It’s scary to think about, but Sidney Crosby has already played 500 career games in the NHL. The Pittsburgh Penguins star center has been called “Sid the Kid” since he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2005. Since entering the league, all Crosby has done is won MVP awards (league and player voted), a points and goals scored title, and, of course, a Stanley Cup in 2009. This guy already has a full resume and is only 26 years old!
However, fans of the Penguins, and hockey in general, have been cheated. They have been cheated out of what might have been with Crosby. The captain of the Penguins himself has not cheated us, but the hockey gods have by plaguing Sid with injury after injury in his young career. Think about what could have happened if those injuries did not occur to Crosby.
In the 2007-08 season, Crosby was the reigning MVP and scoring champion. The Penguins were on a roll and in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Crosby slid into the boards and suffered a high-ankle sprain that kept him out of play for 28 games. Crosby still scored 72 points in the 53 games he played! Imagine what he would have done if he was not injured in that season. The Penguins did eventually go to the Stanley Cup Finals, which he was a dominate force in, but just imagine would might have been in that regular season.
In the 2010-11 season, Crosby was setting a record pace for points. Crosby had a 25 game point streak where he earned 51 points over those 25 games! Nothing could stop “Sir Sidney,” it seemed. Then, in two consecutive games, Crosby received two vicious hits that caused him to have terrible “concussion like symptoms” that caused him to miss 101 games in two seasons. This included one post-season. Imagine what could have been if Crosby played the entire 82 games of the 2010-11 season. Would he have set new career highs in goals, assists and points? Would he have helped the Penguins get further into the playoffs and maybe win another Stanley Cup?
After all of that, Crosby was finally healthy again in the strike-shortened 2012-13 season. He again was playing out of his mind and was leading the league in points once again. Then, as fate would have it, Sid went down with another injury. This time, he took a misfired puck to the face which broke his jaw. At the time of his injury, Crosby had another huge lead in the scoring race. Crosby would miss the remainder of the season, and still just barely lost the scoring title to Martin St. Louis. This injury also caused Crosby to not win the Hart Trophy over Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin. Imagine if that puck missed Crosby. What type records would he have put up in that shortened season?
Going into Saturday’s game against the Boston Bruins, Crosby will be looking to add on to his league leading totals. He seemed to step up his game with other fellow centerman Evgeni Malkin out with an injury. Crosby knows that the team depends on him to put up points, especially in today’s NHL with the salary cap the way it is.
I know this is all “what if,” and that means absolutely nothing in real life. No matter what happened in the past, Crosby is the best player in the NHL, period! However, it still is amazing to think about what may have happened if Crosby would have been healthy. We will just never know, and that is the sad part.