 of 136 shots on goal (.985%). Crosby, who had been so strong for the Penguins in the regular season and through the first two rounds of the playoffs was held off the score sheet entirely, finishing the series with 0 goals and 0 assists on 13 shots. The Bruins swept the Penguins in four straight games, ending Crosby's bid for a second Stanley Cup Championship.[93]

2013–14

Crosby put together a healthy and productive year in 13-14, playing 80 games for the first time since the 2009-10 season. Crosby finished the season with 36 goals and a league leading 68 assists. It marked the first time in his career that he led the league in assists. He also finished with a league high 104 points, winning the Art Ross Trophy for the second time in his career.[94] Crosby and the Penguins finished second in the east to the Bruins, and were matched up with new division rival the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round. Despite a very back and forth series and not a single goal by Crosby, the Penguins defeated the Jackets in 6 games to advance to a second round matchup with long time rival the New York Rangers, against whom they lost in seven games. On May 1, Crosby, along with fellow captains Ryan Getzlaf and Claude Giroux, was named a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy. It marked the fourth time in his career Crosby was named a top three finalist for the Hart Trophy, winning it once in 06-07.

Going into their second round series with the Rangers, Crosby looked to end a long playoff goal drought, which dated back to the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Bruins. After dropping Game 1 at home, Crosby finally broke his goal drought in Game 2, as the Pens tied the series at 1-1 heading back to Madison Square Garden. The Penguins would capitalize on their Game 2 win, easy taking games 3 and 4 and destroying the Rangers home ice advantage. However, the Rangers would quickly rebound, dominating the Pens in both games 5 and 6, forcing a Game 7 in Pittsburgh. The Penguins would complete an epic playoff collapse, as they dropped Game 7 to the Rangers, and headed home without a prize for the 5th straight season. This also marked the 5th straight season the Penguins would be eliminated by a lower seeded team.

Player profile

Crosby's skill level has led to some degree of upheaval, notably at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, BC and again at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. As captain and first line center for Team Canada, Crosby played with different line mates in almost every game as the coaching staff struggled to find players capable of keeping pace with the superstar center. Crosby's fellow countryman and Olympic teammate, Rick Nash of the New York Rangers was questioned by the media about this at one point saying, "“I think he’s a tough guy to keep up with. He's so fast. The way he thinks about the game seems like it’s far beyond everyone else's process. It's the same thing in the last Olympics, keep shuffling around until you found something that fit.”[95]

International play

SidneyCrosby2010WinterOlympicsgold - cropped.jpg
Crosby after winning the gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics
Medal record
Competitor for  Canada
Ice hockey
Winter Olympics
Gold 2014 Sochi
Gold 2010 Vancouver
World Junior Championships
Gold 2005 United States
Silver 2004 Finland

Junior

Crosby debuted internationally for Team Canada at the 2003 U-18 Junior World Cup in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. He was the youngest player on the under-18 team, having turned 16 shortly before the beginning of the tournament. After seven consecutive gold medals at the tournament, Team Canada lost in the bronze medal game to the Czech Republic 8–2. He scored four goals and six points over five tournament games.[96]

Crosby went on to compete in two World Junior Championships with Team Canada's under-20 team. When he was named to the team in December 2003, he became the fifth sixteen-year-old to represent Canada at the tournament, following Jay Bouwmeester, Jason Spezza, Eric Lindros, and Wayne Gretzky. Competing in the 2004 World Junior Championships in Helsinki, he then became the youngest player to score a goal in the history of the tournament at 16 years, 4 months, and 21 days when he scored against Switzerland in a 7–2 win.[97] This record would last until the 2012 World Juniors, when Aleksander Barkov of Finland scored a goal aged 16 years, 4 months.[98]

Crosby finished the tournament with 2 goals and 3 assists in 6 games, helping Canada to a silver medal finish. The following year, he returned for Team Canada at the 2005 World Junior Championships in Grand Forks. He improved to 6 goals and 3 assists as Canada earned gold. Crosby stated the following year that his most memorable hockey moment was winning his World Junior gold medal.[17]

Men's

Crosby (against glass) celebrates moments after scoring the gold-medal winning goal at the 2010 Winter Olympics over the United States.

After completing his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Crosby competed in the 2006 World Championships as an alternate captain for Team Canada. Tallying a tournament-best 8 goals and 8 assists in 9 games, he became the youngest player ever to win a World Championship scoring title.[99] Despite his performance, Canada failed to medal, being shutout by Finland 5–0 in the bronze medal game. Crosby was named the tournament's top forward and to the competition's all-star team.[99]

After having been left off the Olympic team in 2006, Crosby was named to Team Canada on December 30, 2009, as an alternate captain for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.[100] He scored the game-winning shootout goal for Canada in the second game of the preliminary round against Switzerland. After going pointless in the quarter- and semi-final against Russia and Slovakia, respectively, Crosby scored the winning goal seven minutes and forty seconds into overtime against the United States in the gold medal game.[101] The goal has later become known as the "Golden Goal" due to it being scored in the gold medal game.[102]

Following the Penguins' second-round elimination in the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, Crosby declined an invitation to join Team Canada midway through the 2010 IIHF World Championship in Germany.[103] Crosby was selected to represent Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics, and was later named team captain.[104] Canada won gold, with Crosby contributing 1 goal and 2 assists in 6 games.[105]

Jerseys

Crosby's 87 Pittsburgh Penguins jersey was the top seller on the NHL's website from September 2005 to February 2008.[106] In January 2005, an Air Canada baggage handler in Montreal stole Crosby's red Canada jersey from the World Junior Hockey Championship. It was recovered later in a mailbox.[107] His white jersey from the tournament was temporarily delisted from an auction while the red one was missing. It eventually sold for $22,100, which went to youth hockey charities and 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake relief.[108]

Less than a year later, one of Crosby's game-worn sweaters disappeared. The jersey he wore in his first NHL game, played against the New Jersey Devils, disappeared from his father's luggage during a flight from Pittsburgh to Buffalo. The jersey was later found at the Pittsburgh International Airport between a piece of equipment and a stairwell.[109] Crosby's jersey from his third NHL game was the highest-selling NHL jersey in an auction for Hurricane Katrina relief – it sold for $21,010. During an online auction held by the NHL and the NHL Players Association to benefit Hockey Fights Cancer, Crosby's game-worn jersey from the first period of the 2007 All-Star Game earned the most money. Crosby's sold for $47,520, more than eight times the next highest price—$5,681 for the jersey worn by Brendan Shanahan of the New York Rangers.[110]

Following Crosby's Olympic gold medal victory with Canada in 2010, it was announced that his stick and glove were missing. It was initially suspected that they might have been stolen; Reebok Canada offered a reward of CAD$10,000 for their return—no questions asked.[111] On March 10, the items were found; Crosby's stick had been placed in a shipment bound for the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in St. Petersburg, Russia (the shipment was intercepted in Toronto) and his glove was found in a hockey bag belonging to Patrice Bergeron whose stall was beside Crosby's in the locker room.[112]

Personal life

Crosby lived with the Lemieux family in Sewickley, Pennsylvania from 2005 until 2010. In the spring of 2010, Crosby purchased his own home in the same area.[113] In June 2006, he bought his first house on Grand Lake in Halifax, Nova Scotia.[114][115]

Logo of Rbk SC87 line by Reebok.

In time for Crosby's first season, Gare Joyce[who?] wrote Sidney Crosby: Taking the Game by Storm, a biography. The November 2005 edition of GQ Magazine featured him in a series of shirt-less photos. In 2007, Crosby was nominated for Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People list.[116] He has an endorsement deal with Reebok and designed a fashion line in 2007.[17] On May 29, 2010, it was announced that Sidney Crosby will sign the richest endorsement deal in NHL history with Reebok. The deal is expected to pay Crosby $1.4 million a year for five to seven years. Crosby also has endorsement deals with Bell, Tim Hortons and Gatorade.[117]

In 2008, Crosby appeared in the documentary film Pond Hockey, where he discusses his experiences of playing pond hockey.[118]

Notable achievements

Awards

Records

IIHF

  • Youngest player to win a World Championship scoring title[99]

Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Assists (63) and points (102) in a season by a rookie[122]

NHL

  • First rookie to record 100 points and 100 penalty minutes in a season[123]
  • Youngest player to record 100 points in a season (18 years, 253 days)[38]
  • Youngest player to record 200 career points (19 years and 207 days)[124]
  • Youngest player to record 2 consecutive 100-point seasons (19 years, 215 days).
  • Youngest player voted to the starting lineup in an All-Star Game[125]
  • Youngest Art Ross Trophy and Lester B. Pearson Award winner[48]
  • Youngest player to be named to the First All-Star Team [49]
  • Youngest Player to Lead NHL Playoffs in scoring (20 years, 9 months, and 28 days)
  • Youngest NHL captain to win Stanley Cup (21 years, 10 months, and 5 days)
  • Fewest games played by an NHL team's leading scorer (His 66 points in 41 games were the most of any player on the 2010–11 Penguins squad)[77]

Career statistics

Crosby in 2010

Regular season and playoffs

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1999–00 Cole Harbour Red Wings Peewee AAA ~70 ~200
1999–00 Cole Harbour Red Wings Bantam AAA 1 1 3 4
2000–01 Cole Harbour Red Wings Bantam AAA 63 86 96 182 5 10 6 16
2001–02 Dartmouth Subways Midget AAA 74 95 98 193 114 7 11 13 24 0
2001–02 Truro Bearcats MJAHL 2 0 1 1 0
2002–03 Shattuck St. Mary's Midget AAA 57 72 90 162 104
2003–04 Rimouski Océanic QMJHL 59 54 81 135 74 9 7 9 16 10
2004–05 Rimouski Océanic QMJHL 62 66 102 168 84 13 14 17 31 16
2005–06 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 81 39 63 102 110
2006–07 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 79 36 84 120 60 5 3 2 5 4
2007–08 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 53 24 48 72 39 20 6 21 27 12
2008–09 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 77 33 70 103 76 24 15 16 31 14
2009–10 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 81 51 58 109 69 13 6 13 19 6
2010–11 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 41 32 34 66 31
2011–12 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 22 8 29 37 14 6 3 5 8 9
2012–13 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 36 15 41 56 16 14 7 8 15 8
2013–14 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 80 36 68 104 46 13 1 8 9 4
NHL totals 550 274 495 769 463 95 41 73 114 57
  • 1999–2000 stats are from: "Age-old question: Cole Harbour hockey association bars peewee player from bantam tourney". The Halifax Daily News. April 5, 2000. 

International

Year Team Event Result   GP G A Pts PIM
2003 Canada JWC18 4th 5 4 2 6 10
2004 Canada WJC 2nd 6 2 3 5 4
2005 Canada WJC 1st 6 6 3 9 4
2006 Canada WC 4th 9 8 8 16 10
2010 Canada Oly 1st 7 4 3 7 4
2014 Canada Oly 1st 6 1 2 3 0
Junior totals 17 12 8 20 18
Senior totals 22 13 13 26 14

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The NHL Central Scouting Bureau divide their rankings by position (goaltenders and skaters) and playing region (North American and Europe). Accordingly, Crosby was ranked as the best North American skater.

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External links