The Pittsburgh Penguins issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon that addressed a wrist injury that Sidney Crosby suffered at some point during the season. The Penguins had a lot of issues during their lackluster performance in the postseason, but many criticized Crosby’s play and wondered if he was banged up. That question has finally been answered.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Columbus Blue Jackets won their first two playoff games in franchise history and, at times, looked like they were going to win the best-of-seven affair against the Penguins. During the series, Crosby was nowhere to be found. If it weren’t for the production of the second line, mainly Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins would have been ousted by a younger, less-skilled Blue Jackets team.
Crosby ended the regular season with 104 points, which led the NHL, and averaged 1.30 points per game. During the postseason, Crosby only scored one goal and added eight assists for a measly nine points in 14 games. When the Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009, Crosby had 31 points, including 15 goals, in 24 playoff games. In order for the Penguins to advance through the postseason, the first piece of the equation is production from No. 87.
When the Penguins were eventually eliminated by the New York Rangers, many fingers were pointed at Crosby as the one to blame for their collapse in the second round. He never looked comfortable on the ice and his ability to protect the puck, which is bar none the best trait of his game, just wasn’t there. Throughout his career, Crosby has shown shades of Wayne Gretzky by setting up shop behind the net and his ability to create plays from below the goal line is unlike anyone else in the league. With a banged up wrist, Crosby’s strength just wasn’t there and his playmaking abilities were halted.
Crosby has taken full accountability for his lack of production in the postseason, and will likely never admit that his wrist was affecting him, but one has to think that it was a big reason for his playoff slump. Crosby is currently considering arthroscopic surgery, but will hopefully be back to full health when next season rolls around.