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Old 02-20-2007, 07:38 AM   #1091
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Quote:
"I thought we played a solid game," Therrien said. "We scored five goals on the road. You have to win those games. ... Fleury was not good."

Citing Fleury's previous three starts -- he allowed four goals twice and five goals once -- Therrien said the thought of pulling his goaltender in favor of back-up Jocelyn Thibault crossed his mind.

"This is the fourth game in a row he's given up way too many goals," Therrien said. "Lately, we're giving four and five goals. He's got to be better than that."
Can't say I disagree with Therrien here. I know the team was tired after playing 3 games in less than 72 hours, but Fleury had a rest in Saturday's game against the Caps. I don't blame Fleury entirely for yesterday's loss against the Isles, but he has to shoulder some of the blame and get his act together soon if the Pens are going to stay in playoff contention. We have some difficult matchups coming up and he's got to be on his game - he's a better goaltender than he's been showing as of late.
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Old 02-21-2007, 12:23 AM   #1092
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Can't say I disagree with Therrien here. I know the team was tired after playing 3 games in less than 72 hours, but Fleury had a rest in Saturday's game against the Caps. I don't blame Fleury entirely for yesterday's loss against the Isles, but he has to shoulder some of the blame and get his act together soon if the Pens are going to stay in playoff contention. We have some difficult matchups coming up and he's got to be on his game - he's a better goaltender than he's been showing as of late.
No question of that. I see Thibault playing quite a bit down the stretch - he's the fresher of the 2 goaltenders and has played pretty well lately when he's been called upon. Even though the Pens are in a good position right now after that run they had, the playoff race is still very tight, so now is not a good time for your #1 goalie to start struggling. It may be that Fleury's getting tired from playing so many games, but that's still no excuse. When your number's called, you have to answer the bell, plain and simple.
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Old 02-21-2007, 12:30 AM   #1093
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Here you go HTG - a nice story on your favorite player. It's interesting that he's second among defensemen this season in scoring - to think that so many fans wanted to run him out of town, especially last season. He's really having a great year, but it is being overlooked because of all the other talent on the team.

Gonchar presses point in Pittsburgh
John McGourty | NHL.com Staff Writer Feb 20, 2007, 12:00 PM EST

If you think everything is working right for the Pittsburgh Penguins these days, you're right. Sidney Crosby leads the NHL in scoring, Evgeni Malkin leads all NHL rookies in scoring, Marc-Andre Fleury is the real deal in net and Jocelyn Thibault has proved to be the among the best NHL backup goaltenders.

A host of young forwards, plus Mark Recchi, support the stars and the defense has matured into a reliable unit.

Heading that defense is 12th-year veteran traffic director Sergei Gonchar, the team's ice-time leader and fourth-leading scorer. Gonchar, 32, ranks second among NHL defensemen with 40 assists and 49 points.

His deceptive pass to Malkin for Pittsburgh's middle goal in Sunday's 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals set the rookie up for what he called his greatest goal yet in the NHL.

Gonchar, a native of Chelyabinsk, Russia, has long been among the NHL's best offensive defensemen. He made his reputation over 9 1/2 seasons with the Capitals before his 2004 trade to the Boston Bruins. The Penguins signed him as a free agent in 2005 and he put up 12 goals and 58 points last season, comparable to his best years in Washington.

Gonchar thrived after Michel Therrien was named to coach in December 2005. He finished tied for fifth among NHL defensemen with 10 power-play goals.

He was seventh among league blueliners with 46 assists and eighth with 58 points. He was particularly sharp after the Olympics, when he racked up 20 points in 19 games.

While Gonchar is being counted upon for that kind of production, his secondary role is to help a young defense mature. He's doing a good job of that, as evidenced by the progress of both Ryan Whitney and Rob Scuderi.

"'Gonch' is a quiet guy by nature, but a real good person who really cares about winning and his teammates," said Penguins GM Ray Shero. "He plays lots of quality minutes and hard minutes. He's a guy who wants to play against top players. He's a top defender, but everyone thinks of his offense only. Gonchar plays plenty of time on the penalty kill with Mark Eaton. He wants that reputation of an all-around defenseman. That's a great attitude to have.

"The most important thing he gives us is minutes, the quality minutes that allow us to bring other players along properly. Gonchar and Eaton give us that and have allowed an offensive defenseman like Whitney to learn how to play a two-way game. A defensive defenseman like Scuderi can see how an Eaton has developed into a quality defender. Gonchar and Eaton gave us the opportunity to put Brooks Orpik, Whitney and Scuderi into their proper roles without giving them too much responsibility too soon. Sometimes they've struggled, but with good coaching they are all developing.

"But Gonchar comes by his reputation as an offensive defenseman honestly," Shero continued. "He can pass the puck like few others. He can put a 50-foot pass right on the tape and for skilled forwards, guys like that are hard to find. When you have someone on your team like that, you really appreciate it."

Gonchar and Fleury agree that Pittsburgh's defense has matured to where the team can contend for the Atlantic Division title and the Stanley Cup.

"Our defensive play is really improved from last year," Fleury said. "It's one of our biggest differences and that's something that we really needed to do. Our coach put in a good system defensively and everyone has been really focused. Our defenseman have been awesome in blocking shots and clearing away rebounds."

"Everyone is on the same page and we're familiar with the system," Gonchar explained. "We are trying every night to improve our communication and it has been getting better."

Gonchar is impressed with the progress of Scuderi and Whitney.

"They've been with the coach a little longer now and have adapted to the system," he said. "We've all been together since the middle of last season and we've adjusted to playing with each other."

The Penguins have been a work in progress all season. They weren't as good earlier as they are now and some of their stats lag their lofty position in the standings. They're still ranked low in penalty killing.

"The penalty killing is better than it was and we're working on it," Gonchar said. "We can't cure it overnight, but we can by working and sticking with the system. We've done a better job lately, I'd say in the last 10-15 games, than we were at the beginning of the year. There's still room for improvement."

The Penguins perhaps could close the five-point gap between them and the New Jersey Devils without beating the division leaders but in their remaining three games, two at home, they'd like to reinforce their Feb. 16, 5-4 victory over the Devils in New Jersey. Pittsburgh players feel they passed an important test recently with a victory over the Western Conference-leading Nashville Predators, but the Devils represent an important Eastern rival, one they must overcome if they wish to compete for the Stanley Cup.

"Playing against Nashville was a good measurement," Gonchar said. "It's never easy to play against the Devils, especially with their defense as good as it is and Martin Brodeur as good as he is. Those will be tough games for us. But if you look at the standings, almost everyone we play is battling for a playoff spot and so are we, so it's already like a playoff game every night.

"We're going to be very smart when we play against the Devils and a little tougher. No game is less important than another."

http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app/?service=...ticleid=289308
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Old 02-21-2007, 12:49 AM   #1094
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Therrien not too hard on Fleury

By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, February 21, 2007

At first blush, Michel Therrien's public criticism of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury might have seemed unfair and unduly harsh, considering Fleury hadn't lost in regulation since Jan. 9.

In truth, the Penguins' coach did nothing wrong Monday - and he flatly rejects the rumor that he also blasted Fleury behind closed doors after the 6-5 loss to the New York Islanders.

"I didn't yell at him; I didn't even talk to him after the game," Therrien said by phone Tuesday. "I never talk to the players after the game. It's an emotional time, and when you're mad, you don't want to do something you'll regret. I learned about that 15 years ago in junior. I was so (ticked off), I grabbed a kid, 17 years old. That wasn't right. I apologized the next day, and I told myself it would never happen again."

As for the public criticism, what's the big deal? It was nothing compared to the heat Fleury would face in the Stanley Cup playoffs. If anything, Therrien was being charitable when he said, "This is the fourth game in a row he's given up way too many goals."

It was actually Fleury's fifth consecutive sub-par performance. The Penguins won some of those in spite of him, not because of him - though it's also true Fleury salvaged some shaky outings with clutch saves.

Over this five-game stretch, his save percentage is a paltry .847, his goals-against average a bloated 4.40. Part of that is a function of the team's uneven play in front of him, and there is no disputing that Fleury is a major reason why the Penguins are positioned for their first playoff appearance since 2001.

Like a pitcher who can win without his best stuff, Fleury has developed a penchant for bearing down at critical moments. He was tied for fourth in the NHL in victories (29) as of yesterday afternoon, behind only Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo and Dominik Hasek.

That's good company, but there is room for improvement. Fleury's save percentage (.904) ranks 26th out of the top 30 goalies, and his GAA (2.92) is 28th.

Fleury knows he needs to rebound. He also knows Therrien isn't afraid to hurt his feelings. Remember, Therrien benched Fleury in consecutive years in the AHL playoffs.

On the other hand, Therrien has shown the utmost faith in Fleury this season, and that likely will not change.

"He's a great kid," Therrien said yesterday, before reiterating that Fleury's recent stretch is "unacceptable."

"I can see he's not as sharp, and I want him to be better," Therrien said. "He will be better. We're going to need him, and he knows that. Sometimes, young players can lose focus. As coaches, it's up to us to work with him and make him better."

Sometimes, that will include a kick in the pads. It worked in training camp, when the Penguins floated the idea that Fleury could be sent to the minors.

Some might suggest Fleury needs more rest, but if he starts Thursday at Florida - Therrien wouldn't guarantee as much - it would be only his fifth start in 13 days. That's a manageable workload.

Besides, he's only 22. He shouldn't need much rest -- and he shouldn't be excused from criticism because he's young.

Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward was Fleury's age when he raised the Stanley Cup above his head last spring.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_494154.html
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Old 02-21-2007, 12:51 AM   #1095
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Penguins make trade game-plan

By Karen Price
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Before Penguins general manager Ray Shero left on Sunday for the NHL general manager meetings that continue today in Naples, Fla., he sat down with his coaches and staff to put together a game-plan with the trading deadline rapidly approaching.

And, echoing comments made earlier this month, Shero said if there's a trade that makes sense, he'll do it.

"We met as a group and went through it again as to where we were, what we thought could help our team, what we thought about our chemistry and what we're trying to accomplish with this group," Shero said. "I've talked to plenty of teams, that's the job, and if it makes sense for us we'll look to do something."

One player the Penguins are believed to be in the hunt for is Bryan Smolinski, a veteran center who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and could help the Penguins on faceoffs. As the Chicago Blackhawks' second-leading scorer, Smolinski has 12 goals and 21 assists and is 51.4 percent on draws.

The Penguins, whose payroll is believed to be in the upper $30 million range, will have competition with the Vancouver Canucks for Smolinski, however.

Another player the Penguins have expressed interest in is Bill Guerin, but they're not alone.

The St. Louis Blues' leading scorer, with 27 goals and 19 assists, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. He is also a sought-after commodity, particularly among teams in the West looking to compete with the blockbuster move the Nashville Predators made to get Peter Forsberg last week.

But deals such as the Forsberg trade, in which the Predators gave up a former first-round pick in winger Scottie Upshall, promising defenseman Ryan Parent and the first- and third-round picks in this year's entry draft, plus the deal that brought Ladislav Nagy to the Dallas Stars, have set the bar high. It's believed the Blues simply want more than the Penguins are willing to part with.

The Penguins are believed to have an interest in Montreal Canadiens defenseman Craig Rivet, and they have also asked about enforcer Georges Laraque, but as of last week the Phoenix Coyotes were asking too much.

Shero wouldn't comment on specifics, and he said that he's not limiting himself to a specific position, but rather will emphasize the right player, the right experience or the right contract.

And that's if he does anything at all.

"I've said all along that I don't want it out there that someone's coming," Shero said. "This group here's down a real good job. They've progressed, and they've done what we've asked for."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_494157.html
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Old 02-21-2007, 12:52 AM   #1096
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Penguins look to tighten defense

By Karen Price
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Penguins' 14-0-2 streak had to end sometime, but that was of little consolation to many of the players after their 6-5 loss to the New York Islanders.

If there is a silver lining, forward Ryan Malone said, it may be that the Penguins (32-18-9) can work on getting back to what allowed them to get the streak started - solid defense.

"Everything happens for a reason, so maybe it's good that we lost this game when we lost it," Malone said after Monday's loss at Nassau Coliseum. "We definitely have to get back to limiting the other team's chances. We can't be giving up three or four or five goals every night. We definitely have to get back to basics."

The Penguins have a chance to regroup this week with a welcome stretch of two games in seven nights. The break comes on the heels of four games in six nights, and it will be their lightest stretch until the season ends April 7.

Tuesday was a day off for the team, and today it's back to practice before the Penguins travel to Florida for a game against the Panthers on Thursday.

"I can guarantee you coach (Michel Therrien) is going to work on structure stuff defensively and focus on that," forward Mark Recchi said of today's practice.

The Penguins and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury yielded six goals to the Islanders, including five at even-strength. They allowed six goals in a game only three times before Monday, and the last time was Dec. 16 in a 6-3 loss at the Montreal Canadiens.

Fleury was by no means at his best against the Islanders, which Therrien made clear to the media after the loss. Therrien did emphasize a recent trend of allowing four to six goals per game, something which many of the players said they need to reverse if they want to keep improving and moving up the standings.

"I think we've allowed a few more goals than we're typically used to, so I think we want to make sure we get our goals-against down, whether it's on the penalty kill or making sure we're stronger in our own zone, off the rush, whatever it is," forward Sidney Crosby said. "We have to make sure we tighten up there. These games, shootouts where they're 5-4 or 6-5, if you win they're great, but if you see you give up six goals, there's a problem, too, and you have to make sure you don't do that consistently."

The Penguins have allowed 25 goals in the past six games. In the first seven games of the 14-0-2 stretch, they yielded only 17 and allowed more than three goals in a game just once.

Still, Recchi said the team's good habits outweighed the bad during the run, and with time to rest and practice in the next week, they should be able to put an end to the mental errors that have cost them lately.

"We can be proud of our stretch," Recchi said. "We only had a couple of games out of that whole stretch where we felt like maybe we got away with stuff. Overall, I think we did a great job. But goals-against is something we can control and we can get a lot better. We know as a team if we have everybody chipping in we can score some goals, but we have to get that focus back as well."

Note: Center Chris Thorburn was sent to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton yesterday for a conditioning assignment. In 38 games with the Penguins, Thorburn scored three goals and two assists and had a plus-1 rating.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_494152.html
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Old 02-21-2007, 12:55 AM   #1097
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Florida a cold spot for Penguins
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


When the Penguins walk off their plane near Fort Lauderdale late this afternoon, the temperature should be around the mid-70s, give or take a few degrees.

The breezes should be soft and warm and, if the team arrives early enough, the sky blue and the sunshine plentiful.

There are a lot of ways to describe the conditions they can expect. "Perfect hockey weather" is nowhere on the list.

It's easy to see how going from the North, where temperatures have flirted with the far side of zero so often in recent weeks, to a place where palm trees line the roads could be more than a little unsettling, and the Penguins' record in Florida the past few years does nothing to refute that idea.

They are 1-8 in their past nine games at the BankAtlantic Center, where they will face the Florida Panthers at 7:38 p.m. tomorrow, and 1-9 in their past 10 at the St. Pete Times Forum, where they will play Tampa Bay at 5:05 p.m. Sunday.

Their run of misery at the Panthers' arena in suburban Sunrise includes a 5-2 loss Jan. 10, when they were outshot, outskated and outworked in every facet of play.

"That was the last time we actually didn't play well," right winger Mark Recchi said.

It also had been the Penguins' most recent loss in regulation until their 6-5 defeat Monday on Long Island.

In reality, though, the Penguins don't just struggle with the Florida-based teams when they travel south to play them. They have lost 14 of their past 16 overall against the Panthers and 11 in a row to the Lightning, although one of their three losses to Tampa Bay this season came in overtime and another in a shootout.

"We've lost at home, too, so we can't really blame the weather," center Sidney Crosby said.

Even if the Penguins' problems with the Panthers and Lightning were confined to road games, blaming them solely on playing in areas where T-shirts and shorts, not scarves and gloves, are normal attire at this time of year would be a copout.

The simple truth is, it's not any sunnier or warmer inside the buildings in Sunrise and Tampa than it is in any other arena in North America. If anything, it often is a bit chillier in them than in venues elsewhere.

"Once you get in the rink, it's back to normal," goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said. "Everybody has their routine. Just because it's hot [outside] doesn't change that."

The Panthers and Lightning played in Tampa last night; Tampa Bay was hoping to strengthen its grip on first place in the Southeast Division, while Florida was looking to keep its long-shot playoff hopes on life support.

Although the Panthers seem like a good bet to be a seller in the days leading up to the trade deadline Tuesday -- veterans such as Gary Roberts, Jozef Stumpel, Martin Gelinas and Todd Bertuzzi, if he is deemed healthy, could command a lot of interest -- Recchi isn't ready to write off their season just yet.

"They're still in the hunt," he said. "They play well, and they play a good system."

Center Olli Jokinen is the Panther who gives the Penguins the most fits; for Tampa, it's usually Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis who give them the most trouble.

Odds are Jokinen will be on his game again tomorrow, and there's no reason to believe Lecavalier and St. Louis will be no-shows Sunday.

But the Penguins played some of their best hockey in this decade during parts of the 14-0-2 surge that ended Monday, and Fleury figures the next few days would be the ideal time to put their problems with the Panthers and Lightning behind them.

"Yeah," he said. "So we don't have to talk about it anymore."

NOTE -- Coach Michel Therrien, through a team spokesman, denied secondhand accounts that he criticized Fleury in the locker room after the Penguins' loss to the Islanders. Therrien gave reporters a harsh assessment of Fleury's performance during his postgame news conference saying, among other things, that "this is four games in a row that he's given up way too many goals."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07052/763653-61.stm
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Old 02-21-2007, 12:59 AM   #1098
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Bob Smizik: Penguins' turnaround defies odds

Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

How did this happen?

Here are, in no particular order, the top five reasons why the Penguins are where they are today, according to Bob Smizik:

Jordan Staal: He wasn't supposed to make the team. In the slight likelihood he did, he would be along for the ride to kill penalties and play on a fourth line. After all, he is only 18. He was barely old enough to be drafted. But he has 24 goals and has moved from center to left wing to give the Penguins a formidable second line. Not bad for a kid who scored 28 goals in Juniors last year.

Sidney Crosby: Everyone knew he was marked for greatness. But at 19? He leads the league in scoring with a 15-point lead over Vincent Lecavalier. The 16th-leading scorer in the league is closer to Lecavalier than Lecavalier is to Crosby.

Evgeni Malkin: He will do what Crosby could not do last year -- win the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year. He leads all rookies in scoring by 14 points. His 67 points are double the output of all but three NHL rookies. He's on pace to score 93 points, a Crosbyesque total.

Marc-Andre Fleury (left): He's living up to the hype that comes with being the first pick in the draft. His 29 wins are fourth best in the NHL. Despite being only 22, he's developing into a franchise-type goalie. It's looking more and more like the Penguins made a serious mistake by not keeping him with the team at the start of last season.

Michel Therrien: Best known as a harsh disciplinarian when he took over the team last season, Therrien has been tough but also flexible enough to let his young team grow. He installed a system that makes their NHL growth come easier.In the recent history of professional sports, there have been rare occasions when a team has gone from last place to first place in one year. The Atlanta Braves, for example, went from sixth and last place to first place in 1991. The advent of free agency in all sports and the ability it gives teams to make an almost immediate and drastic revamping of their roster, along with a trend toward smaller divisions, makes this unusual development possible.

But here's what would figure to be impossible.

Going from last to last to last to last to first.

That's what the Penguins, who are 14-1-2 in their past 17 games, are attempting to do. After four consecutive sixth and last-place finishes, the Penguins aren't just playoff contenders, they're candidates to finish first in the Atlantic Division and a threat to any team in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

It's questionable whether the Penguins' furious charge up the NHL standings eventually will carry them to first place in the Atlantic Division -- they trail New Jersey by seven points -- but the mere fact the subject is up for discussion is testimony to one of the great revivals in sports history.

No one expected this. There was hope the team would make the playoffs, which often does not require a winning record. But the Penguins are 32-18-9 going into their game tomorrow night at Florida. Considering the team's youth, their slow start was not unexpected, but now the Penguins are among the elite of the league.

With 23 games remaining, they already have 10 more wins than last season and nine more than the previous season.

It has all served to markedly increase the interest in the Penguins. Games are regularly sold out, and there is a distinct buzz about the team that hasn't been here since the 2000-01 season, when Mario Lemieux was at the height of his comeback and the Penguins were thick with talented veterans. That's the beauty of this team and why the buzz is so intense. It's thin with talented veterans. Mark Recchi, at 39, is enjoying a memorable season -- 20 goals and 55 points. Sergei Gonchar, 32, is the second-leading scorer among NHL defensemen. There are five other players over 30, 14 in their 20s and two teenagers. Eleven of the team's players were born in the 1980s.

It is too early to call this a dynasty in the making but such a future is not out of the question. What makes that future even brighter is that the Penguins will become a desired destination for free agents. With the salary cap in place, there's not a tremendous difference between what teams can pay free agents. Why not come to Pittsburgh where a championship team is being built? If you're a winger, why not come to Pittsburgh and play beside Crosby or with Malkin and Staal?

It looks like all those last places are soon to be equaled and surpassed by first places.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07052/763657-194.stm
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Old 02-21-2007, 08:33 AM   #1099
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Originally Posted by X-Terminator View Post
Here you go HTG - a nice story on your favorite player. It's interesting that he's second among defensemen this season in scoring - to think that so many fans wanted to run him out of town, especially last season. He's really having a great year, but it is being overlooked because of all the other talent on the team.
Gei is my fave, but Jarkko is climbing up my fave ladder rather quickly, LOL!

Excellent article, XT, and very much on point. It's nice to see Gonchar finally getting the credit he deserves. He was on the ice almost non-stop and held things together while Eaton was out and together they make quite the dynamic duo. Many fans don't bother to look at his defensive abilities and talents. I laugh at some of these people at the games who expect him to rough it up - that isn't his schtick and never has been. I'm glad the Pens realize the gem they have in Gonchar - I clearly saw it last season amid the boos and hisses coming from the stands.
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Old 02-21-2007, 08:38 AM   #1100
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1-On-1 With Sidney Crosby; Sid Talks Life, Ice

POSTED: 1:20 pm EST February 20, 2007
UPDATED: 8:07 pm EST February 20, 2007

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CANONSBURG, Pa. -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are burning up the ice these days, largely because of star Sidney Crosby.

We've seen the 19-year-old Crosby's moves on the ice, but what does he do when he's off the ice?

WTAE Channel 4 Action News anchor Michelle Wright caught up with Sid the Kid to find out. They played pool and bubble hockey at Southpointe recently before a team practice.

Wright: "Do you have a girlfriend?"

Crosby: "I'm single. It's pretty tough to meet girls and stuff like that. We don't get a lot of time away from the rink."

Wright: "When you're ready to look for a girlfriend, what are you going to look for?"

Crosby: "Probably somebody who's pretty independent. I mean, with the hockey schedule, you need somebody who's going to have to deal with what I deal with when I'm out in public and stuff like that. Pretty patient person."

Wright: "Lots of people were interested in you or had a daughter they wanted you to meet. Do you get a lot of people wanting to fix you up?"

Crosby: "Yeah, that happens a lot. And you know, there's not too many ways you can take it. You don't want to say yes to everybody, but it really depends on the situation. I'm not too big on the blind dates or anything like that, but you never know."

Wright: "How easy is it for you to go out and hang out?"

Crosby: "It's fine. People are awesome here. They're supportive. They definitely recognize people when we're out, but by no means do they invade people's privacy."

There is often a rush of people requesting Sid the Kid's autograph, but Crosby said he has requested a few autographs for his own collection, too.

"I got (Steelers wide receiver) Hines Ward, and I was pretty happy with that," said Crosby. "It was right after the Super Bowl, and that was pretty interesting to me to get his autograph. And (Pirates outfielder) Jason Bay, a fellow Canadian who's doing great here."

Crosby also takes pride in his hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

"I get home for Christmas if we have a good break, if we have enough days off," said Crosby. "In the summer, I have a house back there. I love going there. It's a great place. You can go there and I guarantee, first day, you'll make five friends."

In Pittsburgh, Crosby lives with Penguins part-owner Mario Lemieux.

With four children running around the Lemieux house, Crosby said it's easy to stay grounded.

He said there's not a lot of hockey talk at home, but Lemieux and his wife, Nathalie, have given some advice: When it comes to hockey, enjoy the game, and when it comes to women, be responsible.

Crosby said that's something he keeps in mind when he hangs out with his teammates, both on and off the ice.

"Everybody, I mean the young guys on the team, hang out the most," said Crosby. "Guys like (Colby) Armstrong and (Ryan) Whitney."

Wright: "Who gives you the hardest time?"

Crosby: "Army (Armstrong) for sure. He's my roommate, so I hear a lot from him."

Crosby said when they go out, they like to hit Morton's or Sonoma Grille.

He said his taste in music includes Three Days Grace and Foo Fighters, and his Sunday routine now includes watching football.

But plans for after the end of his hockey career aren’t written in stone.

Wright: "What do you think you'll do after hockey?"

Crosby: "I don't know."

Wright: "You're 19, so you probably don't have to think about that yet."

Crosby: "I don't know. You never know. I don't know, and I want to think about it. I want to play as long as I can and see how that goes."

His goals on the ice come easy. Crosby was picked to be a hockey great at an early age, but he said he wasn't so sure that would be the case.

"For me, I didn't want to expect it or anything like that," said Crosby.

When it came to dishing out dirt, Crosby went straight for his on-the-road roommate, Armstrong.

"He snores," said Crosby. "He snores like crazy. I am one of those people who could fall asleep within two minutes of my head hitting the pillow, but I've woken up and heard some pretty awkward noises coming out of his nose."

Full interview (video) on right side: http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/...67/detail.html
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