On Wednesday, Crosby turned 32 years old. Here are the top 32 moments that have shaped the now-32-year-old’s career.Ranking the ‘Next Ones’: Top 50 prospects in NHL pipelines for 2019-201. Gold medal goal vs. USA — 2010 OlympicsCanada has won every international, true best-on-best hockey tournament (with NHL players) since 2006. But it’s a stretch that nearly came to an end in 2010 at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver when the United States pushed the host Canadians to the limit. After a surprise victory in the group stages against Canada, the U.S. and its northern rivals met again in the championship game, with a chance for Canada to avenge its only tournament loss and clinch gold on home ice. The teams would need overtime to decide a winner, though, and that set the stage for Crosby to play the role of Canadian hero.2. Crosby leads Penguins to second straight Stanley Cup, wins Conn Smythe trophy againCrosby joined very rare company when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the Penguins captain as the 2017 playoff’s most valuable player. Following the Penguins winning their second consecutive Stanley Cup, Crosby was again awarded the Conn Smythe, making him one of three players ever (Mario Lemieux, Bernie Parent) to win the award in consecutive years.3. Crosby wins 2016 World Cup of Hockey MVPCanada’s recent dominance atop the hockey world has coincided with Crosby’s reign as the game’s best player. Most recently, he captained Canada to gold at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, the rebooted best-on-best tournament that featured perhaps the most talented pool of players in an international tournament in hockey history. Crosby scored three goals and added seven assists in six tournament games, including two assists in Canada’s gold medal victory against Team Europe.Free agency frenzy: Complete list of all 31 teams’ UFA, RFA players4. Crosby wins second Stanley Cup, assists on series-clinching goalAfter reaching the Stanley Cup Final in consecutive years in 2008 and 2009, the Penguins and Crosby didn’t make the championship series again until 2016. Matched up against the Sharks, the two teams played an entertaining, back-and-forth series that featured three one-goal games and two overtime games. Two games that were decided by two goals each featured an empty-net goal. And in Game 6, a 3-1 Penguins victory at SAP Center, Crosby helped set up the Stanley Cup-winning goal. Pittsburgh led 1-0 in the second period before the Sharks tied the game. But 79 seconds after Logan Couture scored, Crosby found defenseman Kris Letang who beat Martin Jones, making it 2-1, to help Pittsburgh end its seven-year Cup drought.5. Crosby wins first Cup — 2009 vs. Red WingsCrosby’s rise to the NHL was meteoric. Along with Evgeni Malkin, he instantly helped the Penguins get back to the playoffs. A year after both players made their NHL debut, the Penguins qualified for the 2007 postseason. In 2008, the Penguins made it all the way to the Stanley Cup, where they ran into the Red Wings and lost in six games. But a year later, Crosby and the Penguins were right back in the Cup Final, again pitted against the Red Wings. In the rematch, it was Crosby and Co. who got the better of Detroit, taking the series 4-3. Crosby produced the bulk of his playoff scoring prior to the Detroit series, with 28 points in 17 games. He finished the Cup Final with a goal and two assists going up against Hall of Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom.Phil Kessel excited to begin next phase in Arizona: ‘I think it’s going to be great’6. Crosby out-muscles four Canadiens, scores falling down — March 16, 2007Crosby has scored plenty of highlight-reel goals during his career, but this one against the Canadiens was especially special. After skating into a crowd of four Montreal players, Crosby muscled his way into a pocket of open ice and, while falling down, swatted the puck past David Aebischer (the top play in the video below).7. Crosby-Ovechkin double-hat trick playoff game — May 4, 2009Crosby’s foil since he was selected first in the 2005 NHL Draft has been Alex Ovechkin. Taken with the first pick by the Capitals a year earlier, Crosby and Ovechkin debuted the same year following the 2005 lockout. The two superstars have always been compared to each other, marketed next to each other, and each matchup — in the NHL or internationally — the narrative is always Crosby vs. Ovechkin.Florida Panthers retool lineup, should make deep playoff run in 2019-20That all came to a fever pitch in 2009 when the Penguins and Capitals met in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in either player’s career. With the hockey world hoping each player would elevate his game and continue to grow the profile of the rivalry, they did just that in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. Both players registered a hat trick, but Ovechkin’s Capitals won the game in what instantly became known as one of the great offensive duels of all time. Crosby’s Penguins would get the last laugh though, winning the series 4-3 and going on to win the Stanley Cup.8. Shootout winner at Winter Classic in Buffalo — Jan. 1, 2008In 2007, the NHL announced it would be taking hockey outdoors with its inaugural Winter Classic. The New Year’s Day game in its first iteration pitted the Sabres against Crosby and the Penguins at then-Ralph Wilson Stadium. It wasn’t the first outdoor game in league history, but a major marketing and brand push to create an outdoor series that has grown over the past nine years. In what became a storybook backdrop for NBC, snow fell as both teams played to a 1-1 tie at the end of regulation. After neither team was able to score in overtime, the first Winter Classic went to a shootout. With a chance to win the game for Pittsburgh, Crosby hopped over the boards to take his attempt on goaltender Ryan Miller. As he slowly skated toward goal, it was difficult to tell whether it was the elements or Crosby himself who dictated the pace, but a few quick stickhandles later and Crosby beat Miller, giving the Penguins a 2-1 victory.9. Crosby breaks Penguins rookie scoring recordThe expectations for Crosby’s freshman campaign in the NHL were immense. Pegged as the league’s next great star, not only was Crosby supposed to be dominant but with his expected rookie season of 2004-05 canceled due to a lockout, anticipation grew and the wait for Crosby left anxious fans to only dream about the teenage phenom wearing a Penguins jersey. Crosby did not disappoint, though, eclipsing the 100-point mark while also surpassing Mario Lemieux’s rookie record for points in a single season. Crosby and Lemieux actually started the season as teammates before an irregular heartbeat forced the Hall of Fame forward and current Penguins owner to retire. Crosby finished the season with 102 points, though it was fellow rookie Ovechkin who edged him in both the Calder Trophy voting and rookie scoring race, finishing with 106 points.MORE: Recapping what all seven Canadian teams did this offseason10. Crosby’s extended shift ends in dazzling assistOne of the qualities people often forget about Crosby is how physically strong he is. Combined with some of the best edge-work in the NHL, Crosby has the ability to pivot on the puck when being hounded by a defender, making it nearly impossible to root him out of possession.Perhaps no highlight is more emblematic of those physical tools than this assist to Letang in a 2010 playoff game against the Senators. Crosby holds onto the puck for an extended stretch despite Jason Spezza (who is four inches taller than Crosby) doing anything he can to knock him down.11. Crosby picks up 1,000th career pointIn the same vein as the play above, for all the skill Crosby possesses (and there’s no shortage in that regard), so much of his success is bred through out-working defenders in the offensive zone. Crosby picked up his 1,000th career point on a play that was very Crosby-esque, hustling to a loose puck, out-working Jets forward Blake Wheeler and gaining possession, and then finding an open teammate (Chris Kunitz) for the assist.12. Crosby loses teeth, wins game in first trip to PhillyThe immense success Crosby has experienced has made him an easy player to hate for many visiting arenas, but when it comes to the Penguins’ rivalry with the Flyers, it wasn’t going to take much for him to become an immense heel in the eyes of Philadelphia hockey.In Crosby’s very first matchup in Philadelphia, the bad blood began brewing right away when Flyers defenseman Derian Hatcher caught Crosby in the mouth with a high-stick, shattering three of his teeth. That wouldn’t be the lasting image of Crosby in his first game in Philadelphia, though. The Penguins rookie would later return with a bang, scoring the overtime winner to secure a 3-2 Pittsburgh win.13. Crosby becomes NHL, North America’s youngest scoring championIf Crosby’s 102-point rookie season was any indication, he was on his way to big things. Still just 19 years old in his sophomore year of NHL duty, Crosby accomplished something never before seen in the NHL or in professional North American sports. In an encore performance for the ages, Crosby recorded 120 points, becoming the youngest player to win the Art Ross and the youngest athlete in the history of North American professional sports to win a scoring title. Crosby finished with 36 goals and 84 assists; he is one of four players (Henrik Sedin, Joe Thornton, Nikita Kucherov) with an 80-assist season since the turn of the century.14. Crosby reaches 50 goals, wins first Richard trophyBy the time Crosby entered his fifth NHL season, he had plenty of hardware in his trophy case, but was still able to add a new accolade that season. For the first time in his career, Crosby reached the 50-goal plateau and, in doing so, led the NHL in goals for the first time, garnering his first Maurice Richard Trophy. Crosby shared the award with Lightning forward Steven Stamkos in an exciting race that saw both superstars finish with 51 goals, and Ovechkin nipping at their heels with 50.It truly was a competition between three all-world players that came down to the wire. On April 6, 2010, five days before the end of the regular season, all three players scored (Ovechkin scored twice), leaving Ovechkin and Crosby with 48 goals apiece and Stamkos with 47.Golden Knights sign veteran defenseman Deryk Engelland to one-year extensionTwo nights later, Stamkos scored to draw even with Crosby and Ovechkin by scoring his 48th, but the Penguins captain also tallied, pushing him back into the outright lead. The very next night, Ovechkin lit the lamp twice, giving him 50 on the season, and putting him one ahead of Crosby on the Richard leaderboard. A night after that, Stamkos scored twice, pulling him even with Ovechkin at 50, and setting up the final day of the NHL season: Stamkos 50, Ovechkin 50, Crosby 49. Stamkos scored against the Panthers, his 51st of the season. Then, in dramatic fashion, Crosby got two against the Islanders, reaching 50 for the first time in his career while drawing even with Stamkos in the dying moments of the regular season.15. Crosby splits the defense, scores against Islanders — Game 5, 2013 playoffsSometimes the guy playing offense is just really, really good.16. Crosby nets 2019 Goal of the Year finalist against McDavid— Oct. 23, 2018.It’s Sidney Crosby versus Connor McDavid. Penguins vs. Oilers. Sid did not win Fan’s Goal of the Year — he finished 1% behind McDavid in voting — but he certainly put on a show with this nifty me versus the world goal to seal the win in overtime.17. Crosby picks up first point in NHL debutThe wait was finally over when Crosby and the Penguins took the ice for against the Devils Oct. 5, 2005. After the 2004-05 season, what would have been Crosby’s rookie year, was canceled due to a lockout, Pittsburgh and its teenage wunderkind traveled to New Jersey for his first true NHL action. And though the Penguins lost, Crosby got onto the scoresheet, recording his first career NHL point with an assist early in the third period on a Mark Recchi goal.18. Crosby hits the 100/200/300 mark in the same gameCrosby has always been known as more of a playmaker than a pure goal-scorer. For his career, he’s had over 1.5 assists to every goal he’s scored. In the early stages of his fourth NHL season, Crosby hit three-round milestones on the same night in a 4-1 Penguins win over the Maple Leafs. He finished the night with a goal and three assists, in the process recording his 100th career goal, 200th assist, and 300th point (Crosby entered the night with a line of 99-99-198). Malkin, Crosby’s linemate that night, also notched four assists, seeing him reach the 200-point plateau for his career.Crosby’s 100th goal came via a Malkin assist, his 200th point. To eliminate any ownership issues, Crosby had the Penguins training staff cut the keepsake puck in half.NHL free agent tracker: Full list of signings, best available players19. Crosby named Penguins captain — May 31, 2007It didn’t take long for Sid the Kid to become Sid the Captain, and when Crosby’s jersey got a ‘C’ stitched on the right breast, he also set a record in the process. At the conclusion of his second season, the Penguins named Crosby their 15th captain in franchise history. After becoming the youngest player in NHL history to win a scoring title, Crosby became the league’s youngest-ever captain, bestowed the honor at 19 years at 297 days old, edging out Vincent Lecavalier, who was named the Lightning captain at 19 years, 324 days in 2000. Two players (Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid) have since surpassed Crosby as younger NHL captains.20. Crosby goes swinging against the StarsCrosby missed the first six games of the 2016-17 season due to a concussion suffered in practice. For a player who missed so much time previously in his career due to head injuries, it was a scary omen that certainly raised questions about Crosby’s long-term health and his status moving forward. But once Crosby got back on the ice, he left little doubt about how effective he could be and in his current condition.A torrid start saw Crosby score 26 goals in 31 games, including this piece of hand-eye coordination against the Dallas Stars.21. Crosby becomes youngest to record 100 points in a season — April 17, 2006Hype be damned, Crosby spent his teenage years making all the scouts and pundits and prognosticators look pretty smart. In his first tour of NHL duty, Crosby became the youngest player in the history of the league to reach 100 points in a single season, doing so at 18 years and 253 days old.22. Crosby breaks in and scores with one hand against SabresTwo-handed goals are so 2016.23. Crosby scores falling down against PanthersThe true mark of a difference-maker in the NHL can be his ability to score a goal from the most pedestrian looking play. Crosby split the defense and, while falling down, turned nothing into something.24. Crosby’s first-career hat trick — Oct. 28, 2006In the early stages of his career, Crosby was very unkind to the Flyers. His first game in Philadelphia ended with him scoring the overtime winner. Early in his second season, Crosby and the Penguins traveled to the Wachovia Center (now the Wells Fargo Center) for the teams’ first matchup of the 2006-07 season. Crosby and the Penguins easily won the game, 8-2, and Crosby had his name all over the scoresheet, completing his first-career hat trick midway through the second period. St. Louis, the Blues and the Stanley Cup come together in perfect harmony25. Crosby returns after missing nearly a year, scores twiceCrosby was already at the top of the NHL when the calendar turned over to 2011, and it looked like the league’s top player was somehow taking his game to yet another level. In the first 38 games of that season, Crosby couldn’t stop scoring, racking up 32 goals and 33 assists in Pittsburgh’s first 38 games. But everything changed with a very scary play in the 2011 Winter Classic when the Penguins faced Ovechkin and the rival Capitals. Skating through the middle of the ice, Crosby took a high hit from the Capitals’ Dave Steckel that knocked Crosby out of the game. Though he played four nights later in Tampa Bay, it would be Crosby’s final action for a 10-and-a-half month stretch when he was sidelined with a concussion. Crosby’s return to the ice though inspired confidence that the health scare was behind him, when he scored twice against the Islanders in a 5-0 Penguins victory. 26. Crosby surpasses JagrWe all knew it would happen, and on March 2, 2019, it finally did: Crosby scores career goal No. 440 and jumps ahead of Jaromir Jagr on the Penguins all-time goals list. Of course, Sid moved into the No. 2 spot with some flare as he netted the goal just 21 seconds into the contest with a sweet little redirect past Canadiens netminder Carey Price (who turns 32 himself on Aug. 16). Crosby passes Jagr for sole possession of second place on the all-time goals-scored list for the @penguins. pic.twitter.com/tTnXRF0dgf— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) March 3, 2019Crosby does have some work ahead of him if he wants to pass Lemieux who leads the with 690 goals during his Hall of Fame career.27. Crosby scores in bunchesWith all the buzz surrounding teenage phenoms Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews, Crosby proved this past season that he’s undoubtedly among the NHL’s top active players. Crosby had one of the best goal-scoring seasons of his career and won his second Richard trophy (and first outright), leading the NHL with 44 goals. Devils’ P.K. Subban’s top five quotes: ‘I don’t play for New York’28. Crosby’s first-career goalCrosby began his career a baby-faced 18-year-old and came sprinting out of the gate with a six-game scoring streak. But it wasn’t until his third game (real slacker) that Crosby scored his first-career goal. Though it came in a Penguins overtime loss to the Bruins, Crosby beat Hannu Toivonen (a nice piece of trivia) late in the second period to put the Penguins ahead, 6-4. Crosby, who also recorded two assists, had his first multi- and three-point games of his career. Boston would go on to win the game, 7-6.29. Crosby’s first six-point game — Dec. 13, 2006Those poor Flyers. A few months following Crosby’s first career hat trick that came at the expense of the Broad Street Bullies, his encore performance in the city of Brotherly Love was similarly heartless. Just 46 days after that milestone, Crosby and the Penguins were back at Wachovia Center and the then-19-year-old made his hat trick seem like just a warmup. The Penguins defeated the Flyers, 8-4, and Crosby had a hand in six of those scores, racking up a goal and five assists (his first five-assist game) and the first six-point game of Crosby’s career. 30. Crosby goes for 25-game point streakPrior to sustaining that concussion early in 2011, it seemed more likely than not Crosby would factor into the scoring every time he touched the ice. Not only did he record 66 points in 41 games, but he was held scoreless in only six of those. Included in all of that was a 25-game point streak from Nov. 5-Dec. 28, a 50-point outburst that featured 26 and 24 assists. Over the 25 games, Crosby recorded 16 multi-point games, six multi-goal games, two hat tricks, five three-point games, and two four-point games. He took 98 shots, scoring on a remarkable 26.5 percent of them. Taking 570 shifts over those 25 games, Crosby recorded a point on nearly nine percent of them. It was truly an unheralded offensive stretch for this era of hockey.San Jose Sharks as sharks . . . it’s a thing31. Sid goes triple-goldCrosby joined elite company in 2015 at the IIHF World Championship. Already with a Stanley Cup and Olympic gold medal to his name, Crosby and the rest of Team Canada traveled to the Czech Republic, looking to end an eight-year gold medal drought in the tournament. With Crosby serving as captain, Canada flexed its international hockey muscles, out-scoring opponents 49-14 in the seven group games and 17-1 in the three knockout rounds. Canada defeated Russia 6-1 in the championship game, and Crosby had a goal and an assist in the winning effort. Crosby became the first player to join the triple-gold club (Stanley Cup, and Olympic and IIHF gold), having captained all three teams, and finished the tournament with 11 points in nine games. In some ways, it’s hard to believe Sidney Crosby is already 32 years old, and in others, it’s hard to believe he’s only 32. The 2019-20 season, in which he could win his fourth (!) Stanley Cup, will be Crosby’s 15th in the NHL.But Crosby also debuted as an 18-year-old all the way back in 2005. Over the past 14 years, he’s gone from one of the most highly anticipated players to ever reach the NHL to cementing his legacy as one of hockey’s all-time greats. 32. Crosby scores first for second goldCanada dominated the 2014 Winter Olympics, and did so without the goal-scoring services of Crosby, for the most part. Despite Crosby being held without a goal in Canada’s first five games, the defending Olympic champions were still rolling, outscoring their opponents 14-3. But Crosby came through in the tournament’s biggest moment, giving Canada an insurance tally against Sweden and a 2-0 lead in the second period. Crosby broke in all alone on Henrik Lundqvist before sliding the puck past his left skate, his first goal of the 2014 tournament.
Many fans were still struggling to understand the idea behind the Nations League as it got under way. Even the players were too, with England defender Harry Maguire admitting last week: “It is confusing, but we are trying to get our heads round it.” But while the process that offers up qualifying berths for Euro 2020 is not entirely straightforward, the basic concept of promotion and relegation is easier to comprehend. It is also an exciting and overdue addition to international football. Replacing meaningless friendly matches, marred by endless substitutions, with competitive matches between well-matched teams is already proving a great move by UEFA.England defender Harry Maguire has hopefully now got his head around the Nations League concept © AFP / Paul ELLIS– France riding crest of a wave –Didier Deschamps’ decision to keep faith with the team that won the World Cup final in July — with the exception of Alphonse Areola replacing the injured Hugo Lloris in goal — paid off as France returned to action with a 0-0 draw in Germany and a 2-1 win at home to the Netherlands. They are obvious contenders to win the inaugural Nations League title, with a four-team final tournament to be played next June, but the priority here was celebrating their World Cup success with their fans. The scenes at the Stade de France after Sunday’s win over the Dutch, as Deschamps’ young side partied with adoring supporters, showed the extent to which Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and co. are now national heroes.Kylian Mbappe and his France teammates parade the World Cup trophy after their win over the Netherlands © AFP / FRANCK FIFE– Spain recover mojo –Watching Spain’s scintillating display in their 6-0 demolition of Croatia on Tuesday and it was impossible not to think back to their performance against Russia at the World Cup, when they bowed out on penalties. Luis Enrique’s side, containing a blend of old and new faces, played at a frightening tempo and with a more direct style that was in stark contrast with the sleep-inducing sideways passing that put paid to their World Cup dreams. Crushing the World Cup runners-up, three days after beating England at Wembley, was a reminder that Spain are still right up there with the best teams on the planet.– Croatia struggle to build on World Cup –Just two months after reaching the World Cup final, Croatia were humbled in a 6-0 thrashing in Spain, despite starting six of the players who took on France in Moscow. Strength in depth looks to be an issue, with Ivan Santini a downgrade on the retired Mario Mandzukic, and the defence was taken apart without the injured Dejan Lovren and goalkeeper Danijel Subasic. Zlatko Dalic’s men next face a rematch of their World Cup semi-final against England, needing a quick response to quell any thoughts that they may have been one-tournament wonders.– Mancini yet to make mark –Roberto Mancini has a big job on his hands trying to revive Italy’s fortunes © AFP / Francisco LEONGItaly’s performances in labouring to a draw with Poland and losing in Portugal showed that the four-time World Cup winners remain a shadow of their former selves. Roberto Mancini is trying to revive the Azzurri after their failure to qualify for this year’s World Cup, but it seems the crisis is only deepening. Could relegation from the top tier of the Nations League be next? “We’ll wait and see, but our objective is to form a squad for Euro 2020,” insisted Mancini.– Minnows keen to seize chance –The expansion to 24 teams saw five countries make their European Championship debut in 2016, and the advent of the Nations League will likely open the door to more newcomers for the 2020 edition. Finland, in League C, and League D trio Georgia, Luxembourg and Macedonia took maximum points from their opening two games to underpin their hopes of reaching the play-offs that will determine the final four qualifiers. Kosovo also top their section after claiming a first competitive win in the team’s brief history by beating the Faroe Islands 2-0 on Monday.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Marco Asensio and Spain were in scintillating form against Croatia © AFP / JOSE JORDANPARIS, France, Sep 12 – After the first two rounds of fixtures in the UEFA Nations League concluded on Tuesday evening with Spain’s stunning 6-0 win over Croatia, AFP Sports takes a look at some of the key talking points from the start of the brand new competition:– A breath of fresh air –