Your expectations of Crosby after 2007

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Big Phil, Dec 22, 2018.

  1. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    I remember the 2007 season very vividly because there was this excitement in the air that not only was a teenager the best player in the NHL and leading in points but he was also comparable to the greatest players of all-time in his first two seasons.

    Here is how I looked at Crosby vs. Gretzky and Lemieux in his first two years:
    Crosby first two years: 102, 120
    Lemieux first two years: 100, 141
    Gretzky first two years: 137, 164

    My opinion was that he was only going to get better. That year he scored a ton of highlight reel goals and he was just flying all over the ice. He had a 6 point night vs. Philly that year, and then a 4 point night the next game. 5 games he had at least 4 points.

    I felt Gretzky's first two years he was better because he was just so dominant and he was breaking records even in his 2nd year. But I always thought Crosby and Lemieux were side by side in their first two years in the NHL. We now know that Crosby didn't hit that "next" level that Lemieux did starting in year 4 and then especially year 5. But after the first two years you weren't sure what the future held.

    I remember him scoring in bunches a lot more that season. Maybe things changed the next year with his high ankle sprain and it isn't as if he still didn't produce offensively but if you were told after 2007 that the next and only scoring title Crosby would win would be 2014 you'd have not believed it. I'll give him credit, in 2011 he was on a torrid pace and in 2012 he was too. In 2013 he'd have blown away the competition for the scoring race if he wasn't hurt for 25% of the year. And in 2014 he did just that.

    But did you expect him to produce more than 120 points on a regular basis? I know I did. I felt the sky was the limit for him. I realize he shored up his all around game after that and that likely sacrificed some points for him but of all the hockey I watched with Crosby since 2007 I always felt there were so many times he should have done things like carry the puck in himself instead of unselfishly passing off to a Chris Kunitz-type of linemate who never had anywhere near his skill. I personally think his unselfish play made him less dominant than he could have been, or what I expected after 2007.

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. JackSlater

    JackSlater Registered User

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    I expected more than he ended up doing, given that you can make the case that Crosby at 19 had the second best first two seasons ever for a player who started the NHL at 18. A lot of what Big Phil says rings true to me, but Crosby was also more physically dominant in those first two seasons in my opinion. I remember guys bouncing off him more and he seemed to engage more. He was more explosive too, but that's in part due to the already mentioned ankle injury in 2008. I think that Crosby would have benefited from playing in a more open era of hockey where he could have better reached his potential instead of repeatedly making safe but boring plays, and as already noted he could have been a bit more greedy in terms of puck possession. After 2007 I did think that he had a decent chance at the top level in hockey history, though I thought that he would end up wearing down and be more like a Lemieux if he did reach that level.

    Crosby ended up the level below that (and his injury issues were of a different, more fluky nature than I expected) but there's no shame there. A big four level player really shouldn't be expected of anyone until they actually reach that level.

    Regarding Crosby's ankle injury in 2008, if we exclude the game in which he got injured (only played 4 minutes) he had this line: 45 20 43 63. It's not really an improvement over his scoring in the previous year, but he did have a strong playoffs. I also wonder if a Crosby who maintained a more explosive skating ability would have become the versatile offensive threat we saw by 2010-2011.
     
  3. grentthealien

    grentthealien Registered User

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    A bit off topic here, but hearing about the aforementioned Crosby ankle injury makes me curious about what you guys think Mcdavid will be like if/when he loses some of his speed? His skating is such a huge part os his game that it is hard to picture him without it. I remember some guys like Gartner managed to maintain their elite speed into into their mid 30s , but most players usually experience a dip in explosiveness once they enter their early 30s.

    I remember Stamkos used to be pretty fast as well before he crashed into the goal post. I often think about that when I watch Mcdavid drive to the net at full throttle. If he does suffer similar injuries or father time catches up to him do you think he will be able to adapt his game to remain an Elite player or will there be a steep drop off in his production?
     
  4. TheGuiminator

    TheGuiminator Registered User

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    I honestly thought he would become a +130 points player for the next 5-10 years.
     
  5. daver

    daver Registered User

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    I think he was much more ready to jump into the NHL, both development-wise and physically, than previous prodigies and hit his prime by his 2nd year. If he had finished off even on of his seasons from 10 to 13 then I don't think there is much to ponder.
     
  6. overpass

    overpass Registered User

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    Crosby was on fire through the first 3/4 of the 2006-07 season and actually had 95 points in his first 56 games. He would have finished with 134 points in 79 games if he had kept that pace, more than anyone since Lemieux and Jagr in 95-96. Finishing with 120 points and then 5 playoff points was a bit of a disappointment, considering his earlier pace.

    I remembering looking at the numbers around the 50-55 game mark of that season and thinking Crosby was tracking dead even with Lemieux so far (including junior scoring). I thought Crosby would make the Big 4 a Big 5 and win a bunch of scoring titles.
     
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  7. wetcoast

    wetcoast Registered User

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    Expectations were for him to become the best player of his generation.

    Which he has achieved despite the injuries.
     
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  8. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Alright, that's fair. Not much of an argument here. I believe if he isn't already the idea will be that he was superior overall to Ovechkin and while Malkin had his moments where he was on par with Crosby I don't think overall in his career he has been.

    Ken Dryden mentioned that in his book about Lafleur didn't he? That once he lost a step his game dropped off. Speed was a huge part of Lafleur's game but he had other dangerous tools. I think his injuries and the coaching style of Lemaire played a big role too. McDavid is smart, just like Crosby, so he should get by when his speed starts subsiding. But they will have to make some adjustments. Look at Stamkos, who knew he'd turn into more of a playmaker than a sniper?
     
  9. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    I think there were 1000 times when Crosby should have just taken the puck and done his patented splitting of the defense more often. He was so good at it. I can't count how many times, especially after 2007, that he was skating over the blueline with some speed and you figured he was going to hang onto the puck and deke around the defensemen only to see him dish it off to a far less skilled line mate that was standing flat footed. Yeah, he could have been more selfish I think, which in turn is an unselfish thing to do if you help the team.
     
  10. Casanova

    Casanova Registered User

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    After the lockout I was finally old enough to decide to stay up for Penguins games (Im from Sweden). I watched the torch get passed from Lemieux to Crosby and I was here on these boards following all Crosby threads. I was a big Crosby fan and I tought he would be heads and shoulders above everyone else, especially after the 06-07, even though I then had a new personal favorite in Malkin. Still was in awe of how good Crosby was and I thought sky was the limit for him.

    Then came 07-08 and Crosby got caught by Malkin (and Ovechkin) and I was pretty disappointed. He was still darn good, but not as good as I thought he would or had the talent to be. The speed lost to injury really destroyed the chances Crosby had of reaching top 4 as I thought he had a good chance of doing.

    So people around here that think im hating on Crosby, I actually started my hfboards career years before getting an account as a fanboy for Crosby (or Lemieux, but he was basically done by then). Ooooh those Crosby vs Prucha threads back in the days was golden. I was just a little disappointed by Crosby and appreciated Malkins skill set more.
     
  11. pixiesfanyo

    pixiesfanyo Registered User

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    I mean, what else do you want from him? He’s had two season long injuries and still is likely a lock for top ten of all time and can be argued in the top five.
     
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  12. frisco

    frisco Some people say that there's a woman to blame...

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    I'd personally like to thank David Steckel for robbing hockey fans of possibly the best season of the past 20 years or so. Not to mention, the possibility of greater seasons in the years that followed. Crosby in 2010 was right up there with Lemieux (early 90's) and Gretzky (80's) as the best hockey players I've seen.

    My Best-Carey
     
  13. The Panther

    The Panther Registered User

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    To be honest, I'm not sure I really expected more from him than what we got in 2006-07. He won the scoring title by six points over Joe Thornton, which was hugely impressive, but it wasn't comparable to Mario's second season in scoring (4th highest non-Gretzky point total of all time) or, obviously, Gretzky's second season (highest point/assist totals ever). It was the second highest point total ever by a teenage forward, so in that sense I can understand why some expected him to improve on it.

    Here's the thing, though: Usually young scorers hit their scoring peak when their team jumps up in the standings. And that was happening to the Pens during 2006-07, Cros's second year. In his rookie year, the Pens were one of the worst teams in the League, and by his second year they were one of the best -- I think they went something like 29-7-4 to close out the season. (They actually declined in points slightly in Crosby's third season, when he first went to the Finals.) So I think that is why I didn't expect him to do a lot more than what we saw in 2006-07. Generally, when the team has the big burst in competitiveness, the scorers hit their peaks.

    It's a pity we didn't see him play full seasons more often, especially in 2010-11.

    Running the stats for 2007-08, at the moment Crosby went down to injury in January 2008, he was more-or-less in a four-way tie with Kovalchuk, Iginla, and Lecavalier for the NHL scoring lead with 63 points in 46 games. Impressive, of course, but it's a slightly slower pace than the year before, and even I probably expected him to separate himself a bit more from those kind of guys, not less, than the previous season.

    I do think that after that first serious injury in January 2008, Crosby likely altered his playing style a bit. He probably became a bit less aggressive in going to the net (much like Gretzky did after the 80s). It's just that scorers don't usually make such adjustments in style until they're much older. But maybe Crosby, who is a smart guy, was able to think about the long-term benefits more than the short term and semi-consciously made that adjustment to his style.
     
  14. Pominville Knows

    Pominville Knows Induct me allready :/

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    Let me just say that the odds that McJebus will have a greater career is looking pretty solid.
    Says more about the young guy, but still.
     
  15. The Panther

    The Panther Registered User

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    Doing what McDavid has done with Chiarelli in charge of his team is truly remarkable.
     
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  16. bobholly39

    bobholly39 Registered User

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    This is a huge factor here. Crosby was more nhl ready than.....almost any player ive ever seen. Good for his career bad for his peak as he started insane out of the gate but unlike a Lemieux he didnt have 2-3 more levels to go to.

    Jury's still out on how mcdavid will compare. Obviously he wont shoot up as high as Lemieux but he could past crosby for peak.

    I definitely had super high expectations for Crosby but i simply cannot remember specifics nor when they started (i think it was after 2007 closer to 2011).
     
  17. daver

    daver Registered User

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    Given he very close to Wayne and Mario's level at age 15 -17, and was arguably better than Mario after his 2nd year, it was hard not to wonder how high he could go.

    I think McDavid is similar to Crosby that he did not need much time to transition to the NHL and his unique skill level is pretty close to its peak. I would not be surprised to see a similar career path play itself out with multiple Art Rosses and elite scoring finishes and one or two seasons that are clear from the pack and among the best outside of the Big Four. So far their RS resumes are very close at the same age.
     
  18. wetcoast

    wetcoast Registered User

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    Mario is kind of the weak link of the big 4 IMO.

    His offense won't be matched, the NHL has changed too much for that but his overall impact as a player can be matched and Crosby is closing in on him.

    How Connor fares in his career will be interesting to watch.

    Sure he had crazy video game numbers but he didn't tilt the ice as much as Wayne or Orr did and his 2 way play was really weak.

    He simply could not and did not outscore his opponents to the degree his stats would suggest.

    Connor is tracking to be the better regular season guy 4 seasons in but Crosby has a huge edge in playoffs at the same time in their respective careers.
     
  19. daver

    daver Registered User

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    Sure it was.

    Mario's PPG - 1.78

    Next best PPGs among the Top Ten scorers (non-Oilers):

    1.61
    1.54
    1.45
    1.45

    Crosby's PPG - 1.52

    Next best PPGs among the Top Ten scorers:
    1.39
    1.34
    1.32
    1.30

    Very comparable gap between them and their respective peers, with a slight edge to Crosby.

    I don't see why you would have thought that Crosby wasn't going to improve in some way, which he did in 2010/11 to 2013, past his 20th birthday as Wayne and Mario both did.
     
  20. Midnight Judges

    Midnight Judges Registered User Sponsor

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    He did get better though. Crosby's 2010 season was his best season - and good for a 3rd place Hart vote and only a bit worse than Ovechkin's 3rd best season.

    No doubt expectations were wild - many Pens fans and Canadians on HF were predicting 135+ point seasons for several years. Reality Crosby failed to live up to imaginary Crosby and continues to do so, but that was never a reasonable starting point.

    Probably the single biggest disappointment about Crosby is that he has been out-pointed, out-hardwared, and massively out-goaled by a Russian winger.

    Crosby was supposed to be the best player of this generation, and he's only second best.

    If Ovechkin didn't exist, would this thread exist? At the very least the tone would be different.
     
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  21. Sentinel

    Sentinel Registered User

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    I certainly did not expect all those injuries...
     
  22. Ageless

    Ageless Registered User

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    Lol everyone knows Crosby is the best player of his generation. I love when you say Ovechkin is though. Always good for a laugh
     
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  23. wetcoast

    wetcoast Registered User

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    Pretty much this.

    I think there is some confusion between a goal heavy fantasy hockey pool and reality going on here.
     
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  24. StarLightning

    StarLightning Registered User

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    At the time I expected him and Ovechkin to compete for being known as the best player in the game, after each had their dynamic rookie season. Year 2, which the OP asks about, is where Crosby seemed to separate himself, but then he got hurt in Year 3 and Ovechkin had his best year.

    In terms of reaching another level, we saw this in the half season he played in 10-11 before his injury. What separated Crosby around this time from himself at other junctures of his career was his goal scoring. He's always been known as a playmaker first, but this season he was on pace to score over 60 goals, something only elite snipers like Ovechkin and Stamkos have done since scoring dipped in 1996. Crosby had been on a goal scoring tear since the 2009 playoffs (15 goals). He then followed that up in 2010 by scoring 51 goals, being a co-recipient of the Richard with Stamkos (as a side note, I remember how weird it felt when 2010 ended with Sid having more goals, but Ovie more assists. Though Sid did play 9 more games). Then in the 10-11 season, he had 32 goals at the time of his season ending injury in January. He looked to be ascending even further as a sniper this season, even building on scoring 51 goals the year before. Following his concussion though he went back to being the primary playmaker he was early in his career, which at the end of the day has still make him the best player of his generation.
     
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  25. Sticks and Pucks

    Sticks and Pucks Registered User

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    I remember that at the same time Crosby was having his monster sophomore season, Ovechkin seemed to regress in his sophomore season that year. I thought Crosby had for sure passed Ovechkin and it was a surprise to me when Ovechkin came back and outplayed Crosby the following two seasons.

    This also goes to show that there will be no guarantees with McDavid moving forward.
     

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