Mario Lemieux to Sidney Crosby: 'What took you so long?'
After the game in which Sidney Crosby passed him in career playoff scoring for the Penguins, Mario Lemieux had the perfect one-liner for his employee, former teammate, former tenant and friend.
"He asked me what took so long," Crosby said, laughing. "I figured it was going to be something like that. He's obviously meant a lot to me and those of us who have been here for a while, so to hear that from him was pretty typical. I got a good laugh."
Crosby had a goal and an assist Wednesday in the Penguins' 5-0 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 4 of the teams' first-round playoff series. That gave Crosby 173 career postseason points, one more than Lemiuex attained in 107 playoff games.
It took Crosby 152 games.
After practice Wednesday at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township, Crosby also reflected a bit on the 25 games he played as Lemieux's center during Crosby's rookie season.
The No. 1 overall draft pick months earlier, Crosby was 18 in the fall of 2005; already a Hall of Famer, Lemieux turned 40 the day of the season opener.
Crosby was staying at Lemieux's Sewickley house back then. Though the two weren't typically linemates under then-coach Eddie Olczyk, they spent power-play time together and on occasion Crosby centered his landlord.
"It was awesome," Crosby said. "It was a lot of fun, I still remember a couple of the goals and everything about it. It was a dream to be playing in the NHL but especially alongside him. It was only handful of games, but I just remember it being an unbelievable experience. As a young guy in the league, it doesn't get much better."
The peak of their on-ice partnership as teammates came Nov. 3, 2005, on Long Island when Lemieux assisted on two Crosby goals — both on the power play — and the pair combined to assist a Mark Recchi goal in a 5-1 victory.
It was the 13th game of Crosby's career — and the 14th-to-last game of Lemieux's career. They appeared on the scoresheet together on the same goal just three more times after Crosby finished a 2-on-1 feed from Lemieux in the third period of that win at the Islanders.
"He gave me a nice tap-in there — as he's done for a lot of guys," Crosby said. "It was nice to be able to score that one and nice to have that memory, definitely."
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.