Related Press Release: CROSBY YOUNGEST TO SCORE 100; BREAKS LEMIEUX’S ROOKIE RECORD
At 18, Sidney Crosby is old enough to compose a high school senior essay.
Instead, he’s re-writing the NHL record books.
Pittsburgh’s super rookie waved his magic wand three times Monday night at Mellon Arena in the Penguins’ 6-1 rout of the Islanders. Crosby racked up three assists to become the youngest player in NHL history to reach 100 points.
“It’s nice,” he said. “Since there was a possibility and it was talked about – it’s nice to get it and have the weight off my shoulders.”
Crosby’s three assists boosted his season totals to 38 goals, 62 assists and 100 points. That put him at the century mark at 18 years, 235 days – which topped Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk, who reached 100 points at the age of 18 years, 354 days in the 1981-82 season with the Winnipeg Jets.
“It was pretty hard not to think about it when you’re being asked that question every day. I am not going to complain. It’s nice to get it,” Crosby said. “It’s something that’s been building up for a long time. It’s something that I wanted to accomplish, but at the same time, I knew that thinking about it or getting caught up in it was probably going to hurt my focus more than help it. I just tried to go out there and have fun with it. It’s something I was well-aware of.”
Crosby has scored 20 points (6+14) in his last nine games to reach triple digits.
“Everybody has been buzzing about it lately once he got in reach,” said fellow rookie and linemate Colby Armstrong. “It’s something that I didn’t have any doubts about it. If he wanted to do it, he could do it. It’s something you don’t like to talk about and you want to keep it off your mind as much as possible so you’re not forcing things, but he does that pretty well as you can tell.
“He did a great job, stayed focused and just played his game and made great things happen [Monday night]. That’s the story of his year. Personally, for him – what a year,” he continued. “I don’t know, 100 points as an 18-year-old – I was still playing junior [hockey] and battling out 72 games and had like 70 points or something, which is not that great.
“This kid is doing something that not too many people could even imagine or dream of.”
Crosby’s strong late-season surge gave him a shot at surpassing Hawerchuk for most points scored by an 18-year-old. Hawerchuk had 103 points his rookie year. The Penguins have one more game remaining – Tuesday in Toronto.
In addition, Crosby needs just one more point to surpass Mario Lemieux for the Penguins’ rookie scoring record. A 19-year-old Lemieux had exactly 100 points in his rookie season in 1984-85.
“That’s a pretty special feat [to tie Lemieux], obviously,” Crosby said. “To be mentioned in the same breath as him is an honor. It’s a nice accomplishment.”
Crosby set up Andy Hilbert for a goal 1:04 into the contest. Crosby added point No. 2 with a nifty pass to Tomas Surovy for a goal with 4:41 left in the second period. It took Crosby 25 more seconds to reach 100 points when he fed Ryan Malone a cross-ice pass for a power-play goal.
“If it would have been into an empty net, I wouldn’t have complained,” Crosby said. “It’s nice to get it either way.”
Crosby set up Malone for a quality scoring chance earlier in the period, but goaltender Garth Snow made an acrobatic save. Malone was happy to get another chance – and he made it count.
“Earlier in the period, he gave me a great back-hand pass that I probably should have buried, but I didn’t. So, I said I owed him one there,” Malone said with a laugh. “I’ll take that every time. It was nice to give Sid a nice big hug after that.”
The play brought the sold-out Mellon Arena crowd of 17,084 to their feet. The fans gave a lengthy raucous cheer and waved white T-shirts in celebration.
“The support has been there throughout the whole year and the energy has always been great, especially [Monday] being the last game,” Crosby said. “I think we all tried to feed off it. I can’t say enough about what they’ve done. It was really nice to get this win for them.”
Penguins coach Michel Therrien knew the young superstar was determined to finish the season intensely.
“He played [Monday] the same way he always plays. He played hard and with passion. For me, he always plays that way,” Therrien said. When he started to get around 80 points, I really started to believe he could do it. We didn’t want to change anything. The guys just played the game and the guys know good things will happen if we play the way we’re supposed to be playing. We did it with the team concept.
“He made some terrific plays this season for his teammates and scored some terrific goals. He deserves a lot of credit,” he continued. “It’s fun to be a part of this. What an accomplishment for that young man.”