Crosby cements legacy with consecutive Stanley Cup wins
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[June 12, 2017]
(Reuters) - Sidney Crosby was
hailed as "The Next One" before he played his first NHL game 12
years ago and he more than lived up to the hype on Sunday when he
lifted a third Stanley Cup to cement his place among the all-time
Crosby, who was widely considered the heir to Hall of Famer Wayne
Gretzky, silenced any remaining critics by helping his Pittsburgh
Penguins become the first team in almost 20 years to repeat as NHL
champions and picked up a second consecutive Conn Smythe Trophy as
playoff MVP as well.
"He's now one of the best to ever play the game," Penguins owner
Mario Lemieux, a two-time Stanley Cup winner as a player, said of
his former team mate. "To win three Stanley Cups and two Conn Smythe
(trophies) in a row is pretty good."
Crosby was the Penguins' second-highest scorer in the playoffs with
27 points and the 29-year-old saved his best performance for Game
Five of the Final with the series tied 2-2 and Nashville riding the
momentum of consecutive victories.
With the destiny of the Stanley Cup in the balance, a determined
Crosby delivered a dominating performance right from the opening
shift, when he rang a shot off the post while being pulled down to
the ice by a Predators defenseman.
Crosby went on to record three assists on the team's first five
goals in a 6-0 romp to become Pittsburgh's all-time leading scorer
in Stanley Cup Finals.
"He made a statement in that game," Lemieux, a Hall of Famer who is
the eighth-leading scorer in NHL history, said after winning his
third title as an owner.
"He could feel that we were getting close to winning the Cup and
that was the most important game of the season and he played like
it. He was unbelievable."
In addition to Crosby's NHL accomplishments over the last year, he
also led Canada to a World Cup of Hockey gold medal and was named
MVP in that tournament.
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Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) is presented with the Conn Smythe
Trophy after defeating the Nashville Predators in game six of the
2017 Stanley Cup Final at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit:
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
His career, which has earned him numerous individual awards, also
includes two Olympic gold medals, most notably the 2010 triumph in
which he scored the winning goal in overtime.
But Crosby remains too humble to enter the debate of where his
latest accomplishments put him in the conversation of all-time
"I don't think (it means) a whole lot. To share this with this group
of guys, that was our goal at the start of the year," said Crosby,
who is the third player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy in consecutive
"We knew (repeating as champions) hadn't been done in a long time
and to be able to accomplish it is a great feeling."
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by John O'Brien)
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