Crosby’s 500th Goal Will Be Another Milestone in a Hall of Fame Career

“On behalf of the Pittsburgh Penguins, we are proud to select, from Rimouski, Sidney Crosby.” After years of futility and teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, hearing general manager Craig Patrick say those simple words altered the course of the franchise. The fanbase breathed a sigh of relief as they could sense better days ahead. Crosby’s selection was the culmination of three drafts’ worth of picks that established the organization’s long-time core, many of whom remain to this day.

Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins, Nov. 10, 2018 (Courtesy Canadian Press)

Few people could have predicted how high the Penguins would fly. The addition of Crosby took them to the top of the league, culminating in three Stanley Cups and entrenching the Penguins as one of the best teams of the last decade. He has been the Penguins’ captain, best player, and team ambassador for nearly twenty years. His next goal will be the 500th of his career. Another single, shining moment in the rich tapestry that is his incredible career.

Crosby: The Next One

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby
Pittsburgh Penguin Sidney Crosby (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Crosby’s talent was public from a young age. In midget hockey in his hometown of Cole Harbour, NS, he scored an astonishing 217 points in the regular season and playoffs combined. In the 2002 Air Canada Cup (Canada’s premier midget AAA hockey tournament), he carried his team to a second-place finish while scoring 24 points in seven games. Crosby took his Dartmouth Subways to the gold-medal game, where they lost 6-2. Despite the defeat, Crosby’s team became the first maritime club to reach the gold-medal game in the tournament’s 29-year history. In the process, his masterful performances earned him international attention and a reputation as the player everyone wanted on their team.

Crosby was quickly selected first overall in the 2003 Québec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) Midget Draft by the Rimouski Océanic. His selection paid immediate dividends, as Crosby scored eight points in his first exhibition game. The utter domination earned him the nickname “Darryl” (in reference to Darryl Sittler’s 10-point game against the Boston Bruins in 1976), and he quickly became the best player in the QMJHL and among the best in junior hockey.

Related: Sidney Crosby Has More Than Lived Up to Expectations

In his first junior season, Crosby finished with 54 goals and 81 assists to capture the Jean Béliveau Trophy as QMJHL top scorer. He improved on his statistics the following season, scoring 66 goals and adding 102 assists for 168 points in 62 games. Capturing his second Béliveau Trophy, he led the Océanic to the QMJHL championship and a Memorial Cup appearance. It was these moments that made him the future of the game.

Crosby Immediately Lived Up to Hype

When Crosby was first called up to the Penguins in Oct. 2005, his impact was immediate. In only his third game, in front of the fans at Pittsburgh’s old Civic Arena, he potted his first goal against the Boston Bruins. Longtime Penguins radio play-by-play man Mike Lange uttered his now famous catchphrase that has since accompanied every Crosby goal: “Slap me silly, Sidney!” (from “As Sidney Crosby approaches goal No. 500, legendary broadcaster Mike Lange reflects on his Favorite,” Mike DeFabo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 07/02/22).

Sidney Crosby
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar/File)

In his rookie season, he jostled with the Washington Capitals’ Alexander Ovechkin for the rookie scoring lead, ultimately finishing second to his Russian rival as well as for the Calder Trophy as the league’s best rookie. Crosby nevertheless established new franchise records for assists (63) and points (102) by a rookie, records previously set by the great Mario Lemieux. In his first season, he proved that he could carry the Penguins with ease.

Crosby’s 500th Goal Will Earn a Place with His Other Iconic Tallies

Crosby’s career has been marked by defining goals and defining moments. In 2010, he scored the overtime winner to lift Team Canada to the gold medal on home soil against their longtime rivals the United States. Two years before, he scored the shootout winner in the first-ever NHL Winter Classic in Buffalo, NY. In Nov. 2011, his first goal after a long layoff recovering from a concussion signalled his return and was affectionately dubbed the “Welcome Back, Sid” goal.

The Pittsburgh Penguins publish a video on Crosby’s origin story.

Currently sitting on 499 career goals, his next marker will no doubt be on the list of other notable career moments. His 1000th game, his three Stanley Cups, his two Olympic gold medals, his Hart Trophies, and his role as the saviour of the Penguins franchise. His next goal will do nothing more than show the level of excellence to which he’s been committed since entering the league nearly two decades ago.

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