Sidney Crosby was still the same old Sidney Crosby even in strange times.
The 2020-21 NHL Season is officially underway and, while this whole year will be unprecedented, you can always rely on Sidney Crosby to provide us all with some familiarity.
Yes, in the opening game of the season between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers, Crosby quickly reminded us all why he’s the best of the best. With his team a goal down in the second and on the power play, peak Crosby came to play.
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With the puck dumped in, Flyers goaltender Carter Hart attempted to play it but completely fluffed his lines and played the puck to Crosby who, as he has the unique ability to do, showed insane hand-eye coordination skills to somehow control the puck before backhanding it into the net. Just incredible.
Granted, the Penguins were eventually blown out in a 6-3 loss to a Flyers team that look to be at the peak of their powers already, and there was also plenty of snarl and tenacity between these two rivals.
However, it just felt nice to open up the new season by watching something we have become accustomed to over the years – Sidney Crosby doing crazy and breathtaking Sidney Crosby things. Because, let’s face it, not a lot else will be familiar this season.
As was the case back inside The Bubbles last summer, there were no fans present in the opening game of the season, although hockey is probably the best sport for made-for-TV productions, but it was still strange to open up a new year without the usual excitement and anticipation emanating from the stands.
Players arrived at games in fancy suits and an extra fashion accessory in the form of a mask, while Head Coaches behind the bench also had to cover their faces. The NHL is also now delivering daily COVID-19 updates, detailing those players who can’t play in games that night due to being involved in COVID-19 Protocol.
Even the Tampa Bay Lighting embraced the strange by unveiling their 2019-20 Stanley Cup banner to an empty arena, with no fans in the building taking somewhat of the shine off what is normally a pretty special event.
This is just going to be a weird year and, as we’ve seen already with the Dallas Stars, outbreaks and postponements should be expected and will probably quickly become the norm as they have in other sports.
Nothing will be normal about the 2020-21 NHL Season and it will no doubt go down as one of the most unique and perhaps challenging years in the rich history of the league, and we should all just embrace it at this point.
But, on a night when the NHL bravely pulled the curtain on their new normal, we were treated to some old normal thanks to the brilliance of Sidney Crosby, who can always be counted on to distract us from whatever madness is going on around us.
The Pittsburgh Penguins Captain is one of the best players to ever lace them up in the NHL, and moments like the one he produced in the second-period against the Flyers remind us of his genius and why we should never take him for granted.
And Crosby also has a liking for Opening Night with his goal tonight his 15th point (7 G, 8 A) in career Opening Night games, which isn’t bad at all and it is just further proof that, while everything else in the NHL may seem weird and different this season, at least we can always rely on Sidney Crosby to be the same old, brilliant Sidney Crosby.