Sidney Crosby finds new role on Penguins penalty kill 'fun'
Sidney Crosby is embracing his new role, even if it is one he did with regularity almost a decade ago. The Pittsburgh Penguins best player now is one of its best penalty-killers.
“It’s something I did earlier on and then not so much for a long period of time there. It’s good,” Crosby said of killing penalties. “Sometimes games, they get into special teams battles where you’re not necessarily out there when you’re having to kill a lot of penalties. It keeps you in the game. It’s a big responsibility for whoever goes out to get those kills. Those situations are fun to be in.”
Crosby is averaging more than a minute of PK time over the past 11 Penguins’ games (11 minutes, 10 seconds in that time). For perspective, that’s more than half as much penalty-killing time as he had all of last season (21 minutes, 6 seconds).
Crosby regularly killed penalties during his early 20’s. He said he’s always paid attention during team penalty-kill meetings, even if it was just as a means of better understanding techniques to benefit the Penguins’ power play. Crosby said it took “a few shifts” get re-acclimated into the role, which began again in earnest about the time the Penguins began an eight-game winning streak last month.
“The (opponents’) in-zone is a little bit different depending on who you play, trying to be aware of passing lanes and things like that,” Crosby said. “That’s still not completely comfortable yet, but as far as teams’ breakouts and things like that, there’s a lot of anticipation and reading plays and things. That comes a little bit quicker.”
The new PK role is further boosting Crosby’s burgeoning Selke Trophy candidacy as the NHL’s best defensive forward.
“I think he would be very deserving,” coach Mike Sullivan said. When people look at Sid and his game, they don’t think about his defense because he’s so dynamic offensively and always has been. But when you look at his overall game, it’s the most complete game, I think, that any player possesses. He’s the best 200-foot player in the game. We utilize him in so many situations.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at email@example.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.