The year was remarkable no less for Crosby

2016: Another year that saw Sidney Crosby rule the sport of hockey

The year was remarkable no less for Crosby, who has accumulated 60 goals and 125 points across 103 games.

Statistically speaking, 2016 was not the most dominant calendar year in Sidney Crosby’s storied career.

There was 2010, in which Crosby scored the “golden goal” for Team Canada at the Vancouver Olympics and amassed an astounding 60 goals and 126 points in 80 regular season games. There was also 2009 when the Pittsburgh Penguins captain posted 41 goals and 101 points in 80 games, before tallying another 15 goals and 31 points in the playoffs en route to his first Stanley Cup.

In fact, on a points per-game basis (regular season only), 2016 wasn’t even in Crosby’s top-five:

2010: 1.58

2006: 1.51 (37 goals, 118 points in 78 games)

2013: 1.48 (37, 114 in 77)

2007: 1.37 (35, 114 in 83)

2008: 1.35 (23, 70 in 52)

The year was remarkable no less for Crosby, who has accumulated 60 goals and 125 points across 103 games (entering Tuesday’s play) spanning the regular season and playoffs as well as the recently revived World Cup of Hockey.

At every point Crosby was just another a notch or two better than the rest, his place atop the sport cemented once more.

Second half

Crosby was actually lost in the waning months of 2015.

He got off to the worst start of his NHL career, point-less in the first five games of the regular season and held without a point in eight of the first nine. Never before had the Cole Harbour, N.S., native had so few points (five) in the season’s first month. Even the puck possession numbers looked askew.

For one of those rare times in his hockey life, Crosby was struggling to make a difference and unable to find answers.

“You’d go through times where it wouldn’t go in and that’s one thing, but I hadn’t really gone through something where you weren’t really feeling like you had much of an impact on the game,” said Crosby in late March.

By late November he was back and come the start of 2016, he was blowing past all comers.

He led the league with 27 goals and 58 points in 44 games from Jan. 1 until the end of the regular season, his 45 even-strength points nine up on the next closest challenger.

Stanley Cup Playoffs

Crosby didn’t stop when the playoffs began.

He scored a goal and set up two others in Game 1 against the New York Rangers, adding five more points (for eight total) in a clinical first round win. Quieter, at least in terms of tangible production against the Capitals in the second round — underlying numbers remained strong — Crosby surged again in the Eastern Conference final against Tampa.

Set up nicely in the slot by Bryan Rust, Crosby scored the overtime winner from one knee in Game 2, following that up with two more game-winning goals in Games 3 and 6. Even-strength shot attempts were 117-85 for Pittsburgh when he was on the ice against the Lightning (58 per cent possession); scoring chances one-sided at 50-33.

In the Stanley Cup final San Jose’s Crosby containment tool, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, actually managed to hold his own, but the Penguins captain still made a huge dent on the series. He set up goals in Games 1 and 2, the latter a perfectly executed design of Conor Sheary’s game-winner.

If not finding the scoreboard, Crosby was still a wrecking ball in a Game 5 loss (shot attempts were 25-8) and then in Game 6 he set up Letang’s go-ahead goal and game-winner as well as well as Patric Hornqvist’s empty-net Cup clincher.

Pittsburgh had an incredible 67 per cent of even-strength scoring chances when Crosby was on the ice in the final, also winning the possession battle handily.

Crosby drew his second Stanley Cup for those efforts and first Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP.

World Cup

Crosby once again asserted himself as better than the rest at the (near) best-on-best of the World Cup.

Team Canada’s captain led the tourney with three goals and 10 points in six games, the engine of a mostly unstoppable top line that also included Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. He was rightly named tournament MVP. Perhaps most memorable though was the reverence he instilled from even the top players in the sport.

“He really is the best player in the world,” Logan Couture said at the time. “It’s fun just to be able to watch him every day.”

First half

A concussion forced Crosby to start his season almost two weeks late. It didn’t matter. He scored in each of his first three games, four of the first five, and 11 of the first 17. The 29-year-old raced to 20 goals faster than he ever had before, needing just 22 games to do so.

Crosby entered Tuesday’s game against New Jersey with 38 points in 29 games, including an NHL-leading 24 goals which had him on pace to break the career-high 51 goals he managed in 2009-10. All this despite the late start. He tops the league with a bullet in regular season goals (51) and points (96) since Jan. 1.

“He might be at the highest level he’s ever been,” Mike Babcock, the head coach of the Maple Leafs and Team Canada, said recently.

 

 

Jonas Siegel, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Snow prayers answered as Manning Park ski hill opens Friday

Ski hill will be open seven days a week starting Dec. 14, and cross-country trails as well

Fleeing driver picks fight with Chilliwack police dog, loses

Good dog ‘Griff’ also locates large quantity of what police believe to be crystal meth in Abbotsford

UPDATE: Heavy rainfall, strong winds in forecast for Lower Mainland

Heavy rains, snow expected till Friday morning

DFO confirms that investigation of fish habitat destruction in the Fraser River is underway

Conservation and Protection reps ordered Herrling and Carey Island owners to take corrective action

Hope rescue crew remove man pinned in semi-truck on Highway 3

Tuesday night rescue was swift, with the man removed safely from the truck within an hour and a half

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

Vancouver police make arrest in hit and run that killed skateboarder

Charges stem from a two-year investigation into the April 17 death of 30-year-old Ryan Barron

5 to start your day

Powerful winds anticipated in Lower Mainland, Chilliwack company facing charges in chicken abuse case and more

Increase in downed power lines in B.C., how to stay safe

BC Hydro study finds a third of British Columbians may be putting themselves at risk

Woman dies after being struck by bus in Burnaby

RCMP officers from the traffic and collision teams are investigating

Judge sets bail at $2.5 million in 1987 slaying of B.C. couple

William Talbott II, 55, is charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder

EU leaders vow to press on with ‘no-deal’ Brexit plans

European Union leaders have offered Theresa May sympathy but no promises, as the British prime minister seeks a lifeline.

Powerful winds set to hit Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island

The agency says winds in coastal areas will strengthen up to 70 kilometres an hour before the front moves inland and gusts reach 90 kilometres an hour.

Mandatory victim surcharge cruel and unusual punishment, top court rules

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government made the charges mandatory in 2013.

Most Read