Sidney Crosby showing signs of 2010-2011 Sidney Crosby
Starting with the World Cup, what the hockey world is seeing from Sidney Crosby right now is the Sidney Crosby 2010-2011 season version of Crosby when the Penguins captain was on just another level and playing at the highest level of his career in a season that was unfortunately cut short due to a concussion.
Crosby averaged a career high 1.61 points per game in 41 games but it was his goal scoring prowess that had Crosby putting on an assault on the rest of the NHL. Crosby averaged 0.78 goals per game in 10-11 and he’s never been able to regain that type of goal scoring ability that had him looking like a 60 goal a season player.
Crosby’s goals per game over the previous five seasons dropped to 0.36, 0.42, 0.45, 0.36, 0.45 and he hasn’t topped more than 36 goals in a season since 2009-2010.
That elite goal scoring ability Crosby showed in 2010-2011 has looked to be nothing more than a mirage until now where Crosby has exploded with 8 goals in his first six games.
And it’s not just that the puck is going into the net for him at a 1.33 G/G rate, which obviously isn’t sustainable. While just a six game sample, the velocity, and confidence Crosby has in his shot looks back on that 10-11 season elite level and the quickness he’s getting off his shot in high danger areas has been a minor tweak Crosby has made and it’s paying dividends. That’s quite the scary combination for the rest of the league when you combine Crosby’s 200 ft game has never been better.
On the Hagelin – Crosby – Hornqvist Line & Trickle Down Effect
The HBK line was a major reason the Penguins won the Stanley Cup last post-season but more likely than not, it was just a fad that doesn’t have long-term success.
At some point the best direction for the Penguins was always going to be Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel playing with one of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
We’re seeing a trickle down effect now with the Penguins starting to find their best lines 1-4.
The Hagelin – Crosby – Hornqvist line has great potential to stick this season.
In the past there’s been some rumblings that Sidney Crosby didn’t like to play with Patric Hornqvist and was sometimes frustrated with Hornqvist dumping the puck in on clear opportunities where an offensive zone entry was there.
The two have butted heads at times. However, winning cures all and the two are becoming excellent fits together in the space Hornqvist creates in around the net and his ability to win puck battles.
Hornqvist is also much improved in being able to get the puck to Crosby in the neutral zone with speed that was often a staple of the Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis line when they were at their best years ago.
Meanwhile, Hagelin has added a really interesting dynamic to the line.
His game in particular needed jump started and the move to Crosby’s line has done it.
When the Penguins had internal discussions last December about acquiring Hagelin when Anaheim made it known around the league they were trying to move his salary, it wasn’t just the speed factor for Hagelin that drew the Penguins to Hagelin.
Some in the organization also saw him as a Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"