Going into the first weekend of August, it’s in fact Sidney Crosby time. It’s the time of yr the place Sid and Nathan MacKinnon are getting busy on their promotional shoots (no point out but if Crosby has been enthusiastically celebrating his bud’s achievement) and it is also his birthday.
Dating again to 2014 and 2017 and probably even past, Crosby’s chase of Mario Lemieux’s 1,723 level complete has at all times captivated me. The careers of each stars have had so many stops and begins and unlucky derailments that you simply by no means know what may have occurred for both.
Crosby at 1,118 present NHL video games has lengthy surpassed Lemieux’s 915 recreation profession. No matter what number of instances you see it or notice you perceive the statistic, it’s nonetheless jarring each time to see that Mario Lemieux’s profession provides up to solely a bit over 11 full seasons in its totality. Such was his harm, sickness and different limiting situations.
In that sense, these two are operating totally different races. Lemieux’s talent, energy and manufacturing in the broad open ’80s and early ’90s towards goalies who seemed like your child brother will perpetually be unmatched. I imply Mario scored 690 objectives in these 915 video games, numbers that simply do not make sense to the trendy thoughts.
Anyways, greater than ever (knock on wooden) it appears to be like like Crosby will shut in and ultimately surpass Lemieux’s profession totals as effectively. I made a chart, with the participant’s age and level complete at the backside. Easily sufficient, each have low season birthdays, which makes it pretty straightforward to monitor them per season.
Crosby’s profession began a yr earlier by age, however by the conclusion of every of their age-22 seasons Mario had inched forward in complete factors (516-506). If you actually hone in on that blue line, the angle of Lemieux from age 21-23 is so scary, it is virtually vertical with the price of simply what number of factors he was gathering on this time interval. Thus, in a blink of an eye fixed in 4 seasons, Lemieux had virtually doubled-up to 1,014 factors and Crosby’s profession hit his troubles.
By the finish of every age-27 season, Lemieux had 321 extra factors than Crosby at the similar level in his profession (1,174-853). Even by the finish of age-31, the hole was 278 in Mario’s favor (1,494-1,216).
However, this was the turning level, since Lemieux was retired from 1997-2000, sitting out his age 31-34 seasons. These years of inactivity (alongside together with his age-29 years in 1994-95, the place Lemieux missed the total marketing campaign) are in all probability the solely purpose that Crosby will at some point take over first place in the franchise ledger.
To put issues in perspective, Mario Lemieux was 35 when he returned in December 2000 again to the ice. Sidney Crosby turns 35 on Sunday. That’s a thoughts warp, is not it?
At this level, by means of age-34 seasons of each stars, Crosby has 1,409 complete factors. Lemieux at this level of his profession was at 1,494, giving him an 85 level cushion over the present captain.
From right here on out, Lemieux solely scored 229 factors over the remainder of his NHL profession, giving him only a complete of 313 factors for Sid to go till tying Mario.
Lemieux nonetheless put up one heck of an ideal age-35 season in half a yr (scoring 76 factors in 43 video games) and was one in every of the league’s finest gamers at age-37 the place he scored 91 factors in 67 video games (adequate for second in factors/recreation in the entire league that season).
Reading the above has to make one looking forward to the closing days of Evgeni Malkin (who celebrated his thirty sixth birthday final week) and Crosby. Lemieux was nonetheless a dominant participant by means of age-37, and then the accumulation of hip and again accidents had largely robbed him of the capability to get round the ice to a shell of his former self.
For Crosby particularly, this needs to be excellent news and additionally a possible path to observe. If Crosby does skate in Lemieux’s tracks, he needs to be one in every of the league’s easiest offensive gamers for this season and two extra. Coincidentally or not, that additionally aligns with the time remaining on his contract.
Crosby has given tentative alerts, and particularly with Malkin and Kris Letang re-signed, that he too will in all probability play hockey longer than his present contract. That subsequent contract could be for Crosby’s age 38+ seasons, and additionally could be when he could be on tempo to cross Lemieux as the all-time main level scorer with the Penguins.
More than ever, it is trying like Crosby will get there and slowly however steadily catch up to cross the wonderful historic level totals that Lemieux rapidly compiled.
Does Crosby have one other 173 objectives in him to catch Lemieux? That is the one Penguin file at this level that No. 66 has firmly underneath management. Crosby would have to play six extra seasons and common 29 objectives in yearly to cross Lemieux. Big ask at this level, though Crosby has been averaging about that many as of late (31 final season in simply 69 video games).
The assists mark might be the first one to fall, with Mario at the moment sitting at 141 above Crosby. In or regular, non-pandemic yr, Crosby has been piling up 50-60 helpers per season, it isn’t tough to see this main Lemieux mark falling to Crosby inside three seasons.
The factors mark is effectively inside Crosby’s sights at this level, ought to he find a way and proceed to log the video games wanted to get there. At 314 factors to overtake Mario, Crosby would “solely” have to common scoring 63 factors over the subsequent 5 seasons to surpass Lemieux in factors. If Crosby does play for six extra seasons as he instructed pretty informally and off-handedly, it turns into that rather more of a slam dunk that he might be the most prolific Penguin level scorer of all time.
Many thought Lemieux’s franchise file for level totals would by no means fall, and he’s eighth general in NHL scoring, in any case. That simply exhibits how loopy and particular Crosby’s profession has been, particularly after overcoming all the adversity that robbed him of many video games and factors in his prime.
That stated, if Crosby performs the six extra seasons, and if he can common 65 factors per yr to go in his profession, that places him on a course for 1,800 profession factors. That would narrowly cross Ron Francis (1,798) and get Sid up to fifth place in all-time NHL scoring behind Gretzky, Jagr, Messier and Howe.
Crosby’s enjoying profession is nearer to the finish than the starting when he sees 35 candles on his cake this weekend, however over the subsequent few years he’ll doubtless proceed to set up his legacy as one in every of the small handful of the biggest gamers of any technology that the sport has seen.