At the start of the 2015-16 NHL season, Sidney Crosby was not putting up “Sidney Crosby-esque” point totals. Not only that, but he simply was not looking like the NHL’s best player that we’ve taken for granted for years. Something was wrong, really wrong.
The media took Crosby’s slump and made it into one of the most overly dramatic sagas in recent memory. He would say all the right things, but continually was unable to execute at a high level.
For a player who is just two seasons removed of a 104 point season, Crosby’s early season production was not good enough. He counts for $8.7 million against the salary cap, but his play did not merit that number early in the season.
Countless media outlets, bloggers and even Twitter users were calling for general manager Jim Rutherford to trade Crosby while his value was still “high.” Not only did this idea not make any sense, due to his slump and an all time low trade value, but he’s the captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the face of the franchise and debatably the face of the NHL.
Sidney Crosby Saved By Coaching Change
Through the first 28 games, Crosby had scored six goals, 13 assists, for a total of 19 points and had a Corsi-For of 53.8%. 28 games is a very particular number because that’s when the Penguins switched from head coach Mike Johnston to Mike Sullivan.
Under Sullivan, Crosby has played 17 games, has scored nine goals, 11 assists for a total of 20 points and has an absurd Corsi-For of 65.9%. The numbers are even better when you look at Crosby’s last 13 games, he’s scored nine goals, eight assists, for a total of 17 points and has a Corsi-For of 66.5%.
This is the Sidney Crosby that the Penguins fanbase have been anxiously awaiting. The primary reason for looking at the Penguins last 13 games instead of 17, is their first four games under Sullivan were awful. They went 0-4-0 and were outscored 15-4. In other words, the entire team was undergoing a gigantic transition, changing their fundamental system and learning what their new head coach wanted to accomplish.
Last night the Penguins beat their state rival, the Philadelphia Flyers, for the first time in eight games. Their record inside Consol Energy Center against the Flyers remains a poor 13-3-2. However, this was one of the first times that the Penguins showed resilience, determination and never backed down against the Flyers in their new arena.
There was no player more electric than Crosby last night. He was flying all over the ice, making plays and even scored a brilliant goal on Steve Mason.
Alright Sid, we see you. 👀
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 22, 2016
But it wasn’t just Crosby’s goal scoring that led the Penguins to victory, he had quite a few remarkable passes including this one to set up Phil Kessel for a power play goal.
While these were a few examples of Crosby’s brilliance, this as one of his best plays Last night Crosby made an incredible no look, backhand pass through his legs to set up a shot on Steve Mason in the offensive zone.
Last night in their game against the Flyers, Crosby sent a message to the league, he’s broken his slump. Currently he is second on the Penguins in scoring with 39 points in 45 games, right behind fellow superstar Evgeni Malkin who has 44 points in 46 games.
In terms of scoring in the NHL, Malkin sits at 11th in the league while Crosby is up to 24th. For some context, Crosby was 87th in scoring on December 17th.
Ladies and gentlemen, vintage Sidney Crosby is back and he should continue to climb the NHL leaderboard.
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Michael Pityk is an analyst who has written for numerous sites since beginning his professional career. He’s acted as a credentialed member of the media for the Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Pittsburgh Penguins. His work has been featured in Sports Illustrated, The Sports Journal, MSN, PensLabyrinth, Montreal Hockey Talk, ESPN Pittsburgh, The Hockey Writers, Todays SlapShot and The Bleacher Report. He formerly was the editor of Pens Labyrinth and an analyst for The Sports Journal. Michael presently acts as an NHL Analyst for The Hockey Writers