Sidney Crosby at 30: Ranking his 30 greatest hockey moments (so far)

Sidney Crosby hit the big 3-0 on Monday, as “Sid The Kid” officially became an ironic nickname.

The Pittsburgh Penguins captain has been playing hockey for more than half his life, as his first season with Dartmouth in the NSMHL came at age 14.

Sixteen years later, Crosby is the best player in the world (work on that defense, Connor) with three Stanley Cups, two Olympic golds, a IIHF gold, world junior goal, whatever they gave out for the World Cup of Hockey and so much more. He has 1,027 points in 782 games, with 383 goals. He’s pretty good.

With all that Crosby’s accomplished, it’s hard to narrow the list down to 30 moments in Crosby’s hockey life. But here they are, ranked for your enjoyment.

30. Youngest player to win a IIHF World Championship scoring title

When Sidney Crosby was 18 and the Penguins weren’t playing for the Stanley Cup in, like, every season, Crosby represented Canada at the 2006 IIHF World Championships. He scored 16 points in nine games – including a point in Canada’s first eight games – to win top forward honors and set a IIHF record for the youngest player to lead the tournament in points.

29. Gets Referenced in an SNL Joke

It’s not that Sidney Crosby was name-dropped in a joke on “Saturday Night Live” in 2012. It’s that someone in that writer’s room acknowledged that Andy Samberg is a Sid doppelgänger.

Did the joke bomb? Eh, we’ll blame it on Lindsay Lohan’s delivery.

28. Crosby’s 66 in 41

In 2010-11, Crosby had 66 points in 41 games to lead the Penguins in scoring (and lead the NHL with a 1.61 points-per-game average). He set an NHL record in the process: No other player led his team in scoring in so few games played in a non-lockout season.

27. Sidney On The Street

Notable mainly for one of the greatest hockey players to ever live just standing around while teen Jack Johnson tries to make time with some unimpressed ladies.

26. Penguins Rookie Record

The Penguins have had a few decent offense rookies through the years, but none better than Crosby when it comes to total points: His 102 points were two better than Mario Lemieux (100 in 1984-85). Sure, Mario got him in points-per-game, having played 73 games to Sid’s 81, but in Crosby’s defense he had to play against goalies that knew what they were doing and wore actual padding.

25. Homers At PNC Park

Proving he could have been the best hockey/baseball star since Tom Glavine, Sid went yard during batting practice at the Pirates’ stadium in what we imagine is Doc Emrick’s wet dream.

24. Crosby scores in OT vs. Lightning

Sid’s only playoff overtime goal won Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final for the Penguins to knot their series with the Lightning, and it was a key point in the series.

23. Crosby Checks Boris Valabik’s Undercarriage

The moment we all realized how delightfully sneaky dirty Crosby was (with apologies to Mark Methot on the “delightfully” part). Sid speed-bagged Boris Valabik of the Atlanta Thrashers in a moment that would have made Ric Flair proud.

22. Rookie With 100 Points and 100 PIMs 

OK, maybe we should have seen the “dirty” part from miles away. Crosby had 102 points and 110 penalty minutes in 2005-06 – the first NHL rookie to record 100 points and 100 penalty minutes in a season. He had 55 minor penalties and no majors. So, still a Good Boy.

21. ESPYs, 2010

While no one will mistake the ESPY Awards with anything as prestigious as, say, the NHL Awards (although admittedly the stage banter is much better), Sidney Crosby has dominated ESPN’s exercise in largess since entering the League. We’ll put the spotlight on his 2010 win for Best NHL Player, which was his fourth straight win and fourth total one – one more than Lemieux had for his career.

Please note that the “selection committee” voting process for the ESPYs ended in 2004, and was replaced by an Internet fan vote. Crosby won from 2007-2010 and 2013-14 and 2016-17, forever dispelling the notion that he won’t be winning any popularity contests.

20. World Junior Gold

 Crosby had nine points in six games as the Canadian “all-star team” rolled to 2005 World Junior gold. The only downer was that he had but one assist in their 6-1 rout of Russia in the final.

19. Crosby Exhibits Actual Personality In Commercial For Famed Canadian Doughnut Shop

Give the assist to Cole Harbour’s Nathan MacKinnon for being the John C. Reilly to Sid’s nascent Will Ferrell.

18. MVP, World Cup of Hockey

Crosby’s line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand was one of the best things about the World Cup of Hockey, along with Team North America and Ralph Kruger. Canada could have won this tournament with its fifth string, but Sid’s 10 points in six games was good enough to MVP honors.

17. That Contract

In a league where each new superstar contract leads to a slew of new cap headaches for their teams, Crosby’s 12-year deal with an AAV of $8.7 million (thanks, numerophobia!) set up the Penguins to contend for Stanley Cups through its conclusion in 2025.

16. Hey, Look, Jay Leno

Not only did Sid get a chance to shoot pucks into a dryer on “The Tonight Show” but he got to meet ROB SCHNEIDER in the process, guys…

15. Winning the Richard Trophy in 2017

It wasn’t the best season for goal-scoring – Alex Ovechkin going MIA in the Richard race didn’t help – but Crosby’s 44 goals were good enough for his second Rocket trophy.

14. Winning the Art Ross in 2007

Sid’s 120 points were six better than Joe Thornton to lead the league and net him his first Art Ross trophy in a (spoiler) MVP season. He was the youngest player to win the Art Ross.

13. Sid The Kid Goes Back-To-Back 100s 

Crosby had 102 points as a rookie and 120 points as a sophomore, becoming the youngest player in NHL history to record two consecutive 100-point seasons. Would McDavid have broken that if he were healthy as a rookie? A great “what if?”

12. Winning Richard Trophy in 2010

Crosby broke 50 goals for the only time in his career to capture his first Richard Trophy – an award he shared with Steven Stamkos, one goal better than Ovechkin.

11. Winning the Stanley Cup in 2009

Crosby had 31 points in 24 games for the Penguins during their run to the 2009 Stanley Cup, including a playoff-best 15 goals. Alas, Evgeni Malkin’s 36 points in 24 games netted him the Conn Smythe. But Crosby would get the better of another Russian …

10. Game 7 vs. Washington

In one of the greatest playoff series of the modern era, Crosby dueled with Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals for seven games in 2009 – including Game 2 in which both players had hat tricks. But in Game 7, in Washington, Crosby had two goals and an assist in a 6-1 rout to eliminate the Capitals – including the game’s opening goal.

9. Winning the Hart Trophy in 2014

Crosby’s 104-point season made him a runaway winner of his second Hart, getting 128 first-place votes. Ryan Getzlaf was second with five. That said …

8. Winning the Hart Trophy in 2007

… Crosby’s 2007 Hart Trophy, at 19 years old, was a remarkable achievement. His 120-point season was 35 points better than Malkin, i.e. basically one Colby Armstrong’s worth of points.

7. That Breakaway Vs. Lundqvist in Sochi

From a production standpoint, Crosby didn’t have the best tournament in Sochi with three points in six games. But he saved the best for last, including this breakaway goal against Henrik Lundqvist in the gold medal game – Crosby’s first goal of the Olympics. That made it 2-0, and put a dagger in Sweden.

6. Winning the Conn Smythe in 2016

Crosby had 19 points in 24 games, including two assists in the Game 6 elimination of the San Jose Sharks. That was good enough to earn Phil Kessel’s Conn Smythe in winning Crosby’s second Stanley Cup.

5. Scoring In a Snow Globe

The first Winter Classic remains one of the most picturesque hockey games in NHL history, what with the snow falling and all. (The constant Zamboni delays are best left out of this memory.) Crosby scored the shootout game-winner against Ryan Miller on Jan. 1, 2008 to give the Penguins the win over the Buffalo Sabres in snowy Ralph Wilson Stadium. Remember those names…

4. Winning the Conn Smythe in 2017

Crosby’s 27 points didn’t lead the playoffs, but the sheer will of his performance drove the Penguins to their second straight Stanley Cup. That including a dominant three-assist effort in their Game 5 rout of the Nashville Predators. Crosby had 13 points in his final 11 playoff games, and with a second straight playoff MVP, entered a new echelon on greatness.

3. The Sidney Crosby Lottery

The NHL literally rewrote the rules because Sidney Crosby was available in the entry draft. After the 2005 lockout, the NHL decided to award the No. 1 overall pick through a revamped draft lottery, dubbed the “Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes.”

All 30 teams were entered into a lottery, with each team having as many as three or as few as one ball to be drawn based on playoff qualification or draft lottery wins over the previous three seasons. The Penguins, who lost the previous lottery that resulted in Alex Ovechkin going to the Capitals, had around a six-percent chance at Crosby. Yet they won, and the rest as they say is Brian Burke being infuriated by the process after settling for Bobby Ryan.

2. The Comeback

As we celebrate Sidney Crosby’s 30th birthday, and his incredible career, let’s pause for a moment to reflect on (a) how lucky we are that Crosby’s been reasonably healthy, by comparison, for the last few years and (b) how much it sucks that we didn’t get to see him at 100 percent (or at all) for much if this career.

That’s why we’re putting his return in Nov. 2011, after 11 months out of action that totaled 61 games, so high on the list. It was a moment the hockey world celebrated because, for a time, we were all a bit afraid that we’d never see that day arrive. (Best of health, Sid.)

1. The Golden Goal

With due respect to the other 29 accomplishments on this list, this is a Canadian hockey star, scoring in overtime in the Winter Olympic final, on Canadian soil, to win the gold medal over the United States. There’s no telling what Sidney Crosby will do in his years past his 30th birthday. But because of the unique conditions of this accomplishment, there’s no topping it.

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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