The NHL’s latest experiment was another huge success as Sidney Crosby’s Real Steel-style hockey robot worked like a charm, registering two goals and two assists in his return to the ice following a 10-month absence from the game. The former Hart Trophy winner/crusher of American Gold Medal Dreams had a storybook return, playing nearly 16 minutes of trademark ‘how-the-fuck-did-this-guy-get-so-good-at-hockey’-style hockey.
The NHL hoped to ease Crosby’s return by arranging a last-minute contest between the Penguins and the AHL’s New York Islanders. The whole squad was clearly excited to meet the hockey superstar, especially contest winner Anders Nilsson, who was allowed to suit up and play goalie against ‘The Kid.’
“Wow, I mean, that was cool!” Nilsson commented after the game. “I made a couple saves against him later and was all, like, ‘Wait until my friends hear about this!’ Unbelievable.”
Everyone was a fan of Crosby, both on and off the ice. “Sid was great,” said Isles coach Jack Capuano after the game. “He stuck around, signed some autographs, met all the guys. A real class act. He even gave one of our guys his stick, like as a little souvenir or something.”
Here’s a real gem for ya’ll, though: Crosby now has as many points as seven of the Islanders’ forwards who have played at least 15 games.
Of course, the Pens were pretty excited to play with the Golden Child, too. The Penguins skated with plenty of tenacity and the team’s power play was certainly clicking. An ‘Embarrassment of Riches’ need not only refer to what happens when Uncle Rick drinks too much anymore, as the Pens boast a forward corps of Crosby, Malkin, Staal, the Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed James Neal, and a solid supporting cast of 20-goal chipper-inners. The defensive unit is toight like a tiger, too, and the return of Zbynek Michalek is only going to make Marc-Andre Fleury’s job easier. Geno, for one, was so excited at the post-game press conference (above) that he just couldn’t hide it.
Personally, I get a little tired of seeing Crosby as the ‘face of hockey’, and not just because it looks like his lips got stung by some bees. The dude is everywhere, but at least he’s finally back where he belongs: on the ice. And especially with arch-nemesis
Ivan Drago Alex Ovechkin scoring as many points as Kyle Wellwood and someone named Craig Smith, the League of Extraordinary Hockey Gentlemen could really use a guy like Crosby to make things a little more interesting. Vegas oddmakers have the over/under on Crosby’s points total this year at 80 and his chances at another MVP at 8-1. Although Crosby and the Penguins will (probably) not be allowed to play every game against the Islanders, one gets the feeling that there are (hopefully) many more performances like this to come.