Sidney Crosby returned to his (rightful) spot in the Pittsburgh Penguins line-up last night against the visiting New York Islanders. The Pens were dominant, winning 5-0.
The bigger story of course was Crosby’s role in that win. After not having played a game since January 5, 2011 (that’s 320 days if you’re counting.. including 61 missed games), Crosby whipped the puck between the pipes to give the Pens a 1-0 lead only 5 minutes and 24 seconds into the game.
Crosby didn’t quite say “ahhhh” – it was more along the lines of “FUCK YEAHHH!”, which was caught on camera. Per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Crosby said, “I was watching the replay [from the Penguins bench] and read my lips. Hopefully, everybody wasn’t reading lips at home. It was pretty exciting. I couldn’t hold that in.”
We were (I was). But I can’t imagine I’d say anything differently if I were in his skates.
Watch the first goal here (see :57 for the celebratory statement):
Overall, Crosby logged 15:54 on the ice (down from an average of 21:55 last year… not surprising), and finished with 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists). He also took 8 shots (Pens shot-leader of the game) and won 14-21 face-offs. Hell of a homecoming.
Last night, HBO Sports’ 24/7 Penguins Capitals premiered, providing an unbridled look at two teams headed for a Winter Classic battle at Heinz Field on January 1, 2011. The ingredients : HBO, hockey, specifically Pittsburgh hockey (oh and the Washington Capitals), a heated rivalry – I feel like I don’t need any other lead-in info aside from that. This is a dream come true for me, not just because this show puts my favorite professional sports team in the spotlight, but because HBO brings everything they do to a different level. The cinematography is gorgeous – the city scenes from Pittsburgh were breathtaking, and the ones highlighting our nation’s capital weren’t too shabby either.
Hockey is a unique beast. It is a sport that requires its participants to go to battle several times a week at the same intensity the National Football League reserves for just one game every seven days. Hockey players are rarely divas – just watch a few in-game interviews. They speak in technical terms, they care about the game above all, and they care about winning – as a team. The NHL as a league gets only a fraction of the media attention its professional sport counterparts in the NFL, NBA, and MLB receive. And that’s why I think this series is a perfect opportunity for viewers to get a peek at the inner workings of this mystical sport. Who better to serve up the story than the premium cable powerhouses at HBO?