by Tony on 12/01/08 at 05:07 PM ET
From the NHL’s Media website:
DAVID KEON: Good afternoon, everyone. I’m David Keon of the National Hockey League’s public relations department and I’d like to welcome you to our call. Our guest today is Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. Thanks to Sidney for taking the time to join us, and thanks to Frank Buonomo of the Penguins’ public relations department for setting up the call. Earlier today, Sidney was named First Star for this past week after recording six goals and three assists in three games. He currently sits second in league scoring with 34 points on 13 goals and 21 assists, and trails only teammate Evgeni Malkin, who has 39 points. With a record of 14-6-3 for 31 points, the Penguins sit second in the Atlantic Division, trailing the New York Rangers by five points with three games in hand. They start a three-game road trip in Manhattan against the Rangers on Wednesday night. Thanks again to Sidney for taking the time to join us and answer your questions. We’ll open it up now for questions.
Q. When you’re looking at the scoring leaders and you see you and Malkin up there, to have a teammate up there, what does that mean to you?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Well, it’s fun. I mean, we want to make sure that individually we’re doing our best to contribute. But it’s really nice to share that with someone. Hopefully we can continue to produce and help our team.
Q. I guess in the first 14 games you only had three goals. You’ve been scoring a lot more goals recently. What do you attribute that to?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Well, capitalizing on chances, probably getting a few more. I played with Gino a few times, too, so that never hurts. Probably a few different things. But, you know, sometimes that’s just the way it goes. Sometimes you get some bounces and some breaks and they go in. There’s other times where you’ve got to fight a little more to get them. You know, you just try to do the same things and hopefully the results eventually come.
Q. You talked about playing with Gino. What is it like playing with him? Obviously they don’t want to keep you together all the time, to spread out the scoring. But what do you like when you do play with him?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. I think we’ve gotten used to each other. We’ve played together for a while now. But I think we enjoy it. It’s one of the those things where, you know, hopefully if teams are going to focus on one of us, the other guy’s going to get a little more space. When we’re on the road together that happens a bit. Give other teams a different look. I think we both kind of benefit just because I think we get a little more space individually.
Q. What have you seen from him over the past two seasons? He’s kind of kicked into another gear since probably middle of last year.
SIDNEY CROSBY: He’s probably gotten used to kind of the North American style. There’s probably things you have to adjust between the way we play and probably the way he played on the bigger ice. He’s probably a little more confident. He’s just a better player all around just from the experience. I’m sure all those things have contributed to that.
Q. I know for a while earlier this season you played a little banged up; you played through it. Are you feeling closer to a hundred percent now? Is that also maybe another reason why you’ve been on fire there for quite a while now?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah, I feel a little bit better. But, you know, it’s just more or less putting a string of games together, being a little more consistent, getting some bounces, too. You know, everything has kind of come together a little bit more. But I feel like I’ve played better and been rewarded for that.
Q. What about your team losing Gonchar and Whitney? When the news came down in Sweden, that was tough for the team to swallow. It seemed at the beginning of the season it affected it a bit, but you guys have found a way to put a bunch of wins together here and you’re back where you used to be in the standings without those key guys.
SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah, it’s been an adjustment. It’s not something that you can fix overnight. But some guys have stepped up. We still need to work on our power-play. That’s another area where you really see the help that they can bring. But, you know, the power-play is still a work in progress. Hopefully we can get that sorted out. By the time those guys are back, we should be better for it.
Q. I wanted to know what your reaction was hearing of the Montréal Canadiens leading in every position for the Eastern Conference starting team? Would it be a major disappointment for you not to start in an All-Star game in Canada?
SIDNEY CROSBY: No. I mean, it would be great. You know, it would be nice to be at the All-Star Game, period. If I’m not a starter, that’s fine. I’ll be happy to be there. You know, it’s a voting thing. If those guys are the top six and they’re voted, they deserve to be the starters. I don’t think anyone’s going to complain about being at an All-Star Game, whether they’re starters or not. I think I’ll be happy to be there if that’s the case.
Q. How strange would it be to have one team having every position filled?
SIDNEY CROSBY: I mean, I don’t know if that’s ever happened before. But that’s something that can happen when you have a vote like that. If that’s the way the numbers go, that’s the way it is. I don’t see a huge problem with it. If that’s the way it is, that’s the way it is. I mean, the numbers don’t lie. That’s what it comes down to.
Q. You made reference earlier to your increased goal scoring pace of late. I was wondering, do you think you’re the kind of guy that could score 50 goals in a season?
SIDNEY CROSBY: I don’t know. I’ve never really thought about it. I don’t think it’s something I really think about a whole lot. I don’t consider myself a sniper, per se. But, you know, I think of the guys that score 50, you look at guys like Heatley, Ovechkin, guys like this. But you never know. It depends on the season, basically the opportunities you get and your ability to capitalize on them. You know, there’s a lot of things that can affect that.
It would be something I’d love to do for sure. But whether or not it’s possible, I really couldn’t tell you.
Q. Not including any teammates, what first-year players have impressed you the most this season?
SIDNEY CROSBY: I think Brassard in Columbus. I think he’s done pretty well. I’m trying to think of the other guys. I mean, he’s probably the guy that’s stuck out for the most for me. I know Stamkos has played pretty well lately. Those two guys I’ve seen a little bit more than others. Those two guys probably stick out the most.
Q. What are your personal goals for the remaining part of the season?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Just to be consistent. We’ve been playing good hockey, so I just want to make sure that I’m personally consistent, keep contributing. Personally I don’t really think a whole lot as far as numbers go, but I just want to make sure that consistency’s there.
Q. The consensus going into the season is kind of the Western Conference was stronger overall. When you look at some of the emerging teams this year, surprises with Boston or even the Rangers, looks like the East is deeper, stronger than we thought. Your thoughts on how the East is playing out so far this year?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Well, I think it’s pretty strong. I mean, from the teams we play, I think our division’s always pretty strong. We played the Rangers. We have a rivalry with Philly there. The Devils are always good. The Islanders have played pretty well the last month or so, too.
I think it’s one of the those things we think we always prepare ourself for a tough year every year just because the division is usually competitive.
But the East as a whole I think is competitive again. Like you said, Boston’s playing some great hockey. I think the East has some teams that have proven they’re pretty competitive. So the whole league’s competitive, but certainly like you said, I’m sure Boston surprised a lot of people.
Q. What have you seen from Boston this year that you were most impressed with?
SIDNEY CROSBY: I think their depth. A lot of people probably didn’t give them credit for having that deep of a team. But they’re getting contributions from everyone. They’re getting some good goaltending. Their defense is playing well. Overall they’re really getting some strong play with everyone, and that’s what they need to win. I don’t think there’s any secret, they’ve got some support from everyone there. That’s why they’re winning.
Q. In a few weeks Ryan Malone is going to return to Pittsburgh. Can you talk about Ryan’s importance to the Penguins’ run last year and will it be strange going up against him?
SIDNEY CROSBY: I think it will be a little bit. Now that we’re in the swing of things here, we’ve probably moved on and he’s moved on. But, you know, when you go through a run like that, you spend a few years playing with a guy, it’s always a little bit different the first time you see them in a different jersey. But, you know, he brought a lot to our team. He brought scoring touch. He was a gritty guy, character player, great guy off the ice. He’s well-liked here. He obviously played in his hometown. You know, he brought a lot for us and was a big part of us getting where we got last year.
Q. Do you feel the rivalry with Philadelphia has really gotten a lot more intense over the last few years? How motivated are you heading into the games against Philly?
SIDNEY CROSBY: I don’t know if it’s gotten more intense. I know it’s always been there. I think before a lot of us, it was intense. It just seems like it’s kind of automatic that it’s going to be an intense game, and that’s fine. We’re all a little motivated. We know there’s always a little bit extra. So that’s fine. That’s part of hockey. That’s the great thing about rivalries.
The reason why, who knows. I think it’s just always physical and emotional, and with that things happen sometimes. You know, I guess that would be the best way to describe it.
Q. You’re seventh this year in faceoffs and 17th in the league on the power-play. How do you explain that?
SIDNEY CROSBY: As far as our power-play is concerned or our faceoffs?
Q. I guess probably more towards the power-play, maybe why it’s not as effective as it was last year, yet you’re getting more faceoffs in the zone?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah, I think we’re missing two guys who are probably pretty good power-play specialists in Gonchar and Whitney. You know, that’s tough on a power-play unit. But, you know, I think on the road we struggled a little bit on the power-play. Why, I don’t know. I think we’ve been pretty decent at home, but on the road we struggled a bit. I don’t know if faceoffs have something to do with that but we’ve been pretty strong in that area. I really couldn’t tell you. I think a big part of it, though, you lose a guy like Gonchar, who is a great quarterback back there, and Whitney, who has played on the power-play a few years a with us, there’s a few guys that have to come in and step up that probably don’t get as much time as they would like to to kind of feel their way into it. We’ve had some learning curves. But we’re getting better and hopefully we’ll get it to where it needs to be.
Q. The defense as a whole has really played strong without those two gentlemen you mentioned. Is it more of a systemic change that the coaching staff implemented with those guys gone or do you simply point to a couple guys that, because of the extra minutes, you’ve really seen as a key to the defense as a whole?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Yeah, I think they’ve probably been forced into situations that they’ve had to learn. They stepped up. There’s no doubt they’ve had to step up their game. That’s a credit to them. I mean, that’s not an easy situation to be in, especially with the expectations of our team, especially our power-play with some of the guys we have out there. They probably have been forced into those situations and done well in them.
Q. Whether it’s Orpik, Letang or Goligoski, are there two guys in that crew that have caught your eye already this season?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Well, probably I’d say Goligoski and Letang are the two younger guys that have had to play a more prominent role and have done a great job.
Q. This is going back a bit, but when Semin shot his mouth off at you, you traveled the high road and didn’t shoot back. I’m curious, why not?
SIDNEY CROSBY: Because I don’t feel like I really had to. I mean, I don’t think I really have to defend myself with words. I play the game and play the way I feel I have to, the way I feel is the right way. If that’s not up to someone’s standards, that’s fine. If they feel like they have to have their opinion heard, that’s fine, too. But, you know, that’s not really the way I go about it.
Q. You’re obviously the face of the NHL. Do you feel any pressure or need to be more outspoken and be more of a “controversial” kind of guy?
SIDNEY CROSBY: No, I mean, that’s not who I am. Because of the situation I’m in, I don’t feel like I should have to change who I am. I mean, if there’s guys that feel like they have opinions that don’t mix well with everyone else, they need to be heard, that’s their decision. You know, whether it’s criticizing other guys or a certain opinion, if guys feel they need to share that, that’s up to them. But I don’t think that’s something someone should feel automatically they have to give all the time.
Q. How much trash talking do you do on the ice?
SIDNEY CROSBY: A little bit. I mean, probably not a whole lot. Usually I don’t start it too much. Usually I respond to it once in a while. But I don’t start it as much.
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