Sidney Crosby is one of the great talents of his generation. Lauded are his dedication and determination. Some call him the greatest grinder ever to play. His leadership skills have earned a pair of Conn Smythe trophies, Hart trophies, and his overall game has netted a pair of Art Ross trophies. His playmaking skills have even helped linemates earn big-time NHL paychecks.
Lost in the shuffle among the accolades and praise is often Crosby’s goal-scoring prowess. He also has two Rocket Richard trophies.
Crosby is lethal when he is allowed to play down low. This play against Boston outlines so many of Crosby’s strengths. Watch Crosby battle in front of the net, but he never lost sight of the puck. In the history of the game’s greatest players, not many were willing to score many goals like this.
Crosby’s off-the-charts hockey IQ doesn’t hurt either. Against Buffalo, the Penguins forecheck had the Sabres scrambling. In most cases, a player who just came onto the ice would establish neutral zone position, but Crosby read the breakout pass and put it in the back of the Sabres net.
This goal against St. Louis may not seem remarkable but not many others could have scored it. Crosby cleanly won the battle in the corner and had his head up for the first shot, then saw the small space between St. Louis goalie Jake Allen and the post. It’s the little things which separate Crosby from the pack. This play shows a few more of those “little things”:
However, do not pigeonhole Crosby as only a player who scores goals in the dirty zones. Watch how many moves Crosby puts on New York Islanders goalie Christopher Gibson before finally putting it past him. The fake shot, the fake pass, then freezing hold then…snap.
And well, this one? This one against Montreal is just showing off.
Crosby also has one of the best one-timers in the NHL, which is a strength for which he gets very little credit. Watch Crosby’s balance and ability to center the puck at full speed, against Detroit.
And for good measure, this play against Philadelphia shows Crosby’s attention to detail. He won the faceoff, shed his defender but knew exactly where to be for the rebound goal. Sometimes life isn’t fair. Crosby’s goal-scoring ability makes sure of that.
Superstars are supposed to slow down by 30-years-old. It doesn’t seem wise to bet on Crosby to do so. In fact, the smarter bet could be for him to improve on his 29 goals last season. In fact, with the Penguins new found forward depth, Crosby could audition a few right wings to go with a maturing Jake Guentzel. After consecutive 89-point seasons, another big offensive year and a third Art Ross trophy don’t seem far-fetched.