Don't Trust Sidney Crosby with Your Car Keys

The savior of the Pittsburgh Penguins is not the kid you think he is.



(page 2 of 3)

sidney crosby on ice

As Crosby, 23, leads the Penguins into a new era at the CONSOL Energy Center, he’s also preparing to move into a house of his own that’s not far from his former landlord, Mario Lemieux.

Photo © 2010 Pittsburgh Penguins/Gregory Shamus

 

Sid the Captain

Oct. 19, 2010–Penguins practice facility at Southpointe

The Penguins are sweating out their last practice before a long road trip that will take them to Nashville, St. Louis and Tampa, and the team has been on the ice for so long that even the media bystanders are getting tired. Penguins radio announcer Phil Bourque taps his watch and sighs, “Let’s wrap it up, boys.”

Finally, after two hours of intense scrimmaging and checking drills, coach Dan Bylsma blows his whistle, and the players wearily glide toward the locker room. Everyone except for defenseman Kris Letang, goalie Fleury and Crosby.

The Zamboni driver idles in the runway and looks on impatiently as Crosby feeds puck after puck to Letang, a supremely talented 23-year-old ready to light the NHL on fire—if only he starts hitting the net.

“Again,” Crosby says, drifting another pass into Letang’s wheelhouse. The shot ricochets wide off the Plexiglas.

Letang is spent. He leans on his stick as a crutch while Crosby collects more pucks. The Zamboni driver dozes off in his captain’s chair. Fleury spreads his arms out and leans back on the net like it’s a beach lounger. “You can’t beat me,” he taunts as his goofball grin beams through the bars of his mask.

Twenty pucks later, Letang finally hits the sweet spot and unleashes a slapshot visible only as a vapor trail. The puck thunks in the back of the net before Fleury can even react.

Without a word, Crosby skates over to the runway and stops. Fleury and Letang follow. Time to go home. Crosby, always the last off the ice, taps both of them on the butt with his stick as they retreat to the showers.

“That one,” Crosby tells Letang, “was a beauty.”

Back in the sparce locker room, Sid is dripping with sweat and still taking off his gear while most of the team is heading home. “Winning the Stanley Cup wasn’t easy,” he says. “It was a lot harder maybe than it looked. This is where the work starts.”

Two nights later in Nashville, the Penguins are deadlocked in an intense overtime struggle with the Predators when Crosby collects the puck at the blueline. He doesn’t even need to look where he’s passing. He floats the puck to where Letang will be before Letang is even there. It’s déjà vu. It’s Swiss clockwork.

Letang unleashes a replica of the shot that beat Fleury in practice 48 hours earlier when no one—except for Crosby—was watching. Nashville’s goalie doesn’t have a chance.

Game.

In the euphoric pig-pile of noogies and hugs that ensues, the only guy smiling wider than Letang is his captain and best friend, Crosby. The extra reps paid off.

“The first Cup win is definitely behind us now,” says Crosby. “It’s a fun memory to look back on, but I don’t want it to be the only one I look back on. The only thing on our minds is getting back there again.”

It’s easy to take Crosby’s sublime performances on the ice for granted. After all, they happen night in, night out. Truth is, his Russian rival, Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin, possesses far greater raw talent. In fact, many players are probably more physically gifted than Crosby, who stands 5 feet 11 inches and weighs 200 pounds.

The real genius of No. 87 is his unparalleled work ethic. He is the Warren Buffett of sweat equity. And he will stay at the rink until the Zamboni driver falls asleep in order to make his teammates better.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine consulted dozens of power brokers and behind-the-scene players to determine and rank the 50 individuals who, in Pittsburgh, make things happen.
15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

According to the region's behind-the-scene players, these individuals are some of the city's rising stars.
Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Entering into the final weeks of the 2015 regular season, pitcher Gerrit Cole has emerged as the Pirates’ ace.
At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik strike again with täkō, their taco-centric downtown eatery with an extensive tequila selection.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

How Do Pittsburgh Drivers Stack Up in Safety Rankings?

How Do Pittsburgh Drivers Stack Up in Safety Rankings?

According to annual insurance company data, Pittsburghers need a crash course in crash avoidance.
Where Your House Sells the Quickest in the Pittsburgh Area

Where Your House Sells the Quickest in the Pittsburgh Area

The real-estate website Zillow has ranked the region's 50 hottest housing markets. Do you live in one of them?
Verses Koufax and the Babe - Clemente Wins in a Rout

Verses Koufax and the Babe - Clemente Wins in a Rout

It was no contest among voters asked to choose which portrait among the three baseball greats should hang in the Smithsonian.
See Now: Trailer for Will Smith's "Concussion" Drama

See Now: Trailer for Will Smith's "Concussion" Drama

Shot and set in Pittsburgh, the film stars Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who first discovered CTE in the brain of former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster in 2002.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

50 Most Powerful People in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Magazine consulted dozens of power brokers and behind-the-scene players to determine and rank the 50 individuals who, in Pittsburgh, make things happen.
15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

15 of Pittsburgh's Future Power Brokers

According to the region's behind-the-scene players, these individuals are some of the city's rising stars.
Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Aggressive and Adaptable: Pirates' All-Star Gerrit Cole

Entering into the final weeks of the 2015 regular season, pitcher Gerrit Cole has emerged as the Pirates’ ace.
At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

At täkō - Terrific Tacos and Tequila Are Just The Beginning

Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik strike again with täkō, their taco-centric downtown eatery with an extensive tequila selection.
 A Sign That This Time, It's Good to Part with the Past

A Sign That This Time, It's Good to Part with the Past

Pitt Girl explains her change of heart on what should be done with the large, decaying billboard on Mount Washington.
Oh, the Humanities - Can They be Saved?

Oh, the Humanities - Can They be Saved?

Locally and nationally, college and university students are flocking to programs they perceive to be pathways to jobs while they forego studies of languages, history, art and philosophy. But at what cost?
Edit Module