Video: A decade of Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin

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Both players have experienced ups and downs – whether from injuries or disappointments – but overall, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin deliver over and over again.

With Connor McDavid and other young guns infiltrating the rankings, it’s remarkable that the faces of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals are still going strong.

Wednesday presents another chapter in their rivalry, which is – prepare to feel old – now at the decade mark.

The video above celebrates what this rivalry’s meant, what it continues to mean and what we might see next.

Does anyone else get a “Friday Night Lights” feel at times while watching it, by the way?

Sidney Crosby is still on fire; Penguins blank Sharks

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Plenty of Pittsburgh Penguins deserve credit as the team is really heating up, but the hottest streak belongs to the most obvious catalyst: Sidney Crosby.

As of this writing, the Penguins lead the San Jose Sharks 5-0 in what was a lopsided rematch of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Crosby – the guy who you may remember as the 2016 Conn Smythe winner – now has eight goals in six games after firing in two on Saturday. He now has three multi-goal games in his last four contests (six goals, one assist).

Ridiculous, right?

Here’s his first of the night:

And his second, a one-handed sensation:

So, yeah, he might still be the best player in the world, and the Penguins are impressive with him back in the mix.

Concussions have made Sidney Crosby’s career a story of ‘what ifs’

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It was announced on Monday that Pittsburgh Penguins captain is sidelined for the time being with a concussion. At this point we do not know much beyond that.

We don’t know when exactly it happened (coach Mike Sullivan said at some point in practice on Friday), how it happened, or how long it could potentially keep him out of the Penguins’ lineup.

Even without knowing the exact specifics, given how much time Crosby has already missed in his career due to a concussion it has to be a huge concern for both his health and his career.

Because of the previous issues, which all started during the week of the 2011 Winter Classic in Pittsburgh when he took hits to the head from Dave Steckel and Victor Hedman in consecutive games, we already missed the chance to fully see what Crosby was going to be capable of in the NHL during what should have been his peak years in the league. If you buy into the belief that scorers produce at their peak levels between the ages of 23 and 25 (and there is plenty of evidence to suggest they do) Crosby was only able to play 99 out of a possible 212 games during that stretch due to complications from injury and a half season lockout.

It has already helped make his career one of the all-time great “what-if” careers in hockey.

When he was on the ice during those seasons he was scoring at a pace that was at a completely different level from every player in hockey. For those three years he averaged 1.61 points per game. Among the players that played in at least 50 games during those three years, nobody else averaged more than 1.20 points per game. The gap between him and the No. 2 scorer (his teammate, Evgeni Malkin) was the same as the gap between the No. 2 scorer and the No. 49 scorer. It probably cost him a couple of more scoring titles, maybe an MVP award, and perhaps even another Stanley Cup.

When he finally returned, there was always the concern that it would be an issue going forward. When his scoring numbers started to drop (probably due to the fact he was simply getting older than anything else) there always seemed to be a discussion that the concussion “changed” him or the way he played.

But as he remained on the ice and was able to play full seasons, those concerns started to get pushed to the back burner, especially as he started to dominate the NHL again.

Over those three years he added another scoring title and MVP award to his resume, and then won a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy this past season. He added to the list of achievements this September when he led Canada to a World Cup of Hockey championship.

Now that he has climbed back to the top of the hockey world and was in the middle of what might have been one of the most successful years of his career, he has another concussion.

And with that returns the concern for his long-term health and the impact it could have on him as a person and player.

Sidney Crosby diagnosed with concussion

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Sidney Crosby, in the midst of arguably the most successful year of his NHL career, has been dealt a significant blow — on Monday, the Penguins announced he’s been diagnosed with a concussion.

More, from the club:

Crosby sat out Saturday’s preseason game vs. Columbus because he was not feeling well, and missed practice today to undergo concussion testing.

Crosby’s status will be updated when more information is available. The Penguins open the regular season Thursday night against Washington at PPG Paints Arena.

Sullivan added that Crosby’s concussion occurred on Friday at practice.

Crosby’s history with concussions is well documented. He missed 11 months of action in 2011 after suffering one during the Winter Classic, briefly returned, then sat out another significant length of time dealing with post-concussion symptoms.

He told reporters that, during what was a slow and lengthy recovery, he wondered if his playing days were over.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I thought about it,” Crosby said, per the Globe and Mail.

Crosby, 29, captured the second Stanley Cup of his career in June, winning the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP. He then captained Team Canada to gold at the recently-wrapped World Cup of Hockey, and picked up MVP honors at that tournament as well.

Sidney Crosby keeps piling up unanimous honors

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Sidney Crosby is on top of the hockey world right now.

TSN’s top 50 players list provides the latest example. Crosby wasn’t just the No. 1 choice for the network’s list; he was the unanimous choice.

It’s quite the impressive honor, but far from unusual as Crosby brings in an astounding mix of personal and team accolades.

The fun began when Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins roared through the 2016 postseason to win a Stanley Cup. In the process, Crosby earned Conn Smythe honors.

Moving on, Crosby was the – again that word – unanimous choice for World Cup of Hockey MVP after Canada stomped through the tournament. TSN notes the unquestioned greatness he’s enjoyed lately, between their poll and the polling from the World Cup:

He was the unanimous choice – 10 of 10 – for World Cup MVP. One day later, Crosby was the unanimous choice in our poll, making him 30 for 30 in the space of 24 hours.

Yeah, that’s pretty convincing.

Even after facing him in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, Logan Couture couldn’t help but lavish Crosby with praise after the World Cup.

“He really is the best player in the world,” Couture said, via the CBC. “It’s fun just to be able to watch him every day.”

Couture is just one of many people around the sport who can’t help but be awed by No. 87.

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Crosby’s 2015-16 season stands as quite the testament to how perceptions can change. Earlier in the season, he was struggling to score and saw the Penguins fire their head coach.

In retrospect, Mike Sullivan’s system gelled far better with what Crosby & Co. needed to do to succeed, and the results came.

Injuries and other issues remind us that it isn’t always easy for Crosby. Right now, though, there’s very little disagreement about where the superstar stands.

(Until we see the comments, maybe.)