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Crosby ranked fifth on NHL Network countdown

The Pens’ captain getting respect for how he stacks up against the younger stars of the league

NHL Player Media Tour Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

Sidney Crosby is still stacking up highly among his peers. From NHL Network:

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby ranked fifth on the final episode of NHL Network’s five-part Top 50 Players Right Now series, which ranks the best players in the National Hockey league, last night. Two-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner Crosby finished one spot ahead of 2020-2021 Maurice Richard Trophy winner Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs and one spot behind four-time All-Star Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning. In addition to Crosby, teammate Evgeni Malkin ranked 33rd on Sunday, September 5 on the Top 50 Players Right Now: 40-31 episode, while Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang ranked 42nd and 46th, respectively, on the series’ first episode, Top 50 Players Right Now: 50-41. The Penguins’ four players ranked on the countdown series is tied for the most of any NHL team.

The series counted down the best players based on player performance over the past several seasons, with an emphasis on the 2020-2021 regular season and 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Future performance was also taken into consideration by NHL Network researchers, producers, analysts and hosts when determining the final ranking.

On last night’s countdown, 11-year NHL veteran and NHL Network analyst Mike Johnson said of Crosby, “He’s approaching the Mt. Rushmore – Gretzky, Mario, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe – hello, Sid. You start thinking about the greatest offensive player of all-time: Wayne Gretzky. Incomparable and what Sid has done relative to Wayne, in an era where it’s much more difficult to score. Sixteen straight point/game seasons. …The fact that he keeps on chugging, evolving, proving, figuring out how his game is going, how it’s going to be different, how he will be successful in that new game is amazing. He’s still right there with the very best in the league.”

Pretty cool stuff, respect for Crosby’s skills and abilities is only growing over the years. Hopefully Sid gets to get out there soon enough and see where he matches up against a league that gets younger than him every year after a September wrist surgery. Crosby has been seen skating nearly every day before the team practices and appears to be on the early end of his minimum six week timeline, which could only mean a few games missed.

The Pens’ season starts on October 12th. Nice to see with four players in this year’s top-50 that no other team has more, now Pittsburgh just has to focus on getting Crosby and Evgeni Malkin healthy and hopefully back in the lineup for good.