TIOPS MONDAY BUZZ COLUMN
Sidney Crosby is old.
That’s one of the pieces of in-depth analysis to explain Sidney Crosby having three points in his first eight games.
And he has had seven scoreless games.
Crosby turned 28 in August and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that big time hockey scorers tend to cool off in their late 20s. So, that’s not an outrageous suggestion.
But might it be a little too early to panic?
And there’s panic out there, don’t kid yourself.
We’re 10 games into the NHL season. That’s the equivalent of the end of the first quarter of the second game of an NFL season.
It might help to take a look around the league and see how some of the other top scorers are doing.
Rick Nash of the Rangers, who scored 42 goals last season has one goal and two assists in 10 games.
How about Jakub Voracek of the Flyers? He finished fourth in scoring last season with 81 points. He also was second in assists with 59. In seven games he has no goals and three assists.
Then there’s Ryan Getzlaf of Anaheim. He had 45 assists last season. So far this season he has no goals and one assist in seven games.
Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks? He scored his first goal Saturday night. He has three assists in eight games. Last season Toews scored 28 goals, same as Crosby.
Jaromir Jagr is 16 years older than Crosby and he has scored six goals in eight games.
Of course Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin have started slower than everybody expected and wanted. But both have three goals, which puts them on pace to score 30. Kessel had 25 last season, Malkin had 28.
And, by the way, the Penguins have won four of their last five games. It hasn’t been pretty and it hasn’t been very much fun, but a win is a win, right?
I have to say that I expected a lot more entertainment when the Penguins picked up Kessel, but, so far, he just doesn’t seem to fit well with Crosby.
Maybe Crosby spent too much time deferring to Kessel when they were linemates.
And how can a power play with three of the highest scoring players in NHL history on it have only one 5 v 4 goal in eight games?
Call me crazy, but I’d rather be trying to figure out how to fix the Penguins’ defense after a few 6-5 losses. I want to be entertained.
But, maybe the Penguins, the media and the fans should look at the slow start by the Big Three as good news.
Everybody knows those guys are going to be among the top scorers in the league and maybe the focus should be on the fact that they’ve given up a total of four goals in their four wins.
And maybe so many top scorers getting off to slow starts says something about the NHL’s annual stupidity.
Remember, last year’s scoring leader had the lowest point total -87-since 1967 B.C. (Before curved sticks.)
The Penguins and Capitals are on National TV Wednesday night. Four of the top scoring players of the last 10 years will be on the ice. I’ll take a 6-5 final and I don’t care who wins.
— Determining who’s number two and who’s number three at quarterback is not something an NFL team should need or want to be dealing with at Halloween, but the Steelers’ quarterback pecking order was clarified Sunday in Kansas City.
Landry Jones is a solid number two.
He played just well enough to lose against the Chiefs, but that’s what should be expected from a guy making his first NFL start.
Jones was 16-29 for 209 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. The two picks played a major role in the loss.
But he looked like Dan Marino compared to Vick, who played like a guy who should never take another snap in the NFL.
Unlike Vick, Jones was actually, every once in a while, able to throw a pass downfield that wasn’t almost intercepted. He may not be the Steelers quarterback of the future but he definitely made Vick an unfortunate part of the Steelers’ past.
— The Steelers definitely need Ben Roethlisberger Sunday against the Bengals. The defense proved that as much as Landry Jones. Alex Smith was playing without his best receiver and his stud running back. The Chiefs were 1-5.
— It was one of those games when the defense had to win it. Instead, it gave up 110 yards to a backup running back and three pass plays longer than 25 yards.
— The Bengals are a good bet to drop 30 on the Steelers but they also might be a tad overrated. They’re 6-0, but only one of their wins was over a good team. They beat Seattle 27-24. Their other wins have been against, the Raiders, Chargers, Ravens, Chiefs and Bills.
– Passing yards ain’t what they used to be. Philip Rivers, who threw for 365 against the Steelers, has thrown for 1300 yards in his last three games, and the Chargers have lost them all.Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"