Could Sidney Crosby Elevate His Game Even Further?


During the first two games of the regular season Pittsburgh Penguins captain, Sidney Crosby has, yet again, been playing at an MVP level. Despite Crosby dealing with multiple injuries in the last few seasons, he has been among the league leaders in scoring almost annually.

The start of this season has been no exception. Through the first two games of the season Crosby has six points (3 G – 3 A). In addition to the offensive contributions, he has been more solid defensively than ever before.

His defensive game has been a focal point of much of his offseason work in the last few seasons and the results of his work are showing.

Sidney Crosby for years has been considered the unquestioned best player in all of hockey, until recently. Much of the reason why he is considered the best is the constant additions to his highlight reel, and his league leading statistics. However, highlights and statstics no longer are enough to retain his title.

As the game of hockey is evolving and growing, so is the knowledge of the fanbase. Presently, the title for “best player in the world” is in a three way battle between Sidney Crosby, the Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews and the Los Angeles Kings’ Anze Kopitar.

The knock on Crosby has always been his lack of defensive play. Which so far this season appears to be much better, not only is his defensive play better but new coach Mike Johnston has actually began giving him time on the penalty kill.

Some will try and argue that NHL players have their best seasons before they turn 27. As a Penguins fan this is troubling because Sidney Crosby is now 27 years old and in his 10th season in the league.

Jun 24, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Pittsburg Penguins captain Sidney Crosby poses with Ted Lindsay Award, the Art Ross Trophy, and the Hart Trophy after winning all three titles during the 2014 NHL Awards ceremony at Wynn Las Vegas. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Their best examples have always been legends Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky, while yes stasticially they had their best seasons, they did not have their best overall seasons before 27. Next critics will cite the fact that neither won a Stanley Cup in their late twenties, which is a fair argument. But what they fail to realize is that a team is more than just a superstar.

Once Lemieux and Gretzky became stars in the NHL they began to receive contracts that, at the time, was their market value. This is not to say that either player was greedy, just during their era of hockey, the sport was not nearly as popular as it is today.

An era of no salary cap and hundreds of goals a season sounds wonderful does it not? What people often forget is while there was no official salary cap, but each team had their own unofficial cap. During this time, teams had a set amount of money they could spend on players, and it was not much. So if you spend a large portion of your capital on a superstar, it becomes more and more difficult to build a complete team around them.

So if there is any player who can break the curse and win another Cup in his late twenties, it will be Sidney Crosby. While he is not playing in the era of 200 point seasons, he has excelled in the current conditions of the game.

Mar 22, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) reacts after his second goal of the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The increased popularity of the NHL has helped the overall quality of teams as well. In the current NHL it is easy to not only have one superstar, but two or three, and still be able to have a competitive team.

Sidney Crosby not only has an insane amount of talent and an impressive work ethic, but relatively complete team built around him. With another player like Evgeni Malkin on the Pittsburgh Penguins, their Stanley Cup window is not closing anytime soon, despite what the critics might say.

This could finally be the season where Crosby leads the Penguins back to the Stanley Cup and silences the critics. We could be witnesses to Sidney Crosby’s best season yet and if the last few seasons are any indicator, he has no intent of slowing down.

So what do you think Penguins fans? Will Crosby have his best season yet or is his current play too unsustainable? Let us know what you think in the comments below!