On this day, Jul. 30, nine years ago, the Pittsburgh Penguins drafted a kid out of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, with the No. 1 overall pick: Sidney Crosby.
Can you believe it? I know, I can’t.
Enduring a stretch from 2001-04 of absolute misery, times were real tough being a Pittsburgh fan. If you remember players like Kris Beech, Sebastien Caron, Josef Melichar, or even Eric Meloche, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
But then, something terrible happened – the lockout of 2004-05. Or was it terrible? It’s funny, because for how awful it was to not be watching hockey, for a Pens’ fan, it may have been the best thing that could’ve occurred.
For one, we didn’t have to suffer through another depressing display by Pittsburgh, and also, the team had a shot at nabbing the No. 1 overall pick post-lockout. So, it wasn’t all too bad.
Prior to the draft, when the league was running their lottery event, to decide who would win the “Sidney Crosby sweepstakes,” I can recall sitting in my living room, watching as each envelope was opened, holding my breath and hoping I didn’t see the Pens’ logo at all; which meant Crosby was theirs.
And I don’t think my blood pressure was any higher than that last envelope. But when that card opened, and all I saw was an Anaheim Mighty Ducks emblem, I tilt my head back, let out oxygen, and just mouthed the words, “thank you.” Finally. Finally, for once, the Pens’ luck is prevalent.
When Jul. 30 came around, it was just, joy, sheer joy. Not to sound like a crazed, die-hard fan, because I’m not; it was just such a jubilated period. It meant I could finally look forward to watching Pittsburgh again. It meant the league itself was heading into a new era. And it meant, most importantly, the Penguins were heading in the right direction.
It also meant more fans: bandwagon-ers. Ugh.
But, nine years later, those sentiments couldn’t be anymore true.
One Stanley Cup, two MVPs, two Art Ross Trophies, three Ted Lindsay Awards, one Rocket Richard Trophy, six ESPYs, and two gold medals, Crosby’s steamrolled the NHL since he commenced his pro life. Crosby’s garnered 769 points, 274 goals, and 495 assists in 550 career regular-season tilts, with 114 points (41G, 73A) in 95 playoff contests. He’s also racked up over 100 points in a season five times, including his rookie campaign – stats per Hockey DB.
Crosby has been the consummate pro, the ambassador of the league – and to the Pens – and has proved to be the best player of this decade.
Happy anniversary, Pittsburgh brethren.
Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins