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Pittsburgh Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby had a quiet start to his season, but a recent surge shows he and the Pens can’t be counted out yet.

By William Chase

Sidney Crosby has been considered one of, if not the greatest player in the world since his rookie season.

Already 10 years into the league, the 28-year-old has a Stanley Cup and gold medals to his name. Yet criticism has followed the former All-Star scoring champion and his Pittsburgh Penguins teammates with high expectations to win another Stanley Cup.

Those years have instead ended in early playoff exits.


Pittsburgh’s off season included acquiring All-Star sniper Phil Kessel. Stanley Cup playoff expectations were the norm yet again, but a disappointing start to the season cost the job of second-year head coach Mike Johnston.

Crosby was not putting up the points fans were accustomed to at the beginning of the season. However similar to the 2008-09 season, the Penguins have fired another coach and seemingly turned a corner with new bench boss Mike Sullivan.

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At 13-9-4 since the coaching change, the Pittsburgh Penguins now finds themselves in the middle of a 7-2 stretch, looking to make up ground in the Metropolitan Division standings.

Though the division seems to have been sewn up by the Washington Capitals, second place is very much up for grabs. The positioning would prove beneficial for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Captain Sidney Crosby has been classic Crosby of late; a huge reason for the Pens’ surge with eight points in his last five games. The Crosby scoring spike seems to correlate, even if only by coincidence, with Johnston’s departure. Yahoo Sports, Puck Daddy’s Ryan Lambert points this out:

-Career average points per game pre-Johnston: 1.4
-Under Johnston: 0.98
-Post-Johnston: 1.36

NHL
NHL

With Patrick Kane leading the NHL with 78 points, a whole 15 over second place Jaime Benn, Sidney Crosby’s name might not pop up in much in chatter among the top point producers.

Yet there he is, claiming a top seven spot despite the slow start.

Though the former Art Ross winner might not bring home any major hardware this season, No. 87 is ninth in the league with 24 goals, on pace to fall right in line with his career averages.

Crosby is on pace for another 80 point season.

His 84 points from last season were good enough to earn 3rd overall in the league, and just three off points champion Jaime Benn. This season, Benn is only 24 points off his entire total from last season and Patrick Kane has already surpassed last year’s numbers.

Sid The Kid had 51 points at last season’s All-Star break.

He was selected for the game but did not participate due to injury and though he did not get elected this year, still had 41 at this year’s mid-way point.

Maybe not glamorous but it’s only 10 off last year’s pace.

Though Crosby’s stats might look pedestrian next to amazing seasons from the likes of Kane and Benn, it’s easy to fail in comparison next to someone else’s career year.

Crosby is still doing just fine in the Steel City, and heating up in time for Pittsburgh as they chase the playoffs.

NEXT: New York Knicks Midseason Report Cards

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William Chase is editor at Elite Sports NY, and has been featured on such prominent websites including Bleacher Report. William is also currently the Marketing & Media Relations Intern for the Augusta GreenJackets.