Sidney Crosby is one of the NHL’s highest-paid and top stars. He’s been a most valuable player, most outstanding player, and multiple-time NHL champion. But like any human being, he does have his imperfections.
Despite Crosby’s long list of glorious achievements in pro hockey, he does have one glaring point on his resume that would leave any Pittsburgh Penguins fan scratching their heads. To find it, you’ll have to go all the way back to his rookie season in the NHL.
Check out this shocking stat from Sidney Crosby’s rookie year.
Sidney Crosby’s career highlights
Along with his odd choice of a pregame meal, Sidney Crosby is known for having won the Stanley Cup three times for the Pittsburgh Penguins while scoring 446 goals and 770 assists. He’s had 60 game-winning goals in his career and has racked up several awards along the way:
- Two-time winner of the Art Ross Award winner for leading NHL scorer
- Three-time winner of the Ted Lindsay Award for most outstanding player
- Two-time winner of the Conn Smythe Award for the NHL playoff MVP
Crosby’s collection of trophies, championships, and stats would make any hockey player jealous, outside of possibly Wayne Gretzky. Most of his stats prove what a great player he is and are generally indicative of an elite-level talent. But Crosby has one stat, in particular, he cannot be especially proud of.
Sidney Crosby’s shocking stat
During his rookie season of 2005-2006, Crosby put up some phenomenal stats, including:
- 39 goals
- 63 assists
- 16 power-play goals
- Five game-winning goals
- A selection to play in the NHL All-Star game
- The Calder Memorial Trophy for being the top rookie
- The Hart Memorial Trophy for most valuable player
With numbers like that, it’s no wonder he was voted the top rookie. If you tally up Crosby’s goals and assists, you’ll notice he had 102 points. But what’s shocking is that along with having 100 points, Crosby also had over 100 penalties minutes with 110.
It’s unclear why Crosby’s penalty minutes were so high that season. It could have been him adjusting to the NHL and the faster style of play. Whatever the reason, it’s pretty surprising for a player that came into the league and immediately proved he was one of the best. But what’s also surprising is that Crosby never came close to equaling that total again.
Why the penalty minutes are an outlier
When you examine Sidney Crosby’s penalty minutes over the course of his career, you’ll notice the rookie year stands out as an extreme outlier. Crosby never came close to equaling those totals in any other year.
Here are his totals following his rookie season, via Hockey Reference:
- 2006-2007: 60
- 2007-2008: 39
- 2008-2009: 76
- 2009-2010: 71
- 2010-2011: 31
- 2011-2012: 14
- 2012-2013: 16
- 2013-2014: 46
- 2014-2015: 47
- 2015-2016: 42
- 2016-2017: 24
- 2017-2018: 46
- 2018-2019: 36
Crosby got to the 70s twice in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010, but other than that the closest he came was in the 40s. He even totaled in the teens a couple of seasons.
The likely explanation for this? Crosby matured. He understood, from an early age, that he would be looked at as one of the league’s top players and therefore would need to set a good example. As a team leader, the Penguins rely on him to be on the ice for as many minutes as he can be. The more time he spends in the penalty box, the greater the disadvantage it is to the team.
It’s pretty clear that Crosby cleaned up this aspect of his game. That’s commendable. He understood the importance of staying on the ice and adjusted his game accordingly. With three Stanley Cups over his career, it’s clear that both he and the Penguins have benefitted.