"He's healthy! No he's not! Yes he is! He'll be back tomorrow! He'll be back next week! He'll be back next month! He'll be back for the playoffs! He'll be back next season! He'll never be back!"
That would suffice as an accurate season review for Sidney Crosby, but I suppose I'm required to go into a little more detail after the jump.
Player: Sidney Crosby
Role: El Capitan
Contract Status: UFA in 2013/14
If you had to break down Sid's 2010-11 season it could be categorized into three different sections: The season that was, the turning point and the season that could've been.
The Season That Was
To put it simply: 66 points in 41 games was where Sid stood at the halfway point of the season. Let us not forget the 25-game point streak from Nov. 5 to Dec. 29 in which Sid amassed 50 of his total points, including 16 multi-point outings. Insane. Man, 66 points in 41 games and then...it all came to an end.
The Turning Point
Sid's point streak came to an end against the Islanders on Dec. 29, much to the chagrin of Pens fans who wanted to see him carry it into and beyond the Winter Classic against Washington. Figuratively speaking, this is the point where a lot of people believe Sid's season came to end following a late-game collision with David Steckel. Sid had reportedly not looked the same for the remainder of the game and, as we all saw during the HBO 24/7 series, he sure as hell looked like a guy who just got his bell rung.
Sid did go on to play another game against the Lightning on Jan. 5, the one that would literally be his last of the season. Whether Sid was still feeling the effects of Steckel's hit is uncertain, but Victor Hedman's boarding call was not going to make matters any better.
Shortly after the game, the team released news saying that Sid would miss one week after sustaining a concussion. That word would turn up in practically every Sid-related article for the remainder of the season.
Once we got through the first two weeks, it was more or less the same story rehashed over and over and over again for about the span of two months. By then it was March and the Pens were looking ahead to the postseason with or without their captain. With was preferable, without was understandable.
Regular season days continued to tick down and there was still no sign of whether or not Crosby would be back in the lineup. Losing Evgeni Malkin to an MCL and ACL injury left the team without a top-line scorer, but the team still found ways to win. Win enough, in fact, to potentially take first in the Atlantic Division.
And then it happened. Moses parted the Red Sea, Jesus walked on water and Sid skated for the first time in months. This led to mixed emotions of hope, unsubstantiated rumors and endless feelings of doubt. The season was officially in the books for Sid as he practiced during the playoffs with the Pens, whether many chose to believe it or not. All rumors that he would potentially return for the second round were mercifully shot down by the Lightning after they beat the Pens in seven games.
The Season That Could've Been
Right from the start it looked like the kind of season where Sid was just ready to completely dominate. This was further validated when Sid remained at the top of the scoring list for the three weeks that followed the season-ending game against Tampa.
Simple math would suggest Sid was looking at a 132 point season, based solely on doubling his midseason numbers. Would he have had more? Less? Was his one assist against the Lightning the start of another 25 - 30 or 41 game point streak?
We can ask those questions because we don't know for sure. It's like one big, sick, torturous game Pens fans can play between now and the start of next season. And it's a long offseason this time around friends.
There will forever be an eternal sense of "what if" for Sid's 2010-11 campaign. But there's no question that the best way he can rebound is by completely dominating once the season starts in October.