2013-14 Season in Review: Sidney Crosby

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Pens captain added a scoring title, gold medal and probably MVP's to his trophy case this year.

Age: 26 (August 7, 1987)

Contract Status: Signed through 2024-25; $8,700,000 cap hit, full no movement clause

2013-14 Stats

GP

TOI/GP

Goals

Assists

Points

80

21:58

36

68

104

Corsi For %

Corsi Rel %

Quality of Comp. (TOI%)

Zone Start %

PDO

53.4% (4)

6.9% (4)

30.0% (1)

50.4% (8)

100.9% (3)

(Numbers in parentheses indicate descending rank among regular Penguins players at his position, i.e. one of the team's top nine defensemen or top 14 forwards.)

Most frequent forward linemates

Linemates

Goals For%

Corsi For%

Total 5v5 time (1273:08 for Crosby)

Chris Kunitz

65.3%

53.5%

1019:02

Pascal Dupuis

64.1%

56.1%

419:48

Lee Stempniak

70.6%

48.0%

180:47

The torn ACL Dupuis suffered in late December ended up being a blow that the Pittsburgh Penguins would never recover from. Crosby then had a revolving door of ultimately ineffective right-wingers in Brian Gibbons, Lee Stempniak and Beau Bennett- none of which could provide the all-around game and production that Dupuis has in recent years.

Regardless, Crosby’s overall numbers are solid. He and Kunitz form probably the most potent and effective 1-2 punch at even-strength in the entire NHL, being on the positive end of 65.3% of all goals, despite logging a heavy load in terms of the quality of competition faced, as well as increasingly tougher zone starts as Dan Bylsma stopped leaning on Brandon Sutter so much.

MVP

With the ending- just one goal in 13 playoff games- leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, it’s perhaps important to look at the bigger context of Sidney Crosby’s season. As we pointed out: in the 33 months from October 2010 to June 2013, Crosby played a total of 119 hockey games. In the last 8 months, from October 2013 to May 2014, Crosby played 99 games, he led all forwards in the entire league in total ice-time in the regular season.

With that in mind, perhaps it’s easier to understand why Crosby seemed to run out of gas late in the year, maybe there was just nothing in the tank by the time that the Penguins couldn’t solve Henrik Lundqvist and have their season end prematurely.

However, before that, Crosby was brilliant and clearly- EASILY- the best player in hockey. Crosby scored 104 points, the next best in the entire league, Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf, was a distant second with 87. Only two other players were within 20 points of Crosby in the entire league.

The Sochi Olympics were also a major storyline in the season. Crosby played excellently as Canada’s first line center, winning the respect of his coach Mike Babcock, if not filling the scoresheet, with the coach crowing after the gold medal game "Sidney Crosby for me was so dominant these last two games".

That dominance would continue the rest of the regular season, even without Dupuis, with Crosby continuing to produce points and help the injury ravaged Pens win the Metropolitan Division and have the top power play in the league.

Sadly, of course, it looks like all the games caught up to Crosby, who was ineffective at producing goals- though still strong in possession figures – in the playoffs.

The biggest thing Crosby proved might have been his durability. He only missed two games this season, and those were for mainly precautionary reasons at the end of the season. He proved, for the first time since 2009-10 that he could make it through a full season, and after all the head/neck issues, that’s no small feat. Thusly, Crosby will win a scoring title and likely win MVP awards. He didn’t grab the ultimate glory of the Stanley Cup this season, but individually it was a busy and successful year for the best player in the world.

GIF of the Year

Crosbypass_medium

Crosby_medium

Crosby_medium


Preseason expectations

A lot of point production, and hopefully the scoring title and MVP if he could stay healthy enough to win it this season. Also, of course to lead the team in the playoffs and be an engine to help them back to the Cup.

Verdict

It’s difficult to be too critical of a guy who was easily so good in the regular season, and the undeniable MVP for the long six month season that also saw him captain his team to the gold medal in perhaps the most anticipated hockey tournament of all time. Crosby didn’t have enough in the tank to remain brilliant in the NHL playoffs, but at the same time his general manager never found him a replacement first line right winger. And his coach did him no favors playing him for more minutes and far more faceoffs than any other forward in the entire league.

To whom much is given, much is expected. Sidney Crosby delivered as much as he could, for as long as he could. He, like the Penguins, fell short, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort.

***

Feel free to vote in the poll below to grade Sidney Crosby’s season on a scale from 1 to 10. Vote based on your expectations for him coming into the season -- i.e. 1 being "he was incredibly disappointing", 10 being "he was outstanding even beyond my craziest expectations".

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