The Crosby Chronicles: Captain's Passion, Leadership Have Penguins Soaring

Jon Neely@@iamjonneelyAnalyst IApril 17, 2010

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 08:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins prepares for a face-off against the New York Islanders at Mellon Arena on April 8, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Penguins defeated the Islanders 7-3.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Wouldn’t it be amazing; getting up every day and playing, doing something you love to do?

Those are the words that a young Sidney Crosby says in a Tim Horton's commercial airing in Canada during these NHL playoffs. He knew back then what he wanted to do, what he wanted to be when he was older.

Now he's living his dream, and we're all witnesses to the greatness on display almost every time he hits the ice.

It's been quite the life for Crosby since he lifted the Stanley Cup at the end of last season, accomplishing his goal so early in his career. He then went on to score one of the biggest goals in Canadian hockey history at the Winter Olympics to win the Gold Medal.

Add in the Rocket Richard Trophy he won this season with his 51 goals, and a good a chance as any to take home the Hart Trophy as well for the league's MVP, and it's any wonder if his career is already Hall of Fame worthy at just 22 years old.

Coming into the Playoffs this season there were questions surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins and if they had enough to repeat as champs. But if Friday night's game was any indication of what this team, led by their captain, can do in the postseason, the Penguins are in for another Finals appearance in June.

After somewhat surprisingly losing the first game of their opening-round series to the Ottawa Senators, Game Two at home was almost a must-win for the Pens as they looked to get a split before heading to Ottawa.

It didn't help that just 18 seconds into the game Peter Regin ripped a hard shot over the glove of Marc-Andre Fleury.

But that turned out to be the one and only goal the Sens would score, as from then on the game was all about Crosby. At 8:45 of the first period with Sid crashing the net he slapped in a rebound and tied the game 1-1.

He was buzzing around the ice, battling hard in the corners, and seemingly on the ice every other shift. It was an impressive display, but it was in the third that Crosby really took his game, and the game, to a whole new level.

With the game still tied and the clock ticking down the Senators had a flurry of chances around the net before squeaking a shot past the Penguins net-minder. The puck was inches from crossing the line before out of nowhere came a flash of black, diving across the crease and whacking the puck away from harm.

It was a Superman-type play, and the kind that you put a mark on as extremely important to how the game will end up. Little did we know at that point that Crosby had much more in store.

With less than five minutes remaining in the game Crosby gained control of the puck behind the net and began swinging out in front, Jason Spezza on his back. Instead of sending a pass out to his defense, he swung back around the net, and then back again, repeating the move multiple times, all the while Spezza hung on for the ride, unable to strip the puck from the determined Crosby.

He eventually came out from behind the net and as he got tripped up, from his knees, he sent a pass out to Kris Letang who fired it into the net.

Crosby was awarded the assist on the play, but everyone who saw it happened knew that the goal, and the game, belonged to Crosby.

After the game some were calling it the Sidney Crosby hat trick; scoring a goal, adding an assist, and saving a goal.

It sounds cheesy now, but you never know, it might just stick.

He simply willed his team to victory, putting them on his back and doing everything in his power, and then some, to win the game and tie the series at one. It hasn't been the start to defending their championship they had hoped for, but with Crosby playing the way he is it just feels as if they're destined to return to the Finals for the third consecutive season.

In that Tim Horton's commercial Crosby serves up another gem for how his game looks right now. 

It's a passion that brings us all together.

It's Crosby's passion that is bringing his team together; we're just lucky enough to witness it on display.


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