No playoff beard but Crosby still razor sharp

By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - Sidney Crosby has achieved more hockey success in the past year than some players do in a career but the Pittsburgh Penguins captain still comes up short with the annual playoff tradition of growing a beard.

Since the early 1980s many players have refrained from shaving with their team in the playoffs, only reaching for a razor when they were eliminated or had won the Stanley Cup.

No matter how hard 22-year-old 'Sid the Kid' tries, or how deep his team go into the playoffs, he cannot grow much more than some patches of peach fuzz that make him look like a boy with a dirty face.

That is just about the only area where Crosby, the first overall draft pick by Pittsburgh in 2005, has failed to excel.

Last June Crosby became the youngest captain to win the Stanley Cup and now is back in the playoffs as his team look to become the first repeat champions since 1998.

Crosby cemented his place among the sport's greats when he scored the winning goal for Canada in the gold-medal game at the Vancouver Olympics in February.

Long known as a playmaker, his game has evolved and he is coming off his first 50-goal season.

Wayne Gretzky, who set several regular season and playoff scoring records and is widely considered the greatest to play the game, once predicted that if any player was going to challenge his accomplishments it would be Crosby.

With 14 points from six games against the Ottawa Senators in the opening round of this year's playoffs, Crosby has a shot at Gretzky's mark of 47 points in a single post-season.

Next up for the Penguins are the Montreal Canadiens, a team Crosby has dominated in his young career.

He has recorded 11 goals and 14 assists in 18 games against Montreal including a hat-trick against this year's playoff standout Jaroslav Halak.

"I'm going to do the same things that have been successful," Crosby told reporters. "He (Halak) has obviously played well but the same details that are important to score will be the same on him as they are on any other goalie."

(Editing by Frank Pingue)