Thursday, July 26, 2007

Looking Back at The Season of Sid

by Jes

Mike Brophy of The Hockey News takes a look at the past season, and rightfully declares it to be "The Season of Sid".

The Ducks won the Stanley Cup? *yawn*. Dickhead Messier made the Hall of Fame? *sigh*. Operation Slapshot? Does anyone but the media care? Not really.

All of those events just pale in comparison to the fact that Sidney established himself as the New Mr. Hockey and made the NHL his personal bitch.

But at the end of the day, 2006-07 belonged to Sid the Kid. Because regardless of all else that transpired, Sidney Crosby’s emergence as the best hockey player in the world gives hope for the future to a league scratching and clawing to remain relevant. At 19, Crosby assumed the role of face of the NHL – crowned the league’s top player by both his peers and the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association that named him MVP.

It has been obvious for a long time that Crosby would one day rule the NHL, but the fact he took the helm before his 20th birthday is both remarkable and a tribute to his dedication to excellence. It would be unfair to say he singlehandedly guided the Pittsburgh Penguins into the playoffs, given the team’s other youthful talent – such as Marc-Andre Fleury, Jordan Staal, Ryan Whitney and NHL rookie-of-the-year Evgeni Malkin – but clearly Crosby is the driving force behind a team on the cusp of greatness.

The first teenager in NHL history to win the scoring title, Crosby had 120 points in 79 games and has served notice nothing will stand between him and the Cup. Crosby has been criticized for his over-the-top intensity on the ice, be it cussing officials who don’t call the game the way he sees it to trash-talking opponents who try to take liberties with him. The only question is, how soon before the Penguins win the Cup? The betting is sooner rather than later.

I'm always amazed that Alexander Ovechkin gets a free pass for his bombastic style of play and enthusiasm, yet Crosby is branded as a 'whiner'. Both kids are hard working and both play in-your-face. Just because one does it with a smile doesn't mean it's all that different.


Obviously, the next and final step for Crosby to take is some success in the playoffs. Given the Penguins moves this off-season, Crosby has a very good shot at a Stanley Cup if the Penguins could just get a goaltender that doesn't suck.

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