You think you had to hang in there, anticipating Sidney Crosby’s 500th career goal? How about the Pittsburgh Penguins star center’s parents, Troy and Trina. They were in attendance Tuesday at PPG Paints Arena for the milestone, just as they had been at his games recently as he crept closer to that number.
“They’ve been living out of a suitcase for a couple weeks, wanting to be here for this one,” Sidney Crosby said with a smile after he notched his 500th goal in a 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. “Glad I could finally get it.”
Crosby, 34, noted that his parents haven’t been able to travel to see many of his games over the past couple seasons because of COVID-19 travel and arena attendance restrictions.
“It’s really nice” that they were able to attend this one, Crosby said. “It’s important to be able to share that with them. They’ve been there for some pretty cool things over the years, pretty cool experiences, and this is another one to add.”
His parents were seen on the big screen in the arena and on the Penguins telecast celebrating to the point of being a bit teary.
As for his own reaction, Crosby said he just tried to soak in the moment.
“I was just happy and excited,” Crosby said of the moment he saw the puck go in off a sharp-angle shot during a power play at 16:34 of the first period. His teammates left the bench and swarmed him.
“It was a lot of fun to do it at home, and with all the guys coming on the ice like that. I’ll definitely always remember it.”
That the goal came not only at home in front of fans — he played his 1,000th career game and had a pregame celebration last season in front of empty seats at home because of COVID-19 restrictions — but also off an assist from fellow star center Evgeni Malkin and against the Penguins arch rival Flyers. That made it even more special.
“You look back at different things over the last 16, 17 years, and that’s a memory that I’ll always hold pretty close — with ‘Geno’ assisting on it, home, against Philadelphia. … Everything that went into it, and to get the win. That changes the whole dynamic a little bit. All those things combined made for a special night.”
Crosby grinned upon mentioning the part about getting the win. His goal gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead, but the Flyers scored three unanswered goals in the second to take a 4-2 lead. The Penguins had to scramble and got goals 22 seconds apart from Jake Guentzel and Chad Ruhwedel in the third to force overtime. Another franchise player, Kris Letang, scored in overtime.
Crosby became the second active player (Washington’s Alex Ovechkin), second Penguins player (Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux) and 46th overall NHL player to reach 500.
Asked how that ranks among his milestones in a Hall of Fame career in the making, Crosby said, “I don’t know. I mean, it’s hard to put into words. I think being able to be a part of some great teams over the years, play with some great players … it’s a cool number. You look at guys who have scored 500 goals, I think it’s just a privilege to be part of that company, and I appreciate the opportunity to play this long in the league. When you look at numbers like that, that’s kind of where my head tends to go.”