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Scoring doesn't come easy

TSN.ca Talent Blog
4/2/2008 10:36:59 PM
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Let's face it, while we've seen some spectacular goals in Crosby's 3 seasons in the NHL, goal scoring doesn't come easily for this young phenom.

He's incredibly strong on the puck and loves to battle physically.

One on one, he's hard to beat.

Among the leagues great playmakers, he might be the greatest.

However, when it comes to scoring goals, Crosby isn't great...he's good.

Gasp!!!!

A tough assessment when you factor in Crosby scored 39 times in his rookie season, followed that up with 36 goals in his sophomore year before this seasons struggle with a high ankle sprain.

Injury aside, over a full 82 game season, Crosby's pace would have produced 35 goals.

He can score, but scoring doesn't seem to come naturally.

This blog isn't a criticism, it's an observation uncovered by watching Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin or Ilya Kovalchuk shoot the puck from all locations with incredible accuracy and success.

Crosby isn't a shooter, which is why the Penguins acquired Marian Hossa, a winger capable of feeding off Crosby's creativity.

Its clear Crosby is more confident in trying to maneuver around players, creating scoring chances than he is in his shot which can be described as fair, but not heavy.  The blade of his stick is unusually straight which his head coach, Michel Therrien, says is designed for puck handling and precision passing.

Sidney's supporters would love to see him develop a selfishness most goal scorers have to shoot more and pass less.

Failing that, a tad more finish around the net will be required to push this 20 year old superstar in to the group of "great" goal scorers.

No one generates more scoring opportunities than Sidney Crosby does, with Therrien noting Crosby created 65% of the Penguins chances prior to his injury.

But, when it comes to burying those grade A chances, Crosby gets the A for average.

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Blog Update (April 2):  The reaction to this week's blog questioning Sidney Crosby's scoring touch has sparked great debate and some interesting comparisons.

I stand by the fact I believe Crosby is far more comfortable as a playmaker, but the two goals he scored in a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers helped solidify my point.

The two best chances he had, he put away.

His first of the night and 23rd of the year was a beauty as he buried a quick shot from the right side of the net on the power play.

His second, also a power play goal was mildly spectacular and embodied everything we've grown to appreciate about this young mans talents as he redirected the puck through his legs and into the net to put the Flyers away.

As you can see in my previous blog, I suggested, "a tad more finish around the net will be required to push this 20 year old superstar in to the group of 'great' goal scorers."

I'm not ready to back down because I know Crosby cherishes his role as a playmaker, but the two goals he scored in a division clinching win for the Penguins were both great goals.

We might have to revisit this topic as the postseason unfolds.

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