Last night’s game against the Atlanta Thrashers just showed why Sidney Crosby is the best offensive player in the game. Crosby recorded his second hat trick in as many home games to provide all the offense the Pens would need to beat an Atlanta team that was riding a six game winning streak.
And it’s not just that Crosby is scoring goals, it’s how he is:
-The first one was a brilliant display of patience as Crosby fought a rolling puck and waited for the longest instant possible before chipping it up and over goalie Ondrej Pavalec. It didn’t look unlike a chip shot Tiger Woods may attempt out on the golf course.
-Crosby’s second goal of the evening owes a lot of credit to a heads up play by Arron Asham. The Pens were changing players and Crosby got on the ice, behind the Atlanta defense that was setup in the Pittsburgh zone. But Asham collected the puck and make a beauty of a pass to Crosby who was all alone on the breakaway. Crosby made no mistake with a deke that froze Pavalec, moved to his backhand which made the goalie slide and open up a space between the legs for the puck to slip in.
-The finale showed off Crosby’s extreme hand-eye coordination. Defenseman Brooks Orpik shot a puck that was going well wide of the net. Crosby, positioned near the front of the net stuck his stick out, and on his backhand, was able to deflect Orpik’s shot across his body and straight into the net. Unless you’ve played some hockey it’s about impossible to even describe the degree of difficulty in doing that. Was there some luck involved? Sure. But Crosby scores way too many tipped goals for it to be all attributed to just getting lucky.
After that effort, Crosby is now tied with Tampa’s Steven Stamkos for the most goals in the league this season with 21. Crosby now has 44 points on the year, which is four more than Stamkos and 11 better than the closest player after that, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin.
The points are being earned too- Crosby leads the league with 30 even-strength points, Stamkos is second with just 20. That raw stat alone may not portray just how much of an edge that is: in just 27 games Sidney Crosby has at least 10 points on every single NHL player at even strength.
Most of this has been done while playing with linemates who have a total of 26 points in Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz. For comparison, Tampa’s Martin St. Louis has 31 points by himself and Ovechkin’s running buddies Alex Semin and Nicklas Backstrom are each over the 30-point mark. Crosby’s blowing the doors off everyone in scoring, and unlike his biggest rivals, he does not have all-star caliber linemates.
At this point you have to wonder if they have it that way just to be fair to the rest of the league.