Let me begin by saying I'm not much of a hockey fan. It's not that I hate the sport like so many in America. I just have a limited amount of time to devote to sports, and hockey simply doesn't fall in the upper pantheons of my sporting interests. That's all. But, when Super Mario, Jaromir Jagr, and Kevin Stevens were scoring goals at an exhilirating clip in the early and mid 90s, I was captivated by the Penguins.
My interest in the Pens faded as the squabbling over a new arena intensified, and as Pittsburgh began to wallow in mediocrity. I regained some interest when Mario came back for one last hurrah in '02-'03. Lemieux led the Pens with 91 points that year, despite missing a number of games, and skating on one leg in many other.
Oh how fortunes have changed for the franchise and its fanbase, and most of it can be attributed to one figure: Sidney Crosby .
Hope resurfaces in Pittsburgh
I'm not going to try to talk about Crosby's greatness, because I know next to nothing about the history of the NHL. I also haven't seen him play too much, so I can't shower you with stories. I do know, however, that this kid is leading the NHL in scoring at age 19. More importantly, he has the Penguins on the brink of the playoffs, an accomplishment not reached by the organization since the 2000-2001 season.
There is something special brewing in Pittsburgh and it all starts with Sidney Crosby. If Mario can find a way to keep him in a Penguins uniform for a good chunk of his career, Penguins fans are in for one heck of a treat. He's that good already, and is only going to get better.
Anyone who has seen him play more than me, please chime in and tell me just how good he is.