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?
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! :)