Sidney Crosby

Scores

Boston 4
Carolina 1 (Recap)

Anaheim 1
Pittsburgh 3 (Recap)

Calgary 5
Winnipeg 4 (SO) (Recap)

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Notable Numbers

* Brian Gibbons got called up for his first NHL game, and it kinda went okay. He put home a great Evgeni Malkin pass, and assisted on another goal for one and one. Way to go, new guy. Quality point-per-game start.

* A couple other young guys had good nights too – Carl Soderberg of the Bruins and TJ Brodie of the Flames both had one and one as well.

* There was some quality goaltending on Monday – Tuukka Rask stopped 23 of 24 shots, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 of 28 shots. Two goalies everyone thinks are on par there, I’m sure.

* The Jets outshot the Flames 47 to 33. With all due respect, most teams kinda expect to put up those totals when playing either the Flames or the Jets. (Okay, that wasn’t super respectful.)

* Evgeni Malkin had an assist, which gives him 17 in 21 games. His goal total – three – may not be impressive, but the huge secret is that he might still be useful. MAYBE.

* The Boston Bruins have killed off 32 consecutive penalties. My word.

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What Happened

Nobody leaves empty-handed

Both the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets probably looked at the schedule and thought…”can’t lose tonight.” Neither team really did – they both got at least a point – but it took a goal with 5.6 seconds left from Brian Little for that to happen. Let’s watch it, shall we?

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Sidney Crosby caught Alex Steen in points

What an odd headline, but here we are. The Penguins beat the Ducks 3-1, and Crosby’s contribution – one goal – moved him back into a tie for the league lead in points with Alex Steen. Man that feels weird to write.

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On-ice plagiarism

The Flames beat the Jets in a shootout last night, but Blake Wheeler scored using the Patrick Kane “start out with some speed, hit the brakes a ridiculous amount after that” move, which is always fun. I think you’ll like it:

I’ve written about the purpose of the shooter’s change of pace before, here.

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An Opinion

One of my favorite things about the immeasurable talent of Sidney Crosby is that analysts, myself included, struggle to explain why he outperforms his peers by so much. We wish we could, but it’s like wishing you can do what Matt Damon’s character in Good Will Hunting does with numbers – it’s not really an attainable thing if you aren’t born with it.

Is Crosby the fastest? He is not.

Hardest shot? No.

Best dangles? No?

Best defensively? No.

…Draft of NHL players with everyone in a pool tomorrow? Every GM takes him first.

Last night Pierre McGuire did what a million other analysts have done in the past (unfortunately I can’t find that specific call): he took Crosby’s goal and said stuff about it like he has a clue why Sid piles up points. Frankly, it’s really tough to explain his talent.

Regardless of what it is, he just keeps grabbin’ those numbers.

He’s amazing at picking up bad passes, he has a great backhand, he has amazing vision…but mostly I guess he just has exceptional hockey sense. Last night’s goal may not have represented that at all, but shlubs like me can’t see it like he can anyway, so it’s tough to tell which ones set him apart from the others. And there’s nothing wrong with admitting that, I don’t think.

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Other News

* With Ilya Bryzgalov back in the NHL, we’re going to get fun quotes again. That’s just part of the deal. Our own Katie Flynn highlighted this last night in this post about Bryz’s comments:

When a reporter asked if he saw the Oilers as a second chance, Bryzgalov said “What do you mean?” followed by “I never lost my first chance, you know.” While Bryzgalov didn’t take the buyout personally or take it to mean he had lost his job, he took it as a business decision.

Bryzgalov isn’t bothered by the buyout and explained “Not at all. You know, it’s out of my control. I can’t do anything about it. It’s just like, ‘Ok, guys. If you decide… to make that move, I’ve just got to accept it and move on.’”

There’s more in that post, so check it out. Bryz the Best, as always.

* Brad Marchand isn’t exactly killing it this year – seven points, 20 games:

* And finally, if this wasn’t clear already, Roberto Luongo “gets it.” How about these two tweets:

Playing Tim Thomas tomorrow night…

…And considering the time he was ohhh sooo close to getting traded to Toronto:

What a beauty.

Comments (5)

  1. Crosby always reminds me of the saying:

    “You have to be lucky to be good, and you have to be good to be lucky”.

  2. One of the essays in “The Greatest Hockey Stories Ever Told” (http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Hockey-Stories-Ever-Told/dp/1592289053/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384890346&sr=8-1) is about Gretzky (and there’s another great one about Jean Beliveau), and a lot of what the writer says about Gretzky’s level of relative skill — and the (lack of obvious) reason for it — is similar to what you’re saying about Crosby here. It’s not so much about any particularly evident superhuman ability, but the ability to glance at an on-ice situation and just *know* how things are going to progress, who’s going to be where, where’s the seam, and make the right decision all in a fraction of an instant are pretty much what both Crosby and Gretzky have/had in common.

    • That was a great essay. Another good read if you are into that kind of thing is this New Yorker article http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1999/08/02/1999_08_02_057_TNY_LIBRY_000018760?currentPage=3 which is primarily about a brain surgeon but he references other “physical geniuses” like Yo Yo Ma, Tony Gwynn, and some great comments on Gretzky like this:
      “What sets physical geniuses apart from other people, then, is not merely being able to do something but knowing what to do—their capacity to pick up on subtle patterns that others generally miss. This is what we mean when we say that great athletes have a “feel” for the game, or that they “see” the court or the field or the ice in a special way. Wayne Gretzky, in a 1981 game against the St. Louis Blues, stood behind the St. Louis goal, laid the puck across the blade of his stick, then bounced it off the back of the goalie in front of him and into the net. Gretzky’s genius at that moment lay in seeing a scoring possibility where no one had seen one before. “People talk about skating, puck-handling, and shooting,” Gretzky told an interviewer some years later, “but the whole sport is angles and caroms, forgetting the straight direction the puck is going, calculating where it will be diverted, factoring in all the interruptions.” “

  3. Crosby might not be fastest skater or hardest shooter, but can we at least give him the Backhand SHelf award for “best Backhand in the NHL”? Or is that someone else?

  4. Crosby has no weakness. From hockey sense, to vision, to size, speed, hands, consistent compete level, he has everything. He may not be the best at any single thing, except may be his vision at high speed.

    But there are 2 things that shows why he is the best. Remember when he wasn’t good at face-offs ( like most newcomers in this league ) ? He worked hard at it, and became one of the good centers in the face-off circle. And remember when he was mostly a playmaker, but wasn’t playing with a sniper ( à la Neal or Carter ) ? He worked at becoming a better goal scorer, and won a Rocket Richard. He just work until he gets things done. Look at him during a shootout. He doesn’t dazzle with great move. He often comes in, slows a bit, look at the holes, and shoot in an opening. He is just trying to be efficient. He make the right decision almost all the time. I think his success comes from being a student of the game ( what works for him, with his skillset ) and with hardwork.

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