Tomorrow night, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will play his 1000th NHL game. With three Stanley Cups in the fold along the way and practically every individual accomplishment possible, it’s easy to remember some of the more popular and memorable moments of his career in Pittsburgh.
Here are a handful of our favorite underrated and easier to forget, albeit still great moments.
Shootout Goal vs. Montreal
Why not go all the way back to 2005? A shootout against the Canadiens very early in Crosby’s career. Of course it was against his boyhood team growing up, of course it came down to him with a chance to win it....
.....and win it, did he ever. The backhand shot in his arsenal was as impeccable then as it still is now. Aside from the ridiculous move and shot, the cackling on the broadcast when the puck hits the net and pops the water bottle does me in every time.
Baseball On Ice
The play itself is sublime, Crosby scores in overtime to boost the Penguns to a win on March 29, 2018 against the Devils, one of 18 regular season OT goals on his resume.
Crosby is here for opening day in OT. ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/hy4PUGJn00— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) March 30, 2018
This one might be my favorite — Crosby hits the post on the initial shot but somehow tracks the fluttering puck through mid-air, adjusts his body and smacks it out of mid-air and into the net. Even better than that show of athleticism is the reaction though. Usually Crosby is happy when he scores, but on this individual effort it’s obvious that he has managed to surprise and impress even himself and he can’t hide it.
The Comeback Game
We all remember it. After sitting on the shelf for what felt like a lifetime with a concussion and the issues surrounding it, Crosby’s return to the lineup was naturally a dramatic one in 2011.
The energy was palpable, much like it was when Mario returned to the ice in December 2000. And also, much like Mario, it didn’t take Crosby long to make his presence known.
That “**** YEAH!” was a long time coming and many, many, many months in the making for the Captain. The Islanders never stood a chance.
Splitting the D
This goal on March 21, 2017 might be the perfect Crosby goal. It shows really his dominance since joining the league in 2005 and ability to strike at any moment. The period is almost over as Crosby rushes the puck up the ice. He easily skates past Ryan O’Reilly (no defensive slouch!) and then splits the two Sabres defensemen.
It’s a great play but then it’s elevated to the all-time because of the finish; a classic one-handed backhand shot that Crosby lifts and puts a lot of velocity on to beat a pretty darn good goalie in Robin Lehner past his glove.
Perhaps no one in the league has ever had a backhand shot like Sid, who uses it to be a scoring threat at any time, from any position. He’s at the red line, and if you slip for a second he’s at the blueline and you might not be able to recover. And then the finish is just absurd.
The Ultimate Playmaker
Really, this is just a random play and another one of many assists for Crosby. But there’s a lot of meaning in this December 3, 2011 highlight. Crosby nimbly recovers a puck in the corner, puts it on his backhand and swoops to the middle of the ice. At one point all 5 Carolina defenders are surrounding him on all sides, all within about 15-20 feet and all captivated looking squarely at him. Crosby’s vision and touch is on full display as he snaps a backhand pass right on the tape of...Craig Adams.
Adams is all alone and has an easy finish. Wonderful play by Crosby here, highlighted and framed by the fact this was *two weeks* after his return against the Islanders that held him out of playing for 320 days. This play is unremarkable and forgotten, just another one of the thousands of great passes he already has in his career. But it shows that when Crosby came back, he was ALL the way back.
Revenge In Philadelphia
We’re gonna take it all the way back to 2005 again. The Penguins on the road in the raucous environment in Philadelphia. Crosby gets his teeth knocked in (and out) by Derian Hatcher, a moment that honestly feels like it happened a lifetime ago.
Crosby would get the last laugh, however, as he found himself on a breakaway from the center red line and put one of the first, but certainly not the last daggers in the heart of the Flyers.
There’s been so much history and fun watching Sid over the years, it’s been a remarkable trip so far with more to come. What’s your favorite underrated Crosby moment? Bonus points if it actually fits into the regular season, where we are celebrating his 1,000th game milestone.