Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Center and team captain Sidney Crosby on Thursday was named the Pittsburgh Penguins’ MVP, along with being given the Players’ Player Award. Both are for the 2020-21 season.
Crosby, 33, who after getting a goal and an assist Thursday in an 8-4 win over Buffalo leads the team with 24 goals and 62 points, won the team MVP honor for the ninth time. He not only has flashed the numbers going into the Penguins’ final regular-season game Saturday, but he also has consistently played at a high level, using his speed and acumen to lead the team as it vies for the East Division title.
The Players’ Player Award is considered a special honor because, while that and the MVP come in a vote by fellow players, the Players’ Player Award selects a teammate who embodies leadership and teamwork. It does not always traditionally go to one of the star players, but Crosby straddles that line between star and locker room good guy.
Here is the official news release from the Penguins:
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has been selected by his teammates as the recipient of the team’s Most Valuable Player Award presented by PPG, and the Players’ Player Award presented by UPMC, for the 2020-21 season.
This is Crosby’s ninth Team MVP recognition, trailing only Mario Lemieux (12) for the most in team history. This also marks the captain’s third Players’ Player Award selection, also having won the award in 2017-18 and ’18-19.
The Players’ Player Award is voted on by the players for the player they feel exemplifies leadership for the team both on and off the ice, and who is dedicated to teamwork.
In his 16th season, the 33-year-old Crosby leads Pittsburgh with 60 points and 37 assists while adding a team-high tying 23 goals. The captain is on pace to lead the team in scoring for the 11th time in his career, tying Lemieux for the most such seasons in franchise history. Currently, his 60 points are the eighth-most in the NHL.
Crosby has averaged a point per game or higher (1.13 PTS/GM) for the 16th straight season, trailing only Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe for the most seasons with a point per game or higher in league history. Only Gretzky (19) and Crosby started their careers with 16-consecutive point-per-game seasons.
With 20-plus goals for a 13th season, Crosby also passed Lemieux (12) for the most 20-goal seasons in Penguins history.
Other milestones reached this season for the Novia Scotia native include becoming the first Penguin to play in 1,000 games with the team on February 20 against the Islanders and becoming the eighth-fastest player in NHL history to notch 1,300 points on March 25 versus Buffalo.
The month of March treated Crosby well as he was honored as the East Division’s Star of the Month. Crosby was a driving force behind Pittsburgh’s league-high (tied) 12 wins in March, helping the team to a 12-3-1 record which stands as the third-best calendar month of March in franchise history. He finished the month with a team-best 21 points (7G-14A) and was plus-7 in 15 games. His 21 points were tied for fifth in the NHL in March.