Ask any hockey fan and they’ll most likely tell you that the NHL is now in the next Golden Era and there’s no denying that. With the incredible talent of superstars like Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, Auston Matthews and Igor Shesterkin among many more, the league is full of more competitiveness and talent than it has been in years. It’s amazing being able to watch history be made in real time.
But underneath all the young players who have become the faces of the NHL since entering the league and turning into immediate stars are the players who are slowly aging out of the sport despite once being a household name themselves.
One of them you might’ve heard of before is Sidney Crosby.
Crosby, now 35, is playing in his 18th NHL season and is dominating like never before. In nine games played so far (as of Oct. 30), he’s collected four goals and seven assists adding up to a total of 11 points. It’s an impressive start for the center and proof that Crosby can still compete with the young players coming in with insurmountable speed and skill.
Yet, when the conversation begins about who the best player in the NHL is, the names floating around are always the same. McDavid, MacKinnon and Matthews, etc. Gone are the days when Crosby was the unanimous pick for that discussion. But he belongs there even now.
Crosby’s resume is both extensive and one of most impressive in the league to this day. With three Stanley Cups, two Art Ross trophies, two Rocket Richard trophies, three Ted Lindsay awards, two Hart trophies and two Conn Smythe trophies (not to mention his success as an Olympian), it’s hard to deny that Crosby isn’t one of the very best to ever play in the NHL. Since being drafted first overall in 2005, Crosby has reached numerous achievements within his career and continues to stun everyone with how incredible of a player he is. Despite missing ample time during what has been coined as his “prime,” the Nova Scotia native has only gotten better with every passing year.
But most importantly, he’s also nearing yet another milestone: hitting the 900 assist mark.
When Crosby gets that 900th assist, he’ll be the 20th player in NHL history to do so and the only active player to claim the impressive number. When looking back on Sid’s career and everything he’s done for the game, his team and the countless awards that belong to his name, this achievement might seem like a drop in the ocean. Whether or not the milestone is deemed “important” or not, it’s yet another accolade to add to Crosby’s long list.
As arguably the biggest name in this generation’s era of hockey, the Penguins captain has and continues to inspire young players across the globe. With many of those individuals already playing in the NHL alongside the legend himself (just ask Nathan MacKinnon or Jack Hughes to name a few), Crosby is helping shape the game even further while setting a precedent that will be historic for decades after he decides to hang up his skates.
Will we see number 87 retired league-wide like Gretzky’s famous 99? It’s too soon to tell, but one thing remains true. Sidney Crosby should not be left in the shadows of the new superstars and is proving time and time again that he is still one of the best in the NHL.