Sidney Crosby has played future Hall of Fame wingers, and he’s played with players who should send Christmas cards for the rest of their lives after signing big contracts because of their work with the Pittsburgh Penguins top center.
Not every winger can sidesaddle Crosby and earn a living. More than a few talented Penguins players, including Phil Kessel and Alex Galchenyuk, were unable. Nor could Tanner Pearson, who was acquired last season to add more offense, then quickly traded when he didn’t. Some wingers like Patric Hornqvist and the traded Conor Sheary had a knack, then lost it.
Few players like Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, and Jake Guentzel have been able to plant themselves beside Crosby permanently and not only benefit from the hockey-Van Goh but also make Crosby better, too.
After the injury to Guentzel on Dec. 30 and Crosby’s return from injury in mid-January, the Penguins top center had a revolving door of linemates, including Dominik Simon and Hornqvist.
“We try to find guys with speed and tight area skills who can thrive in traffic,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said on Wednesday. “That’s where Sid thrives, and he’s so good at that give-and-go game down below the goal line or underneath the hashmarks.’
Crosby also broke down his linemate’s strengths and how his game adapts to their different skills. And his early impressions of playing with newly acquired Jason Zucker.