Crosby was, of course, a hockey prodigy as an early teen. Even before that, he dented and broke his parents' washer and dryer with household slapshots. He crossed the border to Faribault, Minn., at age 15 and won a national title in his only season at Shattuck-Saint Mary's.
2 of 16Darren Carroll/SI
Crosby jumped back to Canada to play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and was the No. 1 draft pick in 2003. He won every major award in two seasons for Rimouski Oceanic and led the club to a league title in his second year.
3 of 16Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images
2005 World Juniors
Crosby's debut for the Canadian Junior Team came at 16 in 2003. But it wasn't until 2005 that he tasted success for Team Canada, beating Alexander Ovechkin and Russia 6-1 in the gold medal game.
4 of 16Jonathan Hayward/AP
2005 NHL Draft
The Penguins lucked out and drew the No. 1 pick for the 2005 draft, which was held after a strike-canceled season. Crosby, the Pens' easy choice, would live with and learn from teammate, owner and landlord Mario Lemieux as he quickly adjusted to the NHL.
5 of 16Lou Capozzola/SI
First NHL goal
Crosby notched an assist in his NHL debut, and scored two games later in the Penguins' home opener. His first season was a success -- 39 goals, 63 assists, second in the Calder Trophy voting -- but he saw Lemieux retire, coach Ed Olczyk get fired, and his team finish last in the Eastern Conference.
6 of 16Frank Gunn/AP
2007 Hart Trophy
Crosby's second season brought greater individual and team success. At 19, he had 36 goals and 120 points, winning the Art Ross (scoring), Hart (MVP) and Lester B. Pearson (NHLPA's choice for MVP) trophies. The Penguins, boosted by the addition of Evgeni Malkin, made the playoffs for the first time since 2001, but fell in the first round.
7 of 16David E. Klutho/SI; David Duprey/AP
2008 Winter Classic
A high-ankle sprain limited Crosby to 53 regular-season games in 2007-08, but he potted one of his most memorable goals on New Year's Day. The first Winter Classic, held at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, came down to a shootout and Crosby beat the Sabres' Ryan Miller for the game-winning goal. Crosby and Miller would intersect on a big stage again two years later.
8 of 16Gene J. Puskar/AP
2008 Stanley Cup Final
Crosby's ankle healed in time for the playoffs, where the Penguins rolled through the East with only two losses in three rounds. The Detroit Red Wings proved to be a much tougher test, defeating the Penguins in six games.
9 of 16David E. Klutho/SI
2009 Stanley Cup Final
Crosby and Malkin took the NHL by storm the next season, combining for 216 points. In the playoffs, they faced Ovechkin's Capitals in the East semis, prevailing in seven games. Crosby scored twice in Game 7. The Penguins reached the Stanley Cup Final again, this time defeating the Red Wings in seven games.
10 of 16Robert Beck, Damian Strohmeyer, David E. Klutho/SI
2010 Winter Olympics
Men's hockey gold was the most precious medal for the host nation at the Vancouver Games. But favored Team Canada was not the best team in preliminary play, and Crosby came under a bit of criticism. Canada recovered and reached the gold medal game against the United States. It went to overtime, where Crosby scored the golden goal against Ryan Miller.
11 of 16Keith Srakocic/AP
2011 Winter Classic
Crosby's 2010-11 season included a 25-game point streak, but it ended prematurely. He suffered hits to the head in consecutive games, beginning with the Winter Classic against the Capitals at Heinz Field. He missed the final 41 regular-season games and the Penguins' seven playoff games with concussion-like symptoms.
12 of 16Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images; Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI
The biggest question entering the 2011-12 season was when Crosby would return to game action. The Penguins took extra care with his comeback, and, after sitting out 20 games, he debuted against the Islanders at Consol Energy Center on Nov. 21. It was a spectacular night. Crosby scored less than six minutes into the game and finished with two goals and two assists in a 5-0 win.
13 of 16Nick Laham/Getty Images
Unfortunately, Crosby's concussion symptoms returned in December 2011, after only eight games. He returned in March with two assists in a 5-2 win against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. In all, he played 22 games that season, posting 37 points.
14 of 16Mary Altaffer/AP
After the NHL lockout began in Sept. 2012, Crosby worked closely with the NHLPA, speaking at press conferences and taking part in CBA negotiations. Along with Penguins co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle, Crosby was a key figure in early December sessions that restarted talks that had broken off on November 29. Though the new round ultimately collapsed, and the lockout continued until January 6, Crosby was a respected voice of moderation and conciliation.
15 of 16Gene J. Puskar/AP
Injury strikes again
Leading the league in scoring with the Penguins on a 15-game winning streak, Crosby was courting the Hart Trophy when he was struck in the face by a Brooks Orpik slap shot in a game against the Islanders. His jaw broken, Crosby needed surgery and did not return until the opening round of the playoffs.
16 of 16Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images
When Crosby appeared on the cover of the May 13, 2013 issue of SI, his Penguins were in a surprising first-round playoff battle with the underdog New York Islanders, who had tied the series at 2-2 after being blown out in Game 1. To make matters more nerve-wracking for Pens fans, he was hit in the neck with shot during Game 4, but was apparently uninjured.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!