Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sidney Hearts Pittsburgh

It's official! Sidney LOVES Pittsburgh. He loves the city so much that he wants to be the one to bring the Stanley Cup back. How do I know this for sure, you ask? Well, he's been saying that he's happy in the 'Burgh for a while now, but up til now it's been difficult to tell if that was just lip service. Plenty of players (in every sport) have said how much they love their teams and the cities they are playing in, only to sign a contract to play halfway across the country the very next day. It's never easy to tell if they mean it when they say they like their teams and want to stay, which makes fans apprehensive that their favorite players are going to leave. However, that's all changed for Pens fans since Sidney re-signed with the Penguins on July 10. Two things lead me to believe that Sid loves Pittsburgh, the Penguins, and most importantly, the fans.

For one thing, Sid gave Ray Shero the hometown discount. We all know that Pat Brisson, Sid's agent, was basically given a blank contract signed by Shero and told to fill in the salary and length. Sid didn't go for the gusto and demand every single cent he was legally able to get under the current salary cap regulations. He left $2 million a year for Shero to use for other players. But for some jerks, that's still not good enough. Allen Muir of Sports Illustrated is saying that the money Sid left on the table will only pay for one player with limited depth. He's clearly missing the point. That money isn't going to be used to sign another player. Sid allowed Shero to keep that cash not only to fatten the contracts that are already being considered for stars like Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal, and Marc-Andre Fleury, but also to serve as a "lead-by-example" demonstration for other Penguins players to emulate during their contract renewals. How could Malkin, Staal, or Fleury ask for top dollar when the best player in the NHL - their captain - isn't doing that?

Another thing about this article that pisses me off is that Muir has the gall to address this issue under the blazing headline: "Could Crosby signing cost Penguins a shot at the Cup?" I shouldn't even dignify this with a response. All I will say is that Sid, his agents, Lemieux, and Shero all have the same goal in mind: winning that Cup. The salary cap will most likely go up multiple times in the 5 year period that coincides with Sidney's contract extension. That translates to even more money left for Shero to use for non-Crosby contract negotiations. If I figured this out, Sid and his agents knew it, too. Take that to the bank.

We're happy you're staying, too, Sidney!

The other reason I now really believe Sid when he says he's happy to stay in Pittsburgh is the fact that there was a contract renewal in the first place. Sid had another full season left to play on his entry level contract. We could have gone an entire year without knowing whether or not he would be wearing black and gold in the 2008-2009 season. But Sid knew he wanted to stay in Pittsburgh (count on it - he knew what he wanted or these negotiations never would have taken place) and most likely didn't want the 2007-2008 season to be marred with constant speculation about where he would be playing the during the next season. If that doesn't scream out "TEAM PLAYER," I'm not sure what does.

Trust me, Sidney: Pittsburgh loves you, too. :)

Reminder: I'll be taking nickname submissions until July 19! Another big thank you to all of you who have sent one in already. Keep them coming! :)

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