Everyone makes a big deal of the leadership Roberts provides to a young team, and rightfully so. Sidney Crosby thought so much of him and Recchi that he called both last month to make sure they were OK with him becoming, at 19, the youngest captain in NHL history. That's respect.
It's hard to imagine a better role model for young players than Roberts. His workout regime is legendary, to the degree that many of the Penguins made sure to get his cell phone number at the end of the season so they could make arrangements to join him this summer to train. Crosby spent a couple of days with him in Toronto earlier this month.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
For regular readers, by now it is obvious that I am a big Gary Roberts fan. It turns out, so is Sidney - so much so that Sid called Gary, as well as the Penguin's other resident veteran, Mark Recchi, to make sure they would approve of his captaincy:
Wow. That says a lot. Sid could have simply accepted the captaincy without consulting anyone. Actually, he could have added the C to his uniform following the All Star game weekend in late January. But it says something of his maturity that he waited a few months, consulted both Roberts and Recchi, and talked it over with his parents before saying yes - even though he was already the "unofficial" leader of the Penguins. Obviously, Sid got the thumbs up from the vets (and Mom & Dad!). Now, with the C on his chest, I'm sure Sid will prove to the naysayers that he is indeed mature enough to be captain. Who knows? Maybe he'll even tone down the on-ice complaining a bit... ;)
Referring back to my post from 06-22-07, I will better explain my point: resigning Roberts was the best thing that could have happened to this team. In the few short months he wore the Penguins sweater, his attitude and work ethic have obviously had a significant impact on the team. Don't get me wrong - the guy is an awesome talent (even at his advanced age), but what really matters is that these young Penguins want to be like Gary when they grow up. That will be what makes it worth every penny paid to keep him around for next season.