It's not possible to describe in any detail the overtime goal Sidney Crosby deflected Monday night at PPG Paints Arena, the one that pushed the Penguins past the Flyers, 5-4, without first delving into the past.
Meaning the distant past for its real roots, but also the recent past, as in the team's last drills at the last practice.
Over much of the summer of 2013, Crosby was taking tips -- in both the hockey and advisory senses of the term -- to become dramatically better at the deft art of slightly altering the path of someone else's shot. He'd seek out lessons from NHL aces in that art. He'd study video for the smartest body angles, the slickest grips and twists of the stick. Above all, of course, he and his helpers would rifle through buckets and buckets of pucks.
Kris Letang knows. He was often part of that bucket brigade. Still is, actually.