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Quick thoughts: Could Sidney Crosby catch Mario?

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A look at Sidney Crosby and his progress to catching Mario Lemieux in all-time points scored, plus Shawn Michaels back in Pittsburgh and USA Today links the Pens with Matt Duchene

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of quick thoughts

--Interesting format for Kevin Allen in the USA Today describing 5 potential trades as a dating app type game (gotta be a hit with the millennials), with two Penguins connections as well. Allen identified the Dallas Stars as a good fit for Marc-Andre Fleury, mainly for the reasons we've talked about a million times. However he also had this on the Avalanche 's Matt Duchene

Mini bio: This is a bad break-up because the Avalanche are willing to walk away from a 26-year-old forward with a beautiful scoring touch. He’s on his way to his fourth consecutive season of 20 or more goals.

Likes: The reality Duchene has lived up to the romance of his ability. He can skate and score. He has delivered throughout his young career.

Dislikes: Most of the contenders, particularly the Penguins, don’t have the cap space necessary to accommodate Duchene’s $6 million salary. Plus, there is wonder why the Avs are willing to trade such a young, accomplished player.

Perfect match: Pittsburgh Penguins

Why we’re a great match: Duchene can play wing or center, and he might be a perfect complement for Crosby.

Penguins’ love note: Nothing says we love you more than giving you an opportunity to play with the NHL’s top player. Playing with Crosby will be a life-altering experience. It's said we don’t have the cap space to make this trade work. But check out general manager Jim Rutherford’s history. Somehow he always figures out ways to make deals happen. Young defenseman Derrick Pouliot could entice Colorado.

A lot of love here for all of this. Again, I don't really know if there's any fire to go along with some smoke from these national sources as far as the possible drawing power of Pouliot. At 22 and a third year pro, the former high pick is far from established in the NHL and far from a sure-thing to ever be established. As of now he's got a long way to go.

We really don't see the salary cap being a huge hindrance, include Carl Hagelin (a useful player but one that carries a $4.0 million hit) and if a Fleury-for-Niemi trade goes through and that's another $1.25 million saved, which would practically be enough to cover Duchene's contract right there.

Is all of that likely? Still probably no, Colorado would be pretty crazy to take Pouliot, Hagelin and this year's first round pick for a in-his-prime stud like Duchene. They would not do something like that....would they?

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Nice to see Shawn Michaels back in Pittsburgh for the charity beard shaving event last night with his good buddy and former Steeler Brett Keisel.

Michaels was a star in the recently released movie "The Resurrection of Gavin Stone", but it's the line that shares his famous HBK moniker that could use a resurrection as well. We all know that this season they haven't done much together, but for all the struggles (and remember Nick Bonino didn't score that much his first 50-60 games last year either) all would be forgotten and forgiven with another monster playoff.

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As Sidney Crosby approaches 1,000 career points, an eye turns to history. One question I had - could he catch Mario Lemieux and take the Penguins team record of points?

Lemieux set the franchise bar at 1,723 points -- all the more remarkable considering his career was but 915 regular season games. Crosby, even with all his injuries, is suiting up for career game 756 tonight. Which means, Crosby is less than two full seasons away from passing Lemieux in all-time games played, pretty tough to believe.

(As a side-note, Sid has long passed Mario in career NHL playoff games at 124-and-counting vs. 107)

Anyways, back to the points. Crosby is currently 725 behind Lemieux. At Crosby's rate of scoring this season (1.25) which is slightly lower than his career average (1.32) it would take him just over 7 seasons to score 725 more points. But that also means missing zero games and having a consistent 1.25 points/game. Which would mean sometime in the 2022-23 season it would happen.

Of course, Crosby won't play every game and as he ages he's likely to experience some drop-off in point production. Though being an elite generational talent and a very good playmaker, if the NHL were to emphasize power plays, it might not be as much of a drop-off as one thinks.

Crosby's current contract runs through the 2024-25 season. No one knows what the future holds (especially for a player with a history of head injuries) but that's 8 more seasons after this one. On his current pace, he'll go from 725 behind Mario to 690 by the end of this season.

690 points in 8 seasons (86.25) is doable, though in his 30's, an uphill battle.

It would mean scoring 1.25 points/game, playing an average of 70 games a season to come up with a nice round even 700 more points (to add to a projected 1,033 after this season). That gets him there.

Seems unlikely right now, but if Crosby finishes his contract and avoids major injury, he just may have a shot to set the Penguins all-time scoring record (in a lot more games than Mario).