The Penguins are a quarter into the 2010-11 campaign and to the surprise of no one, captain Sidney Crosby
once again finds himself ranking among the NHL’s elite players.
Crosby is currently tied for the lead in the NHL scoring race with 28 points, while ranking third (tied) in goals with 12. The following are Crosby’s NHL rankings as of Tuesday:
- 28 points – tied for first
- 12 goals – tied for third
- 16 assists – second
- 5 power-play goals – tied for third
- 72 shots – fifth
- 253 faceoff wins – second
Crosby is heating up right now for the Penguins. He has scored a goal in five of the last six games, with multiple-point games in six of his past eight contests. Over the last eight games Crosby has 15 points (6G-9A). Crosby's strong play last week led to him being named as one of the NHL's "Three Stars."
“The main thing is to remain consistent,” Crosby said. “As a line I think we’ve done a pretty good job at it in the last five or six (games), as the whole team has. We need to keep going. We’re playing good hockey, but we need to get results too.”
And Crosby has also improved immensely in the fundamentals. He set a new career high with faceoff wins (27) Monday night against the New York Rangers. At one point during the game, Crosby had won 19 of 20 faceoffs, a ridiculously silly equation.
“(Against the Rangers) I felt pretty good,” he said. “I thought it was one of my better games as far as creating things, faceoffs and things like that. That’s the way it goes. Sometimes you create more and they don’t go in.”
“He’s been good on the faceoffs and has been proficient there for a while now,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “But he has had a few nights where he goes off like that. When he’s like that, he’s going to be the guy who goes out and takes the faceoffs in every type of situation.”
Dominating the NHL is nothing new to Crosby – who has a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal, Hart Trophy (MVP), Art Ross (scoring championship), “Rocket” Richard (goal-scoring champion) and Lester B. Pearson Award (outstanding player as voted by peers).
Over the past few seasons Crosby has used the offseason to improve parts of his game. Heading into last season, the 23-year-old captain worked on his faceoffs and shooting technique.
The result? Crosby won the NHL’s goal-scoring title with 51 goals (shared with Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos) and led the league with 1,001 faceoff wins.
Crosby had some extra time this past summer to hone his game. But the most important thing was to get some much needed rest after playing in 275 games (211 regular season, 57 playoffs, 7 Olympics) over the past three seasons.
“Off the ice you have to make most of the summer,” Crosby said. “You put in a lot of work off the ice to get stronger and gain any chance you can. You don’t always get a long summer, hopefully we don’t have many of them. But when you get them you want to make sure you’re rested and in good shape, and ready to have a good season.”
Crosby’s season is shaping up to be good. And as the year draws to a close, you can expect to see Crosby’s name near the top of the charts among the NHL’s elite.