Last night was a very special night for both the Pittsburgh Penguins franchise and for their captain, star forward Sidney Crosby.
The evening marked Crosby's 1000th game in the National Hockey League, an incredible milestone in any career, but one especially meaningful as it also made him the first player in franchise to play 1000 games as a Penguin. As you would expect, the Penguins spared no expense when it came to honoring arguably the most important player in the history of their franchise, putting together one of the best tributes you're ever going to see in the sport of hockey.
To kick it all off every player on the Penguins roster hit the ice for warm ups wearing their own #87 jersey in a tribute to Sid, and even better than that was when they all joined in on his pre game ritual. Fans in Pittsburgh have seen Crosby retie his skates many many times over the years, but having every member of the Penguins roster doing it with him made for quite the sight on the ice.
Once that was over with Crosby was asked to join his girlfriend Kathy who stepped out onto the ice via a red carpet, and the two then stood together as the Penguins began to play an emotional video tribute to their captain. The video featured all that you would expect including messages from Crosby's family and teammates and highlights from his career, but it was how his rivals contributed to the tribute that really speak to what a truly amazing player he is.
There were so many tributes from long time rivals that they couldn't all be crammed into the video played on the big screen due to time constraints, including one from arguably Crosby's greatest rival in Alexander Ovechkin.
It wasn't until a message from long time teammate Evgeni Malkin came onto the screen however that Crosby's mask broke, and the tears began to flow from his eyes. It's clear these two men have a very special connection, and Crosby would admit that it was seeing Malkin struggle in the moment that caused him to crack.
"Definitely hard to keep it together," admitted the Pens captain. "Didn't help when I looked over and saw Geno having a hard time too."
If you happened to miss the tribute last night don't worry, we've got you covered.