Sunday, October 02, 2005

Crosby: Under Mario's Wing

A lot will be made of the fact that Crosby will be living with Lemieux and be learning on-ice and off-ice lessons from Super Mario. If you are going to have a mentor, Mario is one of the best to have, don't ya think? Still, I can't but get funny images in my head of Crosby wearing an apron, doing dishes, and yelling at the kids to shut up.


For now, Crosby has gratefully accepted an invitation to live with Lemieux, his wife and their four young children this season. (Asked whether he or Mario gets to pick the radio stations on their drives to games and practices, Crosby sheepishly answered, "He does.") The long-standing custom of young players boarding with families is one of the sweetest, quaintest traditions in hockey. But pairing Lemieux, one of the best players ever, with the kid who someday might be The Best Ever could provide an extraordinary twist on Crosby's career. Imagine a young Gretzky getting a one-year around-the-clock apprenticeship with Rocket Richard.

"I feel very fortunate," Crosby says, "and I want to learn as much as I can."

Lemieux, a Quebec native whose first language is French, stayed with a businessman's family in Mount Lebanon, a Pittsburgh suburb, to ease his rookie year transition. When asked in Pittston if he has set any house rules on, say, Crosby bringing home dates, Lemieux joked, "Yeah. No sleepovers." How about baby-sitting? Lemieux, still part-owner of the Pens, sighed and said, "It's not in his contract. But you never know."

Smiling fondly now, Lemieux volunteered, "He's a really good kid."

Full article here.

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