On July 30, 2005, the Pittsburgh Penguins changed forever.
With the first overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins selected Sidney Crosby.READ MORE: Anti-Violence Organizations In Pittsburgh React To New Law Enforcement Initiatives
It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since Crosby donned a Penguins jersey for the first time.
During his time in Pittsburgh, he’s experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
From winning the Stanley Cup in 2009, to missing an extended amount of time due to concussion problems, here’s a sampling of Crosby’s first 10 years in Pittsburgh.
2005 NHL Draft
Heading into the summer of 2005, the hockey world was still on ice as the NHL and NHLPA worked to end a lockout that wiped out the previous season.
Finally, the two sides reached an agreement in the middle of July, which set off a flurry of activity to prepare for a new dawn in the NHL.
The NHL Draft Lottery saw a new wrinkle give every team a chance at landing Sidney Crosby. Of course, the lottery was weighted and the Penguins, Sabres, Blue Jackets and Rangers had the best statistical odds.
As fate would have it, the Penguins won the lottery on July 22.
On July 30, Craig Patrick stepped to the microphone and made the pick.
“It’s a thrill for the Pittsburgh Penguins to be standing here in this position today. It’s a very, very, very lucky day for our organization, our city and our fans worldwide. On behalf of Mario Lemieux and the entire ownership group, the Pittsburgh Penguins select, from Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior League, Sidney Crosby.”
After his name was announced, Crosby hugged his dad and made his way to the stage. Then, he posed for pictures with Lemieux before putting on the jersey for the first time.
“This is amazing. I’m just really relieved, it’s unbelievable. I’m so happy right now. It’s a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifices, not from myself, but my family as well,” Crosby said.
First NHL Goal:
Crosby’s first NHL goal came in the second period of a game against the Boston Bruins on Oct. 8, 2005.
Crosby’s initial pass was blocked, but he was able to pounce on a rebound to beat Hannu Toivonen.
The goal was certainly special, but the look on Lemieux’s face from the bench was also priceless.
Winter Classic Shootout Winner
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres took their differences outside on a snowy New Year’s Day in 2008.
The game was played in front of 71,000 fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York.
On the first shift of the game, Crosby rushed into the Buffalo zone and was denied by Ryan Miller. However, Colby Armstrong picked up the rebound to put the Penguins up 1-0.
Buffalo would answer back, but the game would be decided by Crosby in the shootout.
With snow flying, Crosby slowly skated in on Miller and tucked the puck between his legs to give the Penguins the win.
2009 Stanley Cup Finals
Crosby had been held without a goal in the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals until the second period of Game 4. The goal was the eventual game-winner and flipped the script from the 2008 Finals.
Evgeni Malkin blocked a shot in the defensive zone, which turned into a 2-on-1 with Crosby going the other way.
Malkin’s initial pass was broken up, but he got it back and fed Crosby, who put it away to give the Penguins a 3-2 lead. They would go on to win the game 4-2, which tied the series 2-2.
The teams would split the next two games to set up a winner-take-all Game 7 in Detroit. Max Talbot scored two goals and Marc-Andre Fleury made a diving stop at the buzzer to secure the franchise’s third Stanley Cup title.
Crosby suffered an injury in the game, but was well enough to hoist the Stanley Cup high over his head. At the time, he was the youngest captain in NHL history to do so.
On Jan. 1, 2011, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals met in the Winter Classic.READ MORE: UPMC Doctors Trying To Raise Awareness About Benefits Of Naps For First Responders
On a rainy night in Pittsburgh, the two teams met at Heinz Field. The Capitals won the game 3-1, but the biggest headline was an apparent injury suffered by Crosby.
With seconds remaining in the second period, Crosby collided with Washington’s David Steckel. Crosby appeared to be stunned by the blow to the head and gingerly skated off the ice.
A few nights later, Crosby suffered another blow to the head from a hit delivered by Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman.
It was the last time Crosby would play for the Penguins until Nov. 21. Concussion symptoms returned after just eight games, which kept him out until March 21, 2012.
Initially, the injury was diagnosed as a mild concussion. In January of 2012, it was revealed he had also suffered a soft-tissue injury in his neck.
Crosby’s Comeback Goal
After dealing with serious concussion problems, Crosby returned to the ice against the Islanders on Nov. 21, 2011.
Crosby hopped over the boards, forced a turnover in his own zone and then, magic happened.
Crosby got the puck in full flight, beat three Islanders and roofed a backhanded over Anders Nilsson.
Oh, and it was his first shift of the game.
The Penguins would win the game 5-0 and Crosby recorded two goals and two assists.
On March 30, 2013, Crosby suffered a freak injury in a game against the New York Islanders.
A shot by Brooks Orpik from the point deflected off an Islander and went up into Crosby’s face just under two minutes into the game.
Crosby immediately dropped to the ice, but was able to skate off under his own power while holding a towel to his mouth.
The shot left Crosby without a few teeth and a broken jaw, but he would return to the ice in time for the playoffs.
Crosby’s “Statue Goal”
A statue of Mario Lemieux torching two Islanders defensemen stands outside of Consol Energy Center.
During Game 5 of their 2013 playoff series against the Islanders, Crosby paid tribute to Mario.
With a 2-0 lead in a series tied 2-2, Crosby blew through the Islanders and scored an absolutely stunning goal. The Penguins would win the game 4-0 and take the series two nights later.
Hat Trick Of Awards
The 2013-14 season was one of Crosby’s most successful individual efforts.
Crosby led the league with 104 points (38 goals, 68 assists), to win the Art Ross Trophy.
For his efforts, he also won the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player. It was the first time he had won the award since the 2006-07 season.
To complete the trifecta, Crosby also won the Ted Lindsay Award, which is given to the NHL’s most outstanding player as voted on by the NHLPA.
Goal No. 300
Sid’s 300th career goal game against the hated Philadelphia Flyers on April 1, 2015.
Crosby won a faceoff in the offensive zone back to Ian Cole. Cole elected to fire the puck on goal and got the shot through to goaltender Chris Mason.
Mason made the stop through traffic, but Crosby was there for the rebound and flipped it home for No. 300.
Thanks for the memories so far, Sid. We’re all looking forward to what you have in store for the future!MORE NEWS: Steelers Will Not Hold Training Camp At Saint Vincent College This Year