Crosby hits 1,000

Typical great assist earns #87 the benchmark

17.02.2017
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Sidney Crosby celebrates a goal. In the NHL he now reached the 1,000-point mark. Photo: Matthew Manor / HHOF-IIHF Images

Sidney Crosby didn’t waste much time getting his 1,000th point last night at home against the Winnipeg Jets, setting up long-time linemate Chris Kunitz for a goal just 6:28 into the game.

And Crosby didn’t waste much more time getting point number 1,001, another assist, in the third, and point number 1,002, the game winner in overtime to cap another great game in a 4-3 Penguins victory. The goal came off a nice pass from Yevgeni Malkin and an even greater play by Crosby, fighting off a check to get his stick on the puck.

“It’s a nice number,” Crosby, from tiny Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, said after. “I’m glad it’s over with. I think of all the guys I’ve played with, all the teams I’ve been a part of, so I owe a lot of thanks to those guys.”

It's nice to win the game when you have a memorable night like this, he added. "You want to finish it the right way."

It took Crosby only 757 games to reach the magical 1,000-point mark in the NHL, 12th fastest of all time, and it came on a play that one might call Crosbyesque.

As the puck came to the point, Crosby headed to the goal looking for a tip of the shot. A Winnipeg defenceman blocked the puck, Crosby chased down the loose disc in the right faceoff circle. He fought off a check and in the same moment saw Kunitz open in the slot. As soon as Crosby controlled the puck, he moved it to Letang, and Letang’s quick shot beat Connor Hellebuyck in the Jets’ goal.

Crosby is the 86th player to reach the milestone and the third in the last few weeks to do so. Alexander Ovechkin hit 1,000 on 11st January in his 880th game while Henrik Sedin reached the plateau nine days later in his 1,213th game. (Wayne Gretzky was the fastest, hitting 1,000 in only 424 games).

Of the 86 NHLers to have hit the 1,000-point mark, only six are also members of the IIHF’s Triple Gold Club: Alexander Mogilny, Joe Sakic, Jaromir Jagr, Nicklas Lidstrom, Brendan Shanahan, and Crosby.

As well, number 87 is the sixth player to hit 1,000 while playing in a Pittsburgh Penguins uniform: Paul Coffey, Ron Francis, Joe Mullen, Mario Lemieux, and Jaromir Jagr are the others. Only Lemieux and Crosby, though, have played their whole careers with the Pens.

Crosby, in his 12th season, has made a remarkable recovery from two concussions which caused him to miss most of two seasons (2010-12). A career which started off like a rocket and crashed to earth has had a second life, although even the start of this season was worrisome in some respects.

After leading Canada to the World Cup of Hockey championship in September, Crosby suffered another concussion from a seemingly innocuous play in camp and missed the first three weeks of the season. Since then, he has been on a tear and now is fighting tooth and nail with Connor McDavid and Brent Burns for the overall scoring lead.

Crosby earned an assist in his first career game, 5th October 2005, against New Jersey, and has been a model of consistency ever since. Some 632 of those 1,000 points have been assists, yet he also shared the Rocket Richard Trophy in 2009/10 with Steven Stamkos (both scoring 51 goals) and is currently leading the league in goals this year with 31.

In addition to consistency, Crosby has had more than his share of big games. He has had four points in a game on 22 occasions, five points in a game four times, and a career high six points twice (13 December 2006, versus Philadelphia, including a career best five assists; and 19 January 19 2010, against the New York Islanders).

Crosby has done it all and then some. Twice a winner of the Stanley Cup, including last season, he has won Olympic gold twice, been named Lester B. Pearson/Ted Lindsay Award winner three times, Hart Trophy winner twice, and Conn Smythe Trophy winner once.

He is the only player to have captained his team for all Triple Gold Club honours, and at age 29 he might well be having his best career season. Crosby has hit 1,000 on the fly – let’s see if he can make it to 2,000.

ANDREW PODNIEKS

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