Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 09/22/06 at 05:32 PM ET
Q. We all know how much in the spotlight you are all the time. Do you ever get a chance to be a teenager, do the stuff that teenagers do? SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah, I do. Of course, away from the rink, my life is pretty normal, I think. I have to pick my spots. I don't go to busy areas. I don't go to the mall on a Saturday afternoon, things like that. No, for sure, I have to live life to the fullest and do the things everyone else does, hang out with my teammates, my friends. Away from the rink, I think I'm pretty much a normal guy. Q. You've been called, rightly or wrongly, the savior of the franchise, some people called you after the lockout the savior of the league. There's a lot of expectations for you to act in a certain way when a lot of times people forget how young you really are. SIDNEY CROSBY: No, I think, of course, there's going to be expectations. I think I've dealt with those throughout my life. I have to look at myself in the mirror and see what mine are. I can't worry about other expectations too much. Of course, I want to be a good role model, be a good person, but at the same time as far as hockey's concerned, all I can do is be my best.
Q. Are you playing in Hamilton on Saturday night? Do you think there’s a tremendous sense of historical timing that you come into the NHL in the first year of its new era?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Yes, I do believe I’m playing in Hamilton on Saturday night. Yeah, I feel that I came into the league at the right time. For me to be able to come with the rules were changing, obviously for an offensive player the rules are better for those players. I feel fortunate to come in when I did.
Q. We all know how much in the spotlight you are all the time. Do you ever get a chance to be a teenager, do the stuff that teenagers do?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah, I do. Of course, away from the rink, my life is pretty normal, I think. I have to pick my spots. I don’t go to busy areas. I don’t go to the mall on a Saturday afternoon, things like that. No, for sure, I have to live life to the fullest and do the things everyone else does, hang out with my teammates, my friends. Away from the rink, I think I’m pretty much a normal guy.
Q. You’ve been called, rightly or wrongly, the savior of the franchise, some people called you after the lockout the savior of the league. There’s a lot of expectations for you to act in a certain way when a lot of times people forget how young you really are.
SIDNEY CROSBY: No, I think, of course, there’s going to be expectations. I think I’ve dealt with those throughout my life. I have to look at myself in the mirror and see what mine are. I can’t worry about other expectations too much. Of course, I want to be a good role model, be a good person, but at the same time as far as hockey’s concerned, all I can do is be my best. If I can look in the mirror and accept that, that’s all I want to do. To be honest, I don’t really think about the outside expectations. I think about my own. I know what I’m capable of doing and what’s right and what’s wrong. I try to go with that.
Q. First year under the new CBA went as well as anyone could have expected. Is year two going to be the critical one to prove that last year wasn’t an aberration, it was just a glimpse of things to come in the future?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah, I think so. Every year is always big. But I think we had a great year last year. There shouldn’t be anyone second-guessing that. You can’t really change anything. With the way things went, if nothing’s broke, don’t fix it, continue to go the same way. I’m sure everyone is trying to improve. I wouldn’t say it’s a make-or-break year. Like you said before, last year was a great year, and you just want to carry that on.
Q. Looking at your numbers from last year, you saw at least a minute less in ice team per game than all five guys who finished ahead of you in the scoring race. This season, do you expect your ice time to change? Has Coach Therrien said anything to you abo ut that?
SIDNEY CROSBY: We haven’t talked about it, so I’m not really sure. I think with the way we play, we usually go with two units on the power play that are pretty even. I think they like to keep it close to a minute each. That might be the difference. We haven’t really talked about that a whole lot. It depends on the situations you play in, if I’m going to be used on the penalty kill a little bit more, things like that. It’s not something I’m really worried about. I think when he feels it’s right to put me out there in the right situation, I’ll be out there. It’s up to me to earn those situations, as well, late in the game, on the penalty kill, things like that. We’ll see what happens.
Q. Looking back to last year, it seems that you and Alex Ovechkin will be linked for quite some time because of the great rookie years you had. What is your relationship like with him?
SIDNEY CROSBY: We’ve met on a few occasions. I don’t really know. I think we talk about each other more than we actually know about each other. It’s just one of those things where we bump into each other, say hello. It’s not someone that I talk to weekly or anything like that. We’re opponents. We respect each other. I don’t think it goes beyond that.
Q. When you looked at your year last year, your post-season analysis, which I assume you did, where did you say you have to improve, the major area you have to get better?
SIDNEY CROSBY: To be honest, there wasn’t one thing I really looked at and said I really have to improve there. I think I’m pretty critical of myself. Every year I probably work on five different things. That’s the same thing. I look back on last year, little things like faceoffs is something I really wanted to make sure I started off well. It was a little tough to adapt to that being a rookie. Guys are a lot better. I think as the season went on, I got better there. I want to make sure I continue to get better this year. Defensively I wanted to make sure I was responsible, maybe earn the opportunity to play late in games, not just be someone looked to offensively, but if there’s a big faceoff, late in the game, we need to make sure we keep the puck out of our net, I can be used there. I wanted to make sure, in those two areas I got better in.
Q. What were you thinking when Malkin went down? Your impressions so far as to how he plays compared to how you play?
SIDNEY CROSBY: When he went down, I was just hoping he was going to get up. It was pretty scary the way he went down over Johnny like that. The way he hit the ice, I wasn’t sure if it was neck or if he hit his face or what it was. I’ve seen him the last couple days, he’s in good spirits. They’re saying he should be okay probably to start the season. We’ll have to see what happens. As far as the way he plays, we play a little bit similar styles. I think we like to use our speed. We try to see guys, make plays happen. Probably he’s more of a play-maker than a shooter, but he’s able to do both. I guess our styles are similar in that way.
Q. After Mr. Ovechkin rejected captaincy in Washington, and you were not awarded it for Pittsburgh Penguins this year, are you ready to be the next leader after Lemieux retired in Pittsburgh?
SIDNEY CROSBY: I haven’t really talked about it a whole lot to be honest. Coach Therrien talked to me after they decided to go with three assistants. He told me to focus on being a better assistant captain. That’s what I told him I wanted to work on. After he told me that, that was completely cool with me.
Q. Do you feel comfortable having guys like LeClair and Recchi around you?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Oh, yeah, definitely. We’ve got great leadership on our team. I think with the way things are, we have a lot of young guys. We have basically a leadership group. I think that’s fine. We all have to grow. We all have to make sure we’re comfortable. I think it’s fine.
Q. This week in Anaheim, Ryan Getzlaf said something interesting. He said, I’ve talked to a lot of people. They all tell me the second year is the hardest. Do you have that sense yourself, that after such a terrific first season, it’s going to be hard to follow that up, do anything spectacular for an encore?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Depends how you look at it. If you look at it as far as improving your play, I think if it’s your second year, you’re more experienced, there’s no reason why you can’t be a better player. If you look at points-wise, expectations-wise, on what people are expecting, I can see that being the case. Of course, if you get a hundred points one year, you’re going to be expected to get 115 your second year, to increase like that.
If you want to look individually at your play, I think that your second year you should be a better player ‘cause you’re more experienced. I think you should not be surprised by many things. As a player, I think you should be a better player. I think I’m expecting that of myself. Now, if we’re talking points, that’s something that’s totally out of control. You have to wait for 82 games to see what happens. I expect to be a better player than I was last year for sure.
Q. How impressive was what Evgeni did leaving Russia to join you, the dedication he had to get to Pittsburgh, play with you in the NHL?
SIDNEY CROSBY: I was really excited to hear he’s coming. It showed a lot for him to go through what he did to get over here. It showed he was motivated and passionate about playing here. He sacrificed a lot. I think it meant a lot to me and the rest of the team. We’re definitely happy to have him. I think he’s going to help our team a lot. I think that was the thing going through our mind, just really respected him for going through what he did. We’re here to help him as much as we can. It’s a little bit of an adaptation for him. We’re going to do our best to help him out, try to make things a little easier.
Q. Last year you led all rookies in minor penalties. Is that something you thought about at all and might your approach on the ice change at all this season?
SIDNEY CROSBY: No, I don’t think so. It’s not something that you want to be in the penalty box all the time. It’s not. You want to be out there playing. I think that I have to play the same way. I play an aggressive game. Of course, with the new rules, any sticks, hooking, slashing, that stuff’s going to be called. Sometimes you get a little overaggressive. You get penalties for that. But I think I have to play an aggressive game in order to force turnovers, create opportunities. Obviously, I don’t want to be in the box for over a hundred minutes during the season, but at the same time I have to try to play with an edge and battle out there. I’m not going to try to change too much.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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