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Sidney Crosby: ‘We were an afterthought, a punchline - and then we weren’t’

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Crosby opens up on his tumultuous 2015-16 season - and how the start made winning the Cup that much sweeter.

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-San Jose Sharks at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when, at the start of the 2015-16 season, a lot of people were questioning whether Sidney Crosby was the best player in the world?

There was talk of Connor McDavid being the next Sidney Crosby, even as the actual Sidney Crosby was still in the midst of his career. Crosby didn’t break out into scoring as quickly as some other players did. In fact, the entire Pittsburgh Penguins team struggled, and it led to a coach getting fired and a team that just couldn't put it together.

In a wonderful piece for Sports Illustrated, Crosby describes the downs his 2015-16 started with. It makes the ups that soon came to follow - including the greatest up of all, winning the Stanley Cup - that much more palpable. They were truly earned.

Which made lifting that Cup above his head once again - for the first time after years of playoff disappointments - that much better.

As Crosby himself put it:

I won’t rest on my laurels. I just can’t. Winning is special. If last season taught me anything, it was how thin the line is between being "washed up" and lifting the Stanley Cup. I don’t want to struggle like that again. That October to December stretch was awful; the lowest point of my career outside of injury. I’ll put in any amount of work I have to so I don’t have to go through that again.

The entire piece is a fantastic look into Crosby's headspace and just what motivates him. Definitely be sure to give it a read.