It’s Time to Appreciate the Greatness of Sidney Crosby

With the Penguins in position to capture the Stanley Cup at home on Thursday, their captain, Sidney Crosby, will inevitably further cement his status as one of hockey’s all-time greats with a victory.

Crosby has been the NHL’s top star for over a decade and when it comes to perception from fans, there is no medium among the camps. It’s often you either love Crosby or you hate Crosby and those who hate him, will say the same things that were said about previous greats. He’s often accused of being a whiner or getting the calls or he’s apparently not as good as a previous legend whose talent is always embellished by our sense of nostalgia.

The greats are never quite as appreciated until we no longer have the ability to see them perform. Crosby is the best of his generation despite critics and fans many attempts to try and anoint others with that honor.

Also: 7 Reasons You Should Be Watching The 2016 Stanley Cup Finals

If Crosby never played another game, he’d be in the Hall of Fame without question. However, this Stanley Cup series against the Sharks, which Crosby has already tallied 17 points this postseason, is a necessary obstacle that must be conquered in order to add to Crosby’s resume and to determine how his legacy will be remembered. This isn’t like the issue with Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin needing a ring to get the monkey off his back. No. Crosby has an abundance of accolades including two Hart Memorial Trophy awards, two Olympic gold medals and a lone Stanley Cup championship from the 2009 season.

It’s Crosby’s third trip to the finals and it took seven years for him and the Penguins to get back to this stage. now, he’s playing like a man possessed. He’s all over the ice, winning face-offs, setting up his teammates with goals, frustrating the Sharks, who are trying to constantly check him, and he’s even blocking shots. His play has opened up everything for his teammates and it’s a large reason why the Penguins have been in complete control in the Stanley Cup Finals and are now up 3-1 in the series.

A second Stanley Cup ring for Crosby and a fourth one for the Penguins will be an extraordinary comeback considering the franchise was sitting in fifth place in their division in mid-December. Now, with a new coach and a rookie goalie in net, Crosby has the chance to head the ship of one of the most unlikely comeback stories in hockey.

If fate allows it, when Crosby hoists the Cup high to the heavens, whether you love him or you hate him his legacy with the Hockey Gods will have been decided.

All photos courtesy of NHL.

Joshua Caudill is a writer for CraveOnline Sports, a hockey fanatic, a pro wrestling connoisseur and an expert on all things Patrick Swayze. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshuaCaudill85 or “like”CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.