The bad news is that Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins have really hit a brick wall scoring-wise lately.
One might argue that the good news is that these problems are cropping up in February instead of, say, April or May.
That doesn’t take away from the plain fact that things haven’t been going well for the star player or his team, at least offensively.
Crosby, 27, only has one assist in his last five games. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review points out that Crosby is averaging career-lows in points per game (1.13) and goals per contest (.33) and has failed to score a point in 19 out of 46 games this season. To give you some perspective, Crosby averages .48 goals per game and 1.38 points per contest in his NHL career.
It’s probably harsh to beat up on Crosby for still averaging a point every contest, but the Penguins are built around top-end offense, even with a renewed emphasis on depth.
The Tribune-Review also points out that Pittsburgh’s 2.9 goals per game is its worst average since drafting Crosby. He told the newspaper that it’s not all bad to hit some bumps in the road, though.
“A little bit of adversity isn’t a bad thing,” Crosby said. “We need to handle things the right way. This will be a big trip for us. We need to be consistent.
Injuries have certainly been a factor, but let’s face it: this team has had to roll with those punches for years now. Things have been troubling since the winter holidays, as they’re now 6-8-4 since Dec. 22. The more immediate struggles are most glaring (they’ve only scored two goals in their last three games), yet overall the Penguins are searching for answers.
They face a big test, which Crosby alluded to in that quote. They begin a three-game road trip through Western Canada by facing the Oilers in Edmonton tonight and also play five of their next six away from Pittsburgh.
In other words, it’s good that Crosby is welcoming some adversity, because it looks the Penguins will face some more.