Sidney Crosby is once again the NHL’s Best
The NHL is back in full swing and even better Sidney Crosby is back to where he was prior to a series of problems with injuries for the past two seasons.
It was just a year ago, that many hockey enthusiasts had questions that surrounded the NHL future of the Pittsburgh Penguin superstar.
Coaches, players and fans wondered when the team’s captain would play again. If he played, would he be the same? Could he dominate as he did prior to the neck injuries and concussions that cost him most of a 14-month period?
It is a year since Crosby made his latest return and at this point, he is where he was prior to his injury problems: regarded by all as the game’s best player and on top of the scoring race in the NHL.
The fun has returned for Crosby following dark days and nights and he recently said it was much better to talk hockey each night and not about his injuries and future. Crosby said while on the ice he only thinks about hockey and has no trepidation while playing.
Since he returned, he has played 48 games dating back to last season’s regular season and the playoffs and has dished out an impressive 59 assists. That total includes this season’s 35, which lead the league. Added to that are the 21 goals he has scored to give him 80 points since he returned March 15 of last year. Since that time, he has played every game for the Penguins.
Thus far, this season after 28 games, Crosby leads the NHL in total points with 47. His scoring pace should net him 80 points for the season and that would be 137 if it were projected across a full 82-game season. He is currently averaging 1.68 points each game and that would be the highest for a complete season since 1995-1996 when Mario Lemieux had a 2.30 points per game average.
Crosby thus far has 12 goals, 35 assists, 15 power play points, a rating of plus 20 (second in the NHL) and has won more than 55% of the face offs he has been in. Crosby is second in draws taken in the NHL with 688.
In a recent interview, the Great One, Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky said Crosby was the game’s best player.
No one was certain what would happen when Crosby returned to the Penguins lineup last March. The problems started in early 2011 and he made one comeback in November of that year, but that lasted all of eight games before he was beset with more concussion symptoms that sidelined him for a full three months.
Players and coaches alike say the current Crosby is better than the version prior to his injuries. One analyst was very clear about it. He said the question everyone needs to ask is who is the No. 2 player in the NHL, since Crosby is hands down the No. 1 player.