Monday, July 02, 2007

No Contract Renewal News... Yet

Yesterday marked the beginning of the free agent signing period. It also marked the first day on which the Penguins can begin contract extension negotiations with one Sidney Patrick Crosby. So why no news of a 30 year, $500 million deal to keep him in the black and gold? Well, for starters, that's a ridiculous exaggeration (though not too far off from the insane deals DiPietro got a few months ago and Briere got yesterday). Secondly, even though fans like me want to have it in writting that Crosby will be in Pittsburgh for the next half century, Ray Shero, who is much smarter than I am, knows that Sid's not exactly due to be packing up and heading out any time soon.

Shero's not worried because Sid doesn't become an
unrestricted free agent until 2012. He becomes a restricted free agent next year - but don't worry: I GUARANTEE the Penguins will match whatever offer is thrown at Sidney, even the outrageous big money deals, like the ones mentioned earlier. And who says Sid wants to leave Pittsburgh, anyways? Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review got this gem of a quote from Sid:

"Pittsburgh is a place I really enjoy," Crosby said in May. "There are a lot of similarities to where I grew up in Cole Harbour (Nova Scotia), starting with the people. I relate to the people in Pittsburgh. They're just working-class people. When I came there, the way they welcomed me, the way they have treated me -- it was very sincere. That is what I grew up around, so I appreciate it."

Sound like a kid itching to explore his options?

No, Rob, I don't think it does. I doubt the Kid is going anywhere especially since he's now the captain. Besides, franchise "lifers" like Mario Lemieux and Joe Sakic find themselves in a position to put down roots and have a life off the ice that's not spent living in hotels and apartments.

Not Going Anywhere

And in Pittsburgh, Sid can lead as close to a normal life as Sidney Crosby possibly can because it is, without a doubt, a football town. His star will never outshine that of the 'Burgh's resident sports hero, Ben Roethlisberger, but that is actually a good thing. Ben's now more famous for his social life (yes, that's Carson Daly) than his prowess on the football field anyways, and I'd hate to see that happen to Sid. In Pittsburgh, Sid and company can go to the movies, sign a few autographs at the Mall at Robinson, or have a few drinks at a local pub without being mobbed or harrassed. (Of course, that last one will have to wait a year until Sidney is legal!)

One more thing: Sid has told Pens management that he would accept a less-lucrative deal so Shero would have more money to spend keeping
Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, and Mark-Andre Fleury when their contracts come up for renewal. Considering the money he earns from his endorsement deals, it's not going to hurt him financially, but I challenge you to find many more athletes with the same "team player" attitude as Crosby - especially when it comes to the money. "The unique thing about us is that we have young guys making their mark," Crosby said. "The Cup is what you play for. That is what I am working for. I want to give Pittsburgh the best chance to bring back the Cup."

Sounds like a plan to me, Sid. ;)

Coming up in my next post... a look at yesterday's Free Agency Frenzy.

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