Hi Hockey Fans,

The Stanley Cup finals start tonight in Pittsburgh and Crosby will try to lead the Penguins to their fourth Stanley Cup in their team history and his second championship.

At the beginning of the season, many people were writing off Crosby due to a slow start.  However, he turned it around and third in the NHL in scoring.  Crosby is an amazing hockey player, but here’s what really differentiates him from other great players:

1.  Quick release – I talk about how important this is in today’s fast paced game.  Goaltenders are so quick and technically sound these days, so the only way you are going to beat them is with speed and precision.  This goal that Crosby scored in the first round against the Rangers shows his amazing release.  The puck is in the net before the goalie even moves his glove!

2.  Explosiveness – Sid the Kid is known for having some of the most powerful legs in the league.  As you saw in this goal against Tampa Bay in the third round, he picked up a puck in the neutral zone and shot through the Tampa Bay defenders like a bullet (plus he finishes it off with that quick release again).  This again goes hand in hand with the speed of the game.  You need to be able to create separation from defenders and get time and space in order to make plays.  The bumps and sticks just bounce off of him due to his sheer speed and power!

3.  Hockey sense – ok, it isn’t much of a secret that Sidney is one of the most cerebral players in the league.  However, it is his decision making that we can watch and learn from.  In this case, he’s on another breakaway in the second round against the Capitals (seems to be a common theme here).  However, unlike the 2 clips above where he decides to shoot, he identifies that Holtby is very far out of his net which takes away the amount of net to shoot at.  Crosby recognizes this and he freezes the goalie by holding the puck in his shooting stance and then makes a stickhandle to his backhand.  With the goaltender playing so far out, deking is the best option as there is lots of open space if you can get around the goalie.  Crosby pops the puck in with style and wins the game in overtime with a great goal.

There are plenty other things that Crosby does extremely well (watch him on faceoffs if you want to improve that part of your game), but these are a few of the areas where he excels.  We all have different strengths, but the key is to make sure you put yourself in situations where you can use them to help your team win.

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us!

And as always, if you need any hockey tips, drop me a line!