Sidney Crosby’s goal against the Rangers on March 10 was very significant.
Sure, it knotted the contest at 2-all in the third period of a game the Penguins eventually won in overtime on Colby Armstrong’s goal.
However, it put Crosby in elite company as well. The tally represented his 100th point this season. The Penguins’ 19-year-old became just the fifth player in NHL history to record 100 points in his first two seasons in the league.
Peter Stastny, Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky and Mike Rogers are the others to accomplish that feat. However, Gretzky and Rogers both played in the WHA and weren’t considered rookies when their teams joined the NHL in the 1979-80 season.
Nevertheless, it’s quite an accomplishment for the 19-year-old Crosby, the youngest player to pull off the feat.
“I guess I will think about it more when I am done playing. It’s a nice accomplishment,” he said. “As an offensive player, you want to produce and you want to contribute. So, if you can get 100 points any year, you’re doing a pretty good job of contributing.”
Crosby has certainly contributed for the Penguins since he joined the team last season. He became the youngest player in NHL history to reach the 100-point plateau in a 102-point effort last season.
He’s been at it again in 2006-07. He became the youngest player in league history to reach the 200-point plateau when he scored a goal on March 2 in Carolina at age 19 years, 207 days. Wayne Gretzky is the only player in NHL history to reach 200 career points while still a teenager (age 19 years, 347 days).
“He is so focused on the game and he takes it so seriously, obviously. It’s his life. To see him doing so well in something he really, really cares about and puts a lot of time and effort into is great,” said Armstrong, who is one of Crosby’s best friends. “He’s always thinking about hockey. Definitely, when he’s at the rink, he’s in his own world and loving it. So, to see a guy that is like that and gets to have the success he has and is the kind of player and person he is – it’s great to see. I was so happy for him to get 100 points again, especially with all the pressure he has. He’s a great player.
“It couldn’t happen to a better guy. He does so much for our team and he’s the best player in the world. It’s great to have him here.”
Crosby’s success has helped spearhead the Penguins’ hunt for an Eastern Conference playoff berth. The team finished last in the conference a year ago, but had already earned 32 more points through 71 games this season.
“What Sid does is pretty impressive,” Armstrong said. “He’s having fun. We have a great group of guys and I think that’s what he enjoys more than anything is coming to the rink with everyone. He’s a big part of our team. I know everyone in here is so happy for him.”
Crosby isn’t finished, though. A true competitor, he is never satisfied.
“You don’t want to stop at 100, by any means. You play a full season of 82 games and play your best 82 games to see what happens. But, it’s a nice milestone if you can reach it,” he said. “You go out there and work hard. Sometimes you’re rewarded with points and that’s been the case. But, by no means do you get to a certain number and think you’ve accomplished anything. You play the season out and see where that brings you, but I have been fortunate enough to reach 100 again in my second year. We’ll see what the rest of the games and what next year holds, too.”
This season, though, he’s on a torrid pace. With 31 goals and 75 assists through the 68 games he has played so far this season, he projects to finish with 123 points (36+87) in 79 games played. He missed three games with an injury earlier this season.
Regardless, that’s quite an improvement over a spectacular rookie season. And, Crosby is showing no signs of slowing down as he continues to amaze his teammates.
“I can’t even imagine doing what he does out there,” Armstrong said. “To see some of the things he does or the amount of points he puts up – or not even points, just some of the moves he does when he has the puck – is incredible to watch. Even the little things he does day-to-day in practice are amazing.”