|Pittsburgh Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, right, and player Sidney Crosby show Crosby's new sweater with the "C", designating him the team captain at a news conference in Pittsburgh, Thursday, May 31, 2007. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) |
They grow up so fast, don’t they?
Twenty years ago, President Ronald Regan famously told Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. The Simpsons made their television debut. Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for the third time, and in 1987, the world’s population reached five billion people.
The Legend of Zelda video game was released in North America, the United States Constitution celebrated its 200th anniversary, Baby Jessica fell down that well, and Bob Barker appeared on The Price is Right for the first time without hair dye. Family Ties, The Cosby Show and Miami Vice were still going strong, while that same year saw the end of The A-Team and Hill Street Blues.
In the hockey universe, though, something else happened.
On Aug, 7, 1987, Sidney Crosby was born near Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia.
Ready or not, Crosby, the NHL’s reigning scoring champion, turned the big 2-0 Tuesday, thereby leaving his teenage years behind for the wild blue yonder of his roaring 20’s. Born on 8/7/87, No. 87 celebrated his 20th birthday Tuesday, having accomplished more in his first 20 years than some people do in their entire lifetime.
People around the NHL, from players to coaches to managers, will all tell you that Crosby’s best is yet to come. That he hasn’t reached his hockey prime yet. Hard as that may be to imagine after Crosby already won an Art Ross as the only teenager in major North American sports to capture a scoring title, Sid is still just a kid. He celebrates his 20th birthday this week after already becoming the seventh player in NHL history to win the Hart Trophy, the Art Ross, and the Lester Pearson Award in the same season – just his second as a pro.
Not bad for a teenager, eh?
The thing is, Crosby has always seemed to be ahead of the curve and maybe ahead of his time and his age. We’re talking about a kid who gave his first newspaper interview as a 7-year-old. When he was 14, he made his first appearance on CBC. Six years later, Crosby is the captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the face of the franchise, the premier ambassador of our game. He’s fluent in two languages and just signed a blockbuster contract extension with the Pens that will pay him $8.7 million (yes, it was intentional) annually. In two years in the NHL, he’s totaled 222 points so far, eclipsing the century mark in his two pro seasons.
Yep, life is good for Sidney Crosby.
Outside of winning the Stanley Cup, there is little in hockey he hasn’t accomplished. Amazingly, the kid is just turning 20. But he’s still not old enough to buy a drink in a bar. For another year, Crosby isn’t even old enough to rent a car.
Somehow, we don’t think he’s too worried about either one.
Happy Birthday, Sid.
Here’s a look back at what the world was like 20 years ago, when Crosby was born:
* Wayne Gretzky’s Oilers won the Stanley Cup, edging the Flyers in the Final in seven games.
* The price of a postage stamp was 22 cents.
* Platoon won the Oscar Award for best picture, while Moonstruck, Wall Street, The Last Emperor and Fatal Attraction were the popular movies in theaters.
* “Higher Love,” by Steve Winwood was Record of the Year. Paul Simon’s Graceland won the Grammy for Album of the Year.
* Martina Navratilova won Wimbledon, the Giants won the Super Bowl, the Twins were World Series champs, the Lakers were tops in hoops, Indiana beat Syracuse in the NCAA basketball tournament.