Sidney Crosby joins NHL’s 1,000-point club

Sidney Crosby joins NHL's 1,000-point club

PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby is the newest member of the NHL’s 1,000-point club.

The Pittsburgh Penguins star became the 86th player in league history to reach 1,000 career points when he assisted on Chris Kunitz’s goal 6:28 into the first period on Thursday night against Winnipeg.

Crosby’s helper gave him 632 assists to go with 368 goals. Crosby reached the milestone in 757 games, making him the 12th fastest to the mark.

The sellout crowd at PPG Paints Arena erupted when Crosby outworked Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler to get to a loose puck in the left circle then slid it over to Kunitz in the slot. Kunitz powered it into the wide open net to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead, and Crosby saluted the crowd during the next stoppage in play. Crosby is the third Penguin to reach 1,000 points with the franchise, joining Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr.

The moment is not only a testament to Crosby’s brilliance but also something equally as important: longevity. It’s something the two-time Stanley Cup champion, two-time Hart Trophy winner and two-time Olympic gold medallist does not take for granted.

A collision with Washington’s David Steckel during the 2011 Winter Classic left Crosby concussed and brought the star’s career to an abrupt halt. He missed the better part of two calendar years trying to recover, and the long days in solitude left him wondering if he’d ever return to the level that made him the face of the sport.

And Crosby wasn’t the only one.

“I think there were a lot of question marks about the future and how his career would go from there,” said Buffalo Sabres coach Dan Bylsma, who coach Crosby in Pittsburgh from 2009-14. “I think in pretty short order after that two-year period of time, he got back to being the player who I think has been great for all of us to see him be, which is the best player in the league. He’s proven it again.”

Emphatically. When he was diagnosed with another concussion last October, he pleaded patience rather than anxiousness. He sat out the first six games of the season but returned with a vengeance. He leads the league in goals and is on pace to surpass his personal best of 51 he put up in 2009-10.

“When you get major injuries like he had, to battle back, it’s not easy,” San Jose captain Joe Thornton said. “Concussions, you know, yeah, you don’t know if you’re going to come back or not.”

The puck from his 1,000th point will eventually end up in the hands of Crosby’s father Troy, the designated curator of his son’s ever increasing cache of memorabilia. It’s a decision they made together after Crosby admittedly did little to keep track of things when he piled up achievements at a ridiculous rate when he literally was Sid the Kid.

He’s become more appreciative of them as they come. Even though he’s still firmly in his prime at 29, he’s well aware that nothing is guaranteed.

“I understand that when you get to those numbers as you get older, only so many cracks you have at certain ones like that,” Crosby said last week.

So Crosby will skate on, relieved that the countdown to 1,000 is over and eager to get back to his real mission: defending the Stanley Cup he led the Penguins to last June.

___

AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow in Buffalo contributed to this report.

Will Graves, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Telephone poles placed in centre of sidewalk angers West Kelowna watchdog

Audience Group calls placement of poles in new Boucherie Road upgrade project ‘idiocy’

Kelowna asking public to help update its Cultural Plan

Second survey this year to posted to gather public input about cultural programs and services

Three candidates drop out of Central Okanagan municipal election

Two running for Peachland/OK West trustee and OK East rural director candidate step aside

West Kelowna water warning downgraded

City lowers boil water notice for Lakeview water system to a water quality advisory

Ancestral remains uncovered at Fintry to be reburied

Remains found along Shorts Creek in Fintry Provincial Park during flood remediation measures

Your weekend weather update

Rain continues to move right across the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

Low risk associated with case of pneumococcal disease in the South Okanagan

No identified risk to the public from recent case of pneumococcal disease with associated meningitis

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

Most Read