I’m not sure if some fans are just numb to his greatness at this point or if there’s a collective ennui from a fanbase still basking in the glow of a Stanley Cup, but I feel as if not as much conversation is happening around Sidney Crosby and his goal scoring in the general population. He’s single-handedly costing the Penguins money to change out the red lights that are lit when goals are scored.
After missing six games at the start of the season, Crosby has come back with a vengeance, like Uma Thurman from Kill Bill. He’s caused goalies to bow their heads in shame an amazing 21 times in 24 games, good for 0.875 goals per game. Remember that number, we’ll come back to that shortly.
He’s scoring goals in a manner that makes me think he could be on the bench for the Pirates this year, too:
Sometimes he gets bored and sees if he can bank them off the goalie’s back, just for fun:
And of course he scores them while laying on his stomach, because why not:
Sidney Crosby is a ridiculous hockey player, still the best in the NHL after all these years, no matter what challengers stepped to his throne while he was fully recovering from his severe concussion issues. But he’s never been this prolific as a goal scorer. His single-season high is 51, back in 2009-10, and he’s never cleared 40 in any other season. He’s always been the visionary table-setter, not the finisher, per se. But for whatever reason, things are different this year. This is the greatest Crosby has looked since his head was introduced to David Steckel’s elbow on New Year’s Day in the Winter Classic on January 1st, 2011. For Crosby to equal his career high of goals, he would need to score 30 goals in 52 games, a “mere” 0.58 goals/game.
Crosby is on pace for an all-time prolific season of scoring goals. That 0.875 goals/game currently ranks as the 55th highest rate of all-time, as per Quanthockey. And when you consider that well over half of the seasons ahead of him were from the years prior to 1925 when seasons were less than 40 games and guys would wait to score a goal, smoke a cigarette on the ice, then casually skate back to play a little defense, that makes it all the more impressive. The last player to eclipse this rate over what is close to a full NHL season was some dude named Mario Lemieux in 1995-96, when he scored 0.98 goals/game by getting 69 in 70 games.
If you refine Quanthockey’s list by active players, Crosby stands alone at the top, well clear of Alexander Ovechkin in 2nd place with 0.79 goals/game (65 in 82) back in 2007-08. And, oh yeah, Crosby sits in 3rd place with that aforementioned 2010-11 abbreviated season when he had 32 goals in 41 games (66 points total). To me, that was Peak Crosby in terms of offense. Of course, Crosby has more peaks than the Andes Mountains, but he was a force on the ice that year and absolutely dominant.
No one likes to talk about these types of things, though, for fear of jinxing him. We all know that one stray shoulder or elbow to the ol’ cranium can ruin his season (or career). But what he’s doing this year is legendary. I’m going to enjoy it, no matter if he falls off the goal scoring pace, returns to being a master disher of the puck, or gets hurt. He’s back in full form and he’s special.