I know, I know; most hockey fans (including myself) are
sick and tired about hearing when Crosby will make his return, but he has FINALLY made it back to the ice for a game, and that's something to blog about! I know Crosby`s return to the ice has been, over televised, over analyzed and what not, but if you don`t understand what Sidney Crosby brings to the game of hockey and the NHL, then you my friend, no nothing about hockey!
Those of you who follow me on twitter (@Hockeylife30) would know that; I don't like the Pittsburgh Penguins and I am not a huge fan of Crosby, but I was very happy to see him play Monday night. When I first awoke Monday morning I was disappointed to see Crosby's return was not on my TV schedule for that night, infact none of 7 games were available to me! So when I heard that CBC had picked up the game I was beyond excited.
When the public address announcer called out Sidney Crosby's name during the pre-game, there was a deafening cheer, as everyone at the game rose to their feet welcoming the games biggest super star back to the ice. Crosby did not disappoint, in a night that will go down in NHL history; much like Lemouix's return (the two were compared all night) Crosby netted 2 goals and added 2 assists just for the fun of it. Talk about amazing, a guy that's been out of the lineup for 10 months, comes back and has a game like he did on Monday night, is literally incredible. Now I'd be lying if I said that I was surprised by Crosby's play on Monday night. For one, he's been skating for what 2 months now? He's had all the time to sharpen his skills and hone them to perfection, it wasn't, a situation where they threw a player out there and hope they are ready, the Penguins took their sweet time in letting Crosby be "fully" healed and prepared for his first game back. Another reason I wasn't all that surprised, is because of their opponents, a team Crosby has dominated his whole career, a team that is struggling badly in the league right now, and a team that was starting a rookie goaltender; The New York Islanders. I'm not taking anything away from Sidney Crosby's triumphant return, just saying I wasn't all that surprised with how well he played. It took Crosby just 5 minutes and 24 seconds to show, that he was back and ready to play, he scored a goal, that will now be showed over and over and over again on sports highlight shows. It was a sweet goal; Crosby took a pass in the neutral zone, split two Islander defenders, then went backhand roof-daddy on the Islanders rookie goalie. It was Crosby's first goal since Dec. 28, 2010. On CBC they clocked him going 35 mph on that play, nothing is going to stop a player going that fast, except maybe a brick wall. That goal sent the crowd at Consol Energy Center into a mad frenzy and of course Crosby wasn't finished yet! Crosby then preceded to score his second goal of the night, it wasn't as "pretty" as the first goal, but it still counts. Crosby was against the boards trying to rid himself of an Islanders defenseman, he spun and turned and made the defenseman look like a total fool, then Crosby took a quick shot that went off the post and in! Crosby finished the night with 4 points in 16 minutes of ice time in a 5-0 win over the Islanders.
After the game Sid the Kid was all smiles; "I'll have a great memory of this one for a lot of different reasons," Crosby said after the game. "That was a pretty fun one to be a part of. I'm happy it went well." But some folks went a little over board after the game; a question was tweeted many times on twitter; "how long before Crosby is leading the league in points"? originally asked by Jonathan Quick. Now although Quick was kidding, Crosby now has 70 points in his last 42 games, I don't think it will be long before Kessel gets some company atop the league as Crosby is now only 25 points back."For us, watching him every day in practice, even last year when we were in the playoffs and he was skating with us, he was doing amazing things," Penguins defenseman Kris Letang said. "He treated his rehab real seriously and that's what happens when you make the sacrifice. He came back and was 100 percent like he said he was going to be." Pittsburgh forward Matt Cooke added, "It's Sidney Crosby. The guy loves the stage and he loves to play. He's one of the biggest competitors. Not just in hockey, but in everything he does. It's proof of that tonight." One thing is for sure, Crosby has one of the best work ethics in all of professional sports. There is no real secret to the amazing skill that Crosby possess; some people are born with, but the rest has to be worked at; Crosby is successful because he works so hard at what he does and what he loves. He is one of the most respected players around the league, and his peers were both happy and impressed by Crosby's return. Logan Coutoure took to twitter to say that; "Saying #87 makes it look easy is an understatement," Leafs Forward Tyler Bozak added his two cents; "What a player, It was great for the game of hockey to have him back on the ice putting on a show again." "I still can't put into words how HAPPY I am for Sidney Crosby. I watched the highlights and get choked up," said former MLS star Taylor Twellman, who was forced to retire because of concussion-related problems. So Crosby is possibly the most popular Canadian athlete in all of sports.
Upon hearing the Crosby would suit up for the game on Monday the hockey world was set a buzz; CBC went crazy to buy rights to air the game, and cancelled all their shows lined up for the typical Monday night slot, to top that they had a Sidney Crosby special airing before the game. And how about the sports journalists, so many journalists applied to get into the game, that they had to deny access to some, I believe there were 77 requests for media credentials, the journalists had to find a plane to fly them to Pittsburgh, so needless to say the hockey world was a wild mess leading up to a game, that couldn't have been written any better. I jokingly said to my dad "how long till the movie rights are sold". Like I said earlier this was a huge thing for the game of hockey and the NHL, the face of the sport was back on the ice, doing his thing, scoring highlight reel goals and making heads turn. Many young kids take to the ice, because they want to be just like Sidney Crosby, they bug and bug their parents until they get a Crosby jersey, then they want to see him play, so they buy tickets; Sidney Crosby is a money maker for the NHL, and he also draws a large crowd to watch games; heck Sportscenter had a top 10 Sidney Crosby highlight reel this morning. ESPN in the states even led off their evening Sportscenter with hockey. I didn't even know they knew how to spell hockey! Heck Sidney Crosby is hockey, he is what every young Canadian hockey playing boy wants to be. Sidney Crosby`s return was an amazing beginning to a new chapter in his story. I'm super happy for Crosby, the last 10 months of his life has been a living nightmare; dizziness, grogginess, headaches and disorientation; not knowing when or if these symptoms would pass and when he would awaken from this horror story. Not knowing if or when he would play a game again, how long it would take for him to be the SIDNEY Crosby of old again. But he's back and perhaps better than ever "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger".
One downer for me, is that Crosby has been back for 1 game, 16 minutes, and they are already back to using Crosby and Ovechkin in the same sentences again. These two phenomenal hockey players are completely different; Crosby has had better coaching and has been allowed to develop and become who he is today in the NHL, Ovechkin has had crappy coaching, every coach he's had has tried to change his game to what they want, instead of what makes Ovechkin, be Ovechkin. They have two different styles and two different teams; Crosby has tons of help, Ovechkin doesn't. But already people are wondering if Crosby's hot start will make Ovechkin play better. Give it a break people! Why can't Crosby have his moment without dragging Ovechkin into the question? People are actually saying, that Ovechkin stopped playing well just cause Crosby was hurt? Give it a rest people, the two parties are completely unrelated here. Crosby misses 68 games and then after 1 were right back to the rivalary of these two, they haven't even faced off against each other yet! (Anyways if Crosby's hot play sparks Ovechkin then I'm fine with it, I like Ovechkin, but in my humble opinion nothing will help Ovechkin until there is a change behind his bench.)
So Crosby is back and all is well again in the NHL and in Pittsburgh, it was great to see Sid the Kid back on the ice, scoring goals. Hopefully he stays healthy and continues to produce, I still think some bone head player will try and hit Crosby again, but I hope I'm wrong. So here's to a great year for Crosby and hopefully the last time I have to hear major talk about him for the foreseeable feature. Just Let the kid play.
So to sum it up Congrats Crosby, and I'm sorry to all the teams that have to play against him soon!