Sidney Crosby: Ranking His 10 Best Career Moments

Adam DavisCorrespondent INovember 22, 2011

Sidney Crosby: Ranking His 10 Best Career Moments

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    At the tender age of 24, Crosby is already (arguably) the best player in the NHL and is certainly one of the most exciting offensive forwards the league has seen in years. 

    He's accomplished more in his short career than countless players have in lengthy careers. Crosby is an amazing scorer, leader and national hero. 

    He has played six seasons and amassed almost 600 career points, but there is much more to his career than stat totals. 

    Let's explore the greatest moments in Sidney Crosby's career so far. 

10. His Return Against the Islanders

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    Crosby came back from almost an entire year on the injury reserve against the Islanders on Monday night and looked as strong as ever. Not many players can miss that many games and return to destroy an opponent.

    Crosby came back like a boss and helped the Penguins win 5-0 with two goals and two assists. He proved to the world that he's ready to top the stat lists once again and that he hasn't skipped a beat. 

    The kid is back!

9. Winning His First Mark Messier Award

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    Crosby had an amazing awards year in 2007 winning almost every trophy that the NHL gives out. One award, however, stands above the rest. 

    The Mark Messier Leadership Award is given to the player who is recognized as a superior leader within the sport. 

    At the age of 19, Crosby was already known as a gifted scorer and tremendous talent, but his leadership skills are what really shone through. 

    He was now the leader of a team that would soon make back to back Stanley Cup Finals appearances and was only starting to blossom. This award shows the recognition of the amazing leader and player that Crosby had become. 

8. Amazing Rookie Season

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    In Crosby's rookie season of 2005-06, he put up an amazing 102 points and became the youngest player in NHL history to record 100 points in a season. 

    Crosby really established himself as an amazing player and future star in the NHL by really wowing everyone right out of the gate. 

    That campaign was not as amazing as Teemu Selanne's rookie year of 132 points, but Crosby's first year is definitely incredible. 

7. Reaching the 2008 Stanley Cup Final

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    Crosby only played 53 regular season games, but once the Penguins made the playoffs, he really stepped up his game.

    Crosby helped lead the Pens to the finals and was tied for the league lead in playoff points with Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg with 27. If Pittsburgh had managed to win in six games instead of Detroit, Crosby would have won the Conn Smythe Trophy instead of Zetterberg.

    Although the six-game defeat was a heartbreak, Crosby was an exceptional leader for the Pens at such a young age, and everyone was certain he could lead Pittsburgh back to the finals. 

6. His First NHL Fight

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    What makes this fight more than an everyday tussle in the NHL is: a) the fact that it's Crosby, b) the fact that he bloodied Andrew Ference, someone who is not a pushover, and c) the fact that it's Crosby. 

    It's always exciting when a fight breaks out in a hockey game, but when it's one of the polished stars who is known for his scoring and not for his fists, it's that much more entertaining. 

5. The 25 Game Point Streak

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    Crosby was simply on fire during November and December of last year, putting up a 25-game point streak during which he totaled 51 points. 

    He scored 27 goals, including three hat tricks and gave the HBO 24/7 crew some great footage for their special before the Winter Classic. 

    The streak is tied for the 11th longest in NHL history. 

4. The 51 Goal Season

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    In the 2009-10 season, Crosby seriously stepped up his goal production and finished tied for the league lead with 51 goals, a career high. 

    It was the first time that Crosby had even broken 40 goals let alone 50. The season helped prove that Crosby is as much a scoring threat as he is at dishing out sweet passes. It was the first time Crosby won the Rocket Richard Trophy for the league lead in goals.

3. The 120 Point Season

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    Not many players are skilled enough to break 100 points in a season, and there are only a select few who can reach a milestone like 120. 

    Playing in 79 games during the 2006-07 season, Crosby scored 36 goals and added 84 assists to top the NHL in points.

    He won the NHL award triple crown, winning the Art Ross Trophy for most overall points, the Hart Memorial Trophy for regular season MVP and the Lester B. Pearson Trophy for peer-voted regular season MVP. 

    Oh, and did I mention he was a sophomore during that year?

2. The Golden Goal

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    Career-defining moments don't necessarily have to be within the confines of the NHL (although this one did happen in an NHL arena). 

    After fighting to make the gold medal game in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, with the help of a Crosby shootout winner along the way, Canada faced its nemesis, Team USA. 

    And to make matters worse, the game went into overtime. 

    With the gold medal on the line, Crosby crossed over to the goal, picked up a pass from Jarome Iginla and buried the golden goal past USA goalie Ryan Miller. 

    That goal made Crosby a national hero in Canada and put him in the league with other Canadian greats like Paul Henderson, Dale Hawerchuk and Mario Lemieux. 

    At a time when the entire nation has its eyes on you (literally) Crosby didn't disappoint and came up huge to win the gold medal. 

1. Winning the 2009 Stanley Cup

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    It's tough to argue with this one.

    Crosby brought the glory back to Pittsburgh after almost two decades by leading the Penguins to the 2009 Stanley Cup Championship. 

    He totaled 31 points during those playoffs, including two game-winning goals. 

    He became the youngest captain in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup, and he did it with a considerably less talented team than the Penguins had when they won back to back in the early 1990s. 

    To lead a team to the Stanley Cup in only your fourth season is simply incredible and something that many players could only dream of. This was a special moment in Crosby's career, and likely a feeling he will experience again.