Can Sidney Crosby Shine Again As The Best In The World?


There have been multiple articles published by blogs and media alike that are geared toward bashing Pittsburgh Penguins Captain Sidney Crosby. This is not one of them. However, I do want to discuss an important topic regarding Crosby, and that is whether or not he can shine as the undisputed best player in the world again. Some will argue the notion that he isn’t playing well due to him being near the top of the scoring race in the NHL. But, for Crosby, being near the top simply isn’t good enough. Not in our opinion, and not in his either.

More from Penguins News

Sidney Crosby has been a perfectionist from day one. I’m not talking about day one in the NHL; I’m referencing his entire hockey career. There are endless stories about Sidney Crosby’s dedication to the game and success long before anyone thought of him as the Captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins. So, it’s clear that his drop in production and lack of effectiveness in recent post seasons are weighing heavily on him.

My main concern is Crosby’s inability to find that next level that we’ve seen so many times in the past. Gone are the days in which you didn’t worry that the Penguins were trailing because it was very likely number 87 could breakout and completely take over a game. Gone are the days in which you felt the absolute dominance that Sidney Crosby imposed from the first puck drop to the final buzzer. Remember this version of Crosby? This may be the most fun I’ve had watching a Penguin game despite the loss, and Sid was no less than brilliant.

So far this season, as mentioned above, Crosby is keeping pace with the point-leaders in the NHL. He’s currently in a three-way tie for second on that list, right behind Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. He has 72 points (23g, 49a), and is on pace for roughly 89 points if he continues his average of 1.09 points per game. It’s hard to say that someone is under-performing with those kinds of numbers, but for Sidney Crosby, that’s exactly what it is.

Sidney Crosby finished last season with 104 points in 80 games, averaging 1.3 points per game.   He was healthy for a full season and was a menace to most teams. The closest player on the scoring list at seasons-end was Ryan Getzlaf with 87 points. Crosby was, as he should be, the best player in the NHL. He touted a 13.9 shooting percentage on 259 shots. So far this season, his shooting percentage is 11.6 on 199 shots. He also finished the season with 38 power play points, compared to his 28 so far this season. With 11 games remaining, he’s very unlikely to come in the vicinity of last season’s performance.

More from Pens Labyrinth

When I watch Crosby on the ice, I don’t see the worn down body or talent landslide that so many have cited. I don’t see a player that has surpassed his prime and is experiencing a career downturn. I won’t buy into the hype that the league has “figured him out”. Also, I don’t see a player that is shying away from the trenches of the game due to past injuries.

What I do see is a player that is forcing the issue. High risk passes and low percentage shots have become his forte. I have no doubt the person that is the hardest on Sidney Crosby is Crosby himself. He looks like a player that lacks the confidence to let his talent do the work for him. You can see it in his hesitant approach to work on the walls and in front of the net. You can tell by the way he has deferred so often to other players with a pass that results in a turnover, rather than trusting his shot. And, ultimately, you can see it in his drop in production and impact on the game.

The real question is, can Sidney Crosby shine again as the best player in the world?

The real question is, can Sidney Crosby shine again as the best player in the world? My answer is yes, but we likely won’t see a miraculous turnaround this season. My guess is that Crosby will continue playing well, but not dominate. This offseason, I’d expect him to regain that confidence. Players go through slumps, and if a slump for Sidney Crosby is merely almost winning the scoring title, I’d say we’re pretty fortunate hockey fans.

Despite having another all-world talent like Evgeni Malkin to fall back on, the Penguins need number 87 at the top of his game to compete for a Stanley Cup. Like most fans, my hopes aren’t high that we’ll witness a long post season run this year. But, don’t count the Penguins and Crosby out for future seasons. Please curb the conversations about Sidney Crosby being done. The Captain will be back in a big way, and like you, I can’t wait to watch his brilliance once again.

Thanks for reading as always. Follow me on Twitter @Michael29Angelo!

More from Pens Labyrinth