Sidney Crosby has been back on the ice for 7 games since his return from injury and the speculation about how his absence effected his play is still running wild. Crosby was sidelined after suffering from concussion like symptoms that then turned out to be a soft tissue injury in his neck.
At least once a day since his return I hear someone say he has lost a step, or isn’t playing with as much heart, or even that he is playing timid. I have even heard some public sports personalities make statements about how his career might be over. I am forced to question the sanity of every single one of these people! Now let me explain why.
Lets start with the most obvious reason, he’s only played 7 games, he’s still in “beginning of the season” shape. Just to illustrate my point a little more let me give you a few facts. Through the first 7 games of the season teammate Evgeni Malkin had 4 goals and 6 assists for a total of 10 points. Let me point out that Malkin is currently the points leader in the NHL with 97. Now, let me give you Crosby’s first 7 games stats, 11 assists and 2 goals for 13 total points. It’s 2 less goals than Malkin had but look at how Crosby is making those around him better, he is setting his teammates up for goals like crazy! He has accumulated 5 more assists and 2 more points over his first 7 games back (this time) than Geno did to start his season.
Stats don’t lie folks, but in case you don’t believe those then catch the highlight real from the Penguins March 17th win over the New Jersey Devils. Crosby set up Malkin with a fantastic pass across the ice from his knees, yes you read that right, from his knees.
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Crosby hasn’t lost a step, what’s happening is Crosby has just started his season when everyone else is at the height of their game. This is a great sign for Penguins fans, just as the Pens are about to start a run at the cup they are getting a fresh and healthy Sidney Crosby on the ice. It almost makes me feel bad for the rest of the NHL... I said almost.
Here’s to Crosby helping the Pens run right through the playoffs and bring Lord Stanley’s Cup back to Pittsburgh.