PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As the decade comes to a close, it is time to look back over the last ten years of Pittsburgh Sports.
There are many memorable plays, highlight and moments from the past year, but here is a look at the top five memories from the decade.
5. Sidney Crosby’s Comeback
2010-2011 was the start of what was going to be a huge season for Crosby, but it all came to a screeching halt after hits to the head in back-to-back games from Dave Steckel and Victor Hedman of the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning respectively. Crosby missed the rest of the season with concussion-like symptoms. Despite Crosby’s injury and absence for the final 41 games of the season, he finished as the Penguins’ leading scorer. His 66 points in 41 games were 16 points ahead of the second-highest team scorer, defenseman Kris Letang. That set an NHL record for fewest games played by an NHL team’s points leader. Crosby missed the start of the 2011-12 season with lingering concussion-like symptoms for the first 20 games. He would eventually return to the lineup against the New York Islanders and scored two goals and two assists on November 21st. After seven games, the concussion symptoms returned and Crosby would sit out until March 15th 2012.
4. Pirates “Buctober” and three consecutive playoff appearances
After 21 long years, the Pittsburgh Pirates finally returned to the postseason in 2013, a Wild Card Home Game against the Cincinnati Reds. That matchup will always be remembered as the Cueto game, as Reds starter Johnny Cueto was rattled by the PNC Park crowd, dropping the ball on the mound. He then gave up a solo blast on the next pitch to Russell Martin. The Bucs would advance and lose to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013, and had no success in the Wild Card game in 2014 and 2015, losing to the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs.
3. James Conner beats cancer at Pitt, drafted by Pittsburgh Steelers
The Erie, Pa. native came south to play football for the Pitt Panthers and instantly became a fan-favorite. In 2014, he was named ACC Player of the Year for his efforts after leading the conference in rushing yards. His 2015 season was abbreviated because of a torn MCL, but that may have saved his life. While being treated for the tear, doctors discovered Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in his body and immediately began treatment. He was marked as cancer-free in the offseason, and came back to play for the Panthers in 2016. He was then selected in the 2017 NFL Draft in the third round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he became a Pro Bowler in his second season with the team.
2. Antonio Brown’s career years with the Steelers
Antonio Brown has been nothing but a sore spot for Steelers fans since his departure in the Spring of 2019, but the superstar receiver’s productivity with Pittsburgh can not be forgotten. He easily rose to prominence as one of the top wideouts to ever play in the NFL. From 2013-2018, Brown put up over 9,000 receiving yards, which is more than any other player in a span of six years in NFL history. It may not have led to many playoff wins or any Super Bowls, but Brown’s career with the Steelers may never be replicated by a player again.
1. Back-to-back Stanley Cups for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017
The Pittsburgh Penguins hold the top spot in this countdown with two historic Stanley Cup runs in 2016 and 2017. The core of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kuntiz, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury earned titles titles two and three with the Pens during that run. Head Coach Mike Sullivan took control of the team in late 2015, with a young star in Matt Murray handling goal with Fleury. Patric Hornqvist, Nick Bonino, Brian Dumoulin and others all sparked the great and tough run. The Pens beat the San Jose Sharks in 2016 and the Nashville Predators in 2017.
These are just a few of plenty of memorable moments from the last decade. After reflection on the past 10 years, the City of Pittsburgh is ready to turn the page to a new decade starting in 2020!