CROSBY DUSTS OFF OLD-TIME MAGIC

Pen­guins su­per­star the talk of the town af­ter sen­sa­tional OT win­ner against Oil­ers

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - KRIS­TEN AN­DER­SON kan­der­[email protected]­media.com

It had noth­ing to do with the fact they’re in hockey-crazed Canada.

Or that Na­tional Hockey League high­lights are just a click away.

The Pitts­burgh Pen­guins, them­selves, wanted to re­live Sid­ney Crosby’s most re­cent jaw-drop­ping, how-the-heck-does-he-dothat per­for­mance and showed the team the footage from Tues­day’s 6-5 over­time stunner over the Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers.

The video ses­sion — which, by the way, is worth watch­ing and dis­sect­ing as a teach­ing tool for any team or player at any level — was just the lat­est ex­am­ple of the things No. 87 is ca­pa­ble of do­ing.

“It just shows why he’s the best in the world,” said line­mate Jake Guentzel, the Pen­guins dress­ing room still buzzing less than 24 hours later. “I mean, just the way he sep­a­rates the D, and his stick­han­dling abil­ity is so unique. It’s spe­cial to see, for sure. And to be able to put it home af­ter that move? “Un­be­liev­able.”

That’s one word to de­scribe Crosby’s abil­ity which, even af­ter 871 reg­u­lar-sea­son games, 160 post-sea­son clashes and three Stan­ley Cups, still has the ca­pa­bil­ity of mak­ing grown men giddy.

“Am I sur­prised he’s able to score that goal? No,” said Jack John­son, who was on the ice dur­ing the three-on-three ac­tion and had a front-row seat for Crosby’s lat­est magic act.

“But see­ing him do those things never gets old, you know what I mean? It’s spe­cial ev­ery time.”

Spe­cial, yes. Also, nerve-rack­ing.

Be­cause, as John­son ex­plains, any time Crosby has the puck, there’s pres­sure for team­mates to get open, get their stick on the ice, and be ready.

“If you get open, he’s prob­a­bly go­ing to find you, or prob­a­bly go­ing to see you,” John­son said. “At the very least, you’re go­ing to open up some more space for him. So, you can’t get caught just watch­ing him. (Tues­day night) I was just try­ing to get open for him, and the next thing you know, he’s go­ing through ev­ery­body.

“When we watched it on video this morn­ing, it was just as good as what I thought it was.”

The spin — a rapid change of di­rec­tion to evade Ryan Strome in the cor­ner.

The stick­han­dling — a quick move to sneak the puck be­tween Strome’s legs.

The power — to drive to the net be­tween Dar­nell Nurse and Strome.

And, of course, the shot — a slick back­han­der over the glove of Oil­ers goalie Cam Tal­bot.

“When I see him do it, it’s al­ways his strength on the puck and strength on his skates,” John­son said. “I mean, he’s got two guys on him and a de­fence­man lean­ing on him, try­ing to push him off the puck. For me, as a player, it’s his strength that’s most im­pres­sive.”

As for Crosby, his two-goal per­for­mance was re­mark­ably his first pair of mark­ers through seven games this sea­son. He has five as­sists and seven points in seven games, a rel­a­tively quiet start.

“Counts as one,” said the ever hum­ble 31-year-old with a shrug. “Doesn’t mat­ter how pretty they are. It’s nice to get ones like that, it’s prob­a­bly been a while since I’ve got a nice one like that. I’ll take it.”

Guentzel chuck­led when asked if they prac­tised Crosby’s moves dur­ing Wednes­day’s skate at Sco­tia­bank Sad­dle­dome.

“Uh,” he said with a laugh. “No. No one else can do that.”

Am I sur­prised he’s able to score that goal? No. But see­ing him do those things never gets old, you know what I mean? It’s spe­cial ev­ery time.

ED KAISER

Pen­guins su­per­star Sid­ney Crosby back­hands the puck over Oil­ers goalie Cam Tal­bot to score the jaw-drop­ping win­ning goal in over­time as Pitts­burgh edged Ed­mon­ton 6-5 on Tues­day night. Even Crosby’s team­mates were in awe of No. 87’s daz­zling dis­play of skill.

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