SAN JOSE — For the second time in his NHL career, Sidney Crosby leaves SAP Center with a big individual award.
Crosby’s four-goal, eight-point night during the 2019 All-Star 3-on-3 tournament helped him earn MVP honors as the Metropolitan Division rolled to the $1M prize. It was three years ago that he won the first of two straight Conn Smythe Trophies after helping the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup over the San Jose Sharks. Along with the money and the trophy, he also received a 2019 Honda Pilot.
“You play in it, you watch it as a kid growing up, see the presentation, and it’s pretty cool,” the Penguins captain said afterward. “I had a lot of fun today. [I] didn’t need to win the car today to have a good time.”
Crosby is now the sixth player in NHL history to win All-Star Game MVP, the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Hart Trophy, joining Jean Beliveau, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, and Joe Sakic. He’s also the fourth Penguin to be named All-Star Game MVP, and first since Lemieux in 1990.
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Being able to take part in the All-Star Game was a relief for Crosby, who missed Friday’s All-Star Skills with an illness, something he’d been battling for a few days during the Penguins’ bye week.
“At the end of my bye week I was feeling sick and didn’t really leave the hotel room for a couple days,” he said. “I was just excited to be able to get out there, get out of the room and exercise a bit. Once I got out there I felt better than I thought. This morning I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel, but I felt a lot better than I expected. To be honest, it was just nice to get out there. The last few days have been pretty long sitting around.”
Whatever Crosby was battling internally this week didn’t stop him on the ice Saturday night. Playing with Penguins teammate Kris Letang and Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders, the trio were electric on the ice. They combined for eight of the Metropolitan Division’s 17 goals.
That on-ice success only added to the power of the SAP Center’s boos coming Crosby’s way, which he was expecting after seeing Letang’s introduction before the All-Star Skills. It probably also reminded the Sharks fans in attendance of the 2016 Final, which ended with Crosby earning the primary assist on what turned out to be the Penguins’ game-winning goal in Game 6.
“Got some great memories here, for sure,” Crosby said.
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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.