Sure Pittsburgh isn’t the 4th largest city in America, but tonight, all I kept playing in my head was the theme song to Welcome Back, Kotter. Yes people, Sidney Crosby made his triumphant return to hockey tonight after 320 days off the ice. I know, you probably didn’t know he was coming back tonight, as the NHL and hockey media in general really didn’t say much about it.
*insert sarcastic roll of the eyes here*
Let me preface this by saying, yes, yes I am a Penguins fan. And yes, I was excited to see him score that first goal… and second goal… oh and those two assists… but holy hockey sticks, enough already!
I know for a fact that the 15 million video montages of “Sid the Kid” have been done since last April. At the rate they were going, I thought they were going to retire #87 at the second intermission. Listening to those commentators drone on about how great Sidney is, one would think he was the second coming of Christ. I mean, really people. The Penguins weren’t playing the Capitals, they were playing the Islanders. You know, that team that wears blue and orange and are in 29th place in the league. The team that has yet to win a game on the road season. Oh, and the team that played a rookie goaltender in his FIRST NHL game a month and a half after he made his North American debut?
I like Crosby, I really do. I like watching players who are up and comers through the juniors, and I remember hearing about Crosby when he was still at Shattuck St. Marys as a high schooler. And then to my delight, he was taken under the wing of my all-time favorite player Mario Lemiuex. He’s in my top 3 for sure (behind Stamkos and my beloved Mike Commodore), but SERIOUSLY? Even this hoopla is too much for me.
I’ll say this. I was a little worried that he was going to play scared. I’m not here to name and names, however, there was once an Admiral who had his mouth wired shut for a while after taking a puck to the jaw. When he came back, he spent more time running from the puck than he did trying to get it. I was worried we’d see a similar situation with Crosby ducking hits. I was pleasantly surprised to see him take hits against the boards like a champ, makes me think that perhaps he really is ready to play hockey again.
I think it’s time to flip the channel, as I am officially maxed out on Versus commentators (I’m looking at you, Jeremy Roenick) talking about your royal highness, so I think i’ll see what they are cooking over on the Food Network. I’d rather watch Rachel Ray for a half hour than hear another word out of Roenick’s mouth about the 101 things he loves most about Sidney Crosby. ENOUGH ALREADY.
Minus the hoopla, minus Roenick irritating the lining of my ass (thank you, Jack, for that literary gem), and minus the NHL media collectively tell the world that OH MY GOSH, THE PENGUINS ARE GOING TO WIN THE CUP, I am happy to see Crosby back. I don’t think we got a completely accurate rating of what the season holds for him seeing as they played the Isles, but If he keeps up the multi-point games and stays healthy, I think the Pens can sit comfortably at the top of the league standings. Without Crosby, they ranked in the top 5, so adding Crosby to the mix is only going to make the Penguins that much better (and fun to watch).
And yes, in that graphic I made for this post, that is Gary Bettman sitting to Crosby’s left. Why? Because we all know that no one, not even Sidney himself, is as happy to have #87 back on the ice than the commish himself.