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

City Guide: Terrific Things to Do in the 'Burgh and Beyond

City Guide: Terrific Things to Do in the 'Burgh and Beyond

The towns, neighborhoods, boroughs, main streets and small corners of western Pennsylvania that we call home -- and what we love about them.
Best of the 'Burgh 2015

Best of the 'Burgh 2015

Once again, our editors scour the city for 57 FRESH TAKES on our favorite things about Pittsburgh, including place to "get the boot," witness a nerd fantasy come to life, and snap a selfie with a furry.
Best of the 'Burgh 2015: Readers' Poll

Best of the 'Burgh 2015: Readers' Poll

Burger joints. Bar bands. Radio hosts. Here's the most popular stuff in town.
Brewed in the 'Burgh, the Evolution of Our City's Brewpubs

Brewed in the 'Burgh, the Evolution of Our City's Brewpubs

A long-awaited update to Pennsylvania's beer-selling law prompted change to the region's brewpub scene.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

The Hilarious Chore James Harrison Does During Workouts

The Hilarious Chore James Harrison Does During Workouts

Most people simply would catch their breath — but not this legendary Steelers linebacker.
Dream Achieved: Meghan Klingenberg is a World Cup Winner

Dream Achieved: Meghan Klingenberg is a World Cup Winner

The Pittsburgh-area native and her teammates are headed to Heinz Field next month.
12 Powerful Pictures of Pittsburgh's Past, Present & Future

12 Powerful Pictures of Pittsburgh's Past, Present & Future

The images are not necessarily iconic, but they're just as revealing of the city's spirit.
Pittsburgh-Area Fireworks: When & Where to Watch Them

Pittsburgh-Area Fireworks: When & Where to Watch Them

You can get your fill of fireworks all weekend long, if you know where and when to look.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

City Guide: Terrific Things to Do in the 'Burgh and Beyond

City Guide: Terrific Things to Do in the 'Burgh and Beyond

The towns, neighborhoods, boroughs, main streets and small corners of western Pennsylvania that we call home -- and what we love about them.
Best of the 'Burgh 2015

Best of the 'Burgh 2015

Once again, our editors scour the city for 57 FRESH TAKES on our favorite things about Pittsburgh, including place to "get the boot," witness a nerd fantasy come to life, and snap a selfie with a furry.
Best of the 'Burgh 2015: Readers' Poll

Best of the 'Burgh 2015: Readers' Poll

Burger joints. Bar bands. Radio hosts. Here's the most popular stuff in town.
Brewed in the 'Burgh, the Evolution of Our City's Brewpubs

Brewed in the 'Burgh, the Evolution of Our City's Brewpubs

A long-awaited update to Pennsylvania's beer-selling law prompted change to the region's brewpub scene.
PittGirl: A Feminist with Killer Shoes, Hear Her Rawr

PittGirl: A Feminist with Killer Shoes, Hear Her Rawr

PittGirl takes a history lesson in feminism, prompted by her daughter's love of dinosaurs.
Chic Summer Fashion: Get Ready for the Haute Wave

Chic Summer Fashion: Get Ready for the Haute Wave

These summertime looks sourced from Lawrenceville shops will keep you feeling cool and stylish.
Edit Module