Guest Author - Kevin Thorburn
The National Hockey League lockout is over and the winners of the number one pick in the draft was won, by lottery, by the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team which has not made the playoffs since 2001. The overwhelming favourite to be chosen first over all was Sidney Crosby, 17 years of age at the time of the draft and the Penguins didn’t disappoint their fans. Led by Mario Lemieux, the team picked Crosby which only increased season ticket sales even more in the Steel City. Now, will Crosby be the saviour Lemieux was when he was chosen in much the same manner 21 years ago?
Crosby played his junior hockey with the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and won almost every trophy available in the league the past two seasons. On top of that he was named the Canadian Hockey League’s player of the year both of those years. Last season he netted 66 goals and added 102 assists in only 62 games. His rookie year saw him score 54 goals with 81 assists in 59 games. Incredible achievements by this young native of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia.
No player has been spoken about in nearly the same light since Eric Lindros. Can Crosby get to the elite level that Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky achieved? His odds are good. While he doesn’t shy away from the physical game, he is more of a finesse player than Lindros. A lot like Gretzky and Lemieux. He sees the game evolve on the ice naturally and seems to always be many steps ahead of the players on opposing teams. As far as his ability to adjust to the more physical style of play in the NHL, this should not be an issue. He has great leadership around him and while a certain adjustment period may be natural, the style of play that is current in the league suits Crosby’s game to a tee. There is no question: the Penguins can look forward to a bright future.