Examining Sidney Crosby's struggles

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crosbystruggles.jpgDuring the Ottawa Senators series, Sidney Crosby was making a case for being the consensus greatest player in the hockey world. With an absurd 14 points in only 5 games, it looked like he was going to threaten Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux for all-time playoff performances.

It only seems fair, then, that the deification that took place in the first round should give way to a fair amount of furrowed brows now that he’s colder than Todd Bertuzzi’s heart. Especially since Alex Ovechkin received so much heat when the Capitals lost to the Montreal Canadiens.

Just look at the most obvious numbers. He scored 14 points in 6 games against Ottawa. Against the Habs, Crosby has 3 points (all assists) in 4 games. He doesn’t have a single goal in the series. There are three games in the Senators series in which he matched (or exceeded) his current totals against Montreal. Crosby only has one game in which he put more than a single shot on goal (five in last night’s contest).

By no means is it time to panic, but I can’t help but wonder what’s eating Sid. He’s obviously frustrated (as one could have seen in Game 2, when he broke his stick on Jaroslav Halak’s goalpost ). He might miss Bill Guerin’s presence. Perhaps Hal Gill has the “book” on the young center.

Either way, the Penguins rely very heavily on Crosby’s offense. The salary cap structure of this team necessitates that the burden falls on Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, so as unfair as it might be, the team lives and dies with their big names. It’s time for Crosby to deliver on his constant expectations. Again.