By Brian Monzo
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I’m not — and never have been — one for celebrating a player over a team. For that reason, the media hype about Sidney Crosby finally making his return to the Penguins after 320 days due to a concussion was bugging me.
I understand he is the biggest player in the league, but to me, this was bigger news for the Penguins than the league as a whole.
Turns out I was right. Based on Crosby’s two-goal, two-assist return against the dreadful New York Islanders, his return is great news for the Penguins and very bad news for the rest of the league.
I’ve been on the record saying I am not the biggest fan of Sid the Kid. It was nothing personal, but it’s a team game and hyping one player bothers me. But there aren’t too many bad things you can say about Crosby. He wins. He has won a Stanley Cup and an Olympic gold medal. One thing was for certain: the NHL hasn’t been the same for the 320 days he has been down and out.
His return (and dominance, scoring 5:24 into the first period at the sold out, loud Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh) brought the crowd from loud to insanely loud. Crosby was paired on a line with Chris Kunitz and former Ranger Pascal Dupuis. It seemed like whenever they were on the ice the puck was in the Islanders’ zone.
Crosby would assist on goals by Brooks Orpik and Evgeni Malkin before netting a bad angle shot in the third period, putting the Islanders out of their misery.
It really is amazing how Crosby could miss all this time, and play a game like this. It’s like a storybook. You almost could not make it up.
The face of the matter is, you can love Sid, you can hate Sid… or you can do what I do and just respect how good he is.
He is good for NHL, but his return is bad for opponents.
The Penguins now have the star power to perhaps walk away with the Conference. The rest of the East is now on high alert.
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