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Crosby motivated to return to playoffs: 'It's just not fun watching'

Jason Mowry / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Sidney Crosby is insistent the Pittsburgh Penguins don't make a habit of missing the playoffs.

The club fell short of the postseason cutline this past spring for the first time since Crosby's rookie season in 2005-06, and getting back into the dance is the future Hall of Famer's primary goal heading into his 19th campaign.

"Motivation comes from not making the playoffs," Crosby told The Athletic's Rob Rossi.

"That's a bad feeling when you're watching and you're not in it. To know you were as close as we were - I mean, it was one point, basically, is the difference - you know how tight it is going in. But it's just not fun watching."

Pittsburgh's 91 points were one shy of the Florida Panthers, who secured the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and advanced all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. The Penguins controlled their own destiny to close out the year but fell flat in their last two games against the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets - who finished 30th and 31st, respectively, in the league standings.

After the failed season, the Penguins fired general manager Ron Hextall and president Brian Burke before hiring Kyle Dubas to run the front office. Dubas was as busy as any executive in the league over the summer, making several prominent free-agent signings and orchestrating a blockbuster trade for reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson.

Crosby is encouraged by the new looks across the organization.

"When there's turnover and change, you just have to be open to it and make sure we're ready to go," he said. "I mean, there's always going to be a learning curve for any new group, but when there's a lot of turnover, that's just part of it."

Crosby appeared in all 82 games last season and notched 93 points, both personal bests since 2018-19.

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