Saturday night, Sidney Crosby earned his 100th point of the season with an assist on the late game-tying goal by Jake Guentzel. It was the sixth time in his career Crosby reached triple digits but first in five years. The game’s greatest player and ambassador, now a battle-tested veteran with three Stanley Cup rings had one of the best offensive seasons of his career.
The question I posed to Sidney Crosby Saturday night seemed simple enough. Just eight words: Is there any significance to reaching 100 points?
“It’s a nice number. As a group, we had to play through adversity at different points of the year. Guys came in and stepped up, whether it was guys who were traded here or guys who were called up,” Crosby replied.
Initially, I thought Crosby was just deflecting his accomplishment in classic Crosby style. It wasn’t until later when a colleague listened back to the answer and said–“You know I think Sid was talking about the team getting 100 points.”
The team also got 100 points?! Surely that wasn’t his first thought when I asked about 100? Oh, of course, the team was Crosby’s first thought. Just, of course. By virtue of the loser point Saturday, the Penguins team reached the century mark, too.
Be honest, how many of you knew the Penguins got to 100 points as a matter of immediate top of mind knowledge? I’m sure many in the locker room didn’t realize it either. The team point total seemed to be insignificant compared to the season result. Playoffs or no playoffs. Third place or wild-card.
But Sid, of course, instinctively thought of his team, first.
“Our goalies did a great job. Case was in there while Murr was out and did a great job,” Crosby continued…about the team. “Everybody contributed and I think that feels good.”
Darn, he really was talking about the team when asked about 100 points. If only I had realized this at the moment I could have clarified. But the thing is: Sid always thinks of the team first. It didn’t strike me as odd as I wondered when he would get to himself.
“Knowing that we got through (the adversity) will hopefully help us in the playoffs,” he concluded.
In an era and age when athletes use social media to promote themselves, their self-interests and sometimes to hurt others to protect their own ego, that’s the antithesis of Sidney Crosby. Anyone who has covered him for more than a few moments knows it’s all about the team results and so no one thought twice about the answer, until later when we discussed his season.
It will be 12 years in May since Crosby was named the Penguins captain. He was given the C after the Penguins Round One loss to the Ottawa Senators back in 2007. That playoff loss became the first year of the current 13 consecutive playoff appearances. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?
Maybe you didn’t hear much of it in Pittsburgh, but in 2007 there was considerable criticism or head shaking in hockey circles that a team would name a recent teenager as the captain.
But two years later, Crosby became the youngest captain to hoist the Stanley Cup and most of the criticism was quieted.
The closest Crosby came to admitting some joy in the personal accomplishment Saturday was when he was asked who would get the puck on which he earned his 100th point. Crosby’s 100th point came on linemate Jake Guentzel’s 40th goal.
“Yeah, we’ll have to figure that one out,” Crosby said as he broke into laughter. “That’s going to be a good one. I’ll have to negotiate something with him. He’ll get 50 (goals) at some point, so maybe he’ll just hold onto that one.”
And again, thinking of his team and its potential.
Few players in the NHL can boast Sidney Crosby’s individual achievements. The Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia native has 1216 points including 446 goals in just 943 games. It seems a safe bet that had he not been robbed of much of two seasons due to a concussion then a soft tissue neck injury which created concussion-like symptoms, he would have over 500 goals and be on the doorstep of 1500 points, at just 31 years old.
For Crosby, the real accomplishments are three Stanley Cups, two Olympic gold medals, a Junior World Championship, a World Championship, and World Cup (Ok, maybe the last two aren’t so much resume builders but they were about Crosby leadership).
Crosby faces the media almost every day. He’ll do so again today. Wednesday in New York. And win or lose after the Round One series, no matter how bitterly disappointed he might be.
And his team will come first then, too. You can watch the locker room video including my ill-fated question: