Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Hockey News Interview

I've been doing this for a while now, but it still never ceases to amaze me how great our Friends of The Show really are. I got an email from Friend Christina L. She has a digital subscription to The Hockey News magazine. Anyone who doesn't have one doesn't have access to an interview with Sidney where fans submitted the questions. Fortunately for us, Christina was nice enough to take time out her evening to type it up for us so we would all have a chance to learn a little bit more about Sidney as a regular guy. In this article, he lists some of his favorite things, talks about his hair (I'm not kidding), and there are some outstanding admissions (cross dressing!). Enjoy!!!

Sid vs. the World
You asked. He answered. Sidney Crosby fields fans' questions from every corner of the globe.

Favorite Car:
Range Rover.

Best Concert:

Tim McGraw in Minnesota.

Favorite Band:

I don't have one favorite band. I like everything…Foo Fighters, Three Doors Down…pretty much everything.

Most embarrassing CD in your collection:

The guys always give me a hard time about Bon Jovi. [snoop: Rightly so, Sid...]

What actor would you get to play you in a movie about your life:

Denzel Washington. I think he's the best.

How often do you read The Hockey News?

Pretty much every issue. We've had a subscription at my house for a long time. My dad had it when he was a kid and I had one when I was young, too.

Do you think the NHL is headed in the right direction?

I think so, as long as they can maintain the same standard (on obstruction calls). To me that's so important…especially in my first year, they enforced it so much. There were a lot of goals and it was a lot of fun to play that way. But they have to make sure they continue to call it consistently. As soon as sticks are allowed to get in there and there's hooking and clutching, it makes it very difficult to perform. You don't want it to go in that direction. I think the game is better the way it is now and as long as they call (the penalties), the game will continue being fun.

When the Penguins win the Stanley Cup, what will you do with it?
I have never thought about that. If I ever had the chance, I'd obviously bring it home (to Cole Harbour, N.S.) and play a game of road hockey with my friends. I've done it so many times with my buddies, we'd play for the real Cup this time. Then I'd bring it to my parents' house and perhaps to a local hospital. Hopefully I get the opportunity.

Other than family members and hockey people, whom do you admire most?

Tiger Woods. I really enjoy watching him and he's a great role model. He's obviously dominant in his sport. You don't see that nowadays too often. You look at guys like (Roger) Federer and Tiger, they really dominate their sports.

If you could give one bit of advice to an NHL hopeful, what would it be?
You have to play for the right reasons. I always wanted to be the best and to get the most out of myself. Not everyone plays for that reason, but it you want to make the NHL you have to have that passion to be better and to learn. You have to put in time, but you shouldn't look at it as putting in time. It should be a matter of doing something you want to do.

What would you change about the game if you were NHL Commissioner?
I would continue to crack down on obstruction the way they have. To me, that's the most important thing, letting the game be more free-flowing. Obviously that's easy for me to say because I'm an offensive hockey player. The other thing is, make the goalie gear smaller. I think with today's technology, they can make the goalie equipment just as protective, but a little tighter, a little smaller. We watch the classic games on TV and it's painful for the scorers. You watch how small the goalies were back then and you realize back then you could probably score along the ice more than we do now. There are a lot of guys in our room that are jealous when we watch those older games.

What do you do on days off to rest and recharge your batteries?
Maybe go to a movie or just hang out at the house. When you're at home, you want to be at home. We travel so much, when you have the chance between road games to be home, you just want to stick around the house. I lie around and relax because I know the opportunity doesn't come along too often. In my situation there are often things I need to do for the team, so when I get the chance to relax it's all I want to do. I'm a bit of a movie guy. I'll get a couple of the guys and we'll go and see a movie in the afternoon.

What was your worst hazing experience?
In junior they put Vaseline in our hair. It didn't come out for about a week. I also had to dress up in a costume – I was Marilyn Monroe. [snoop: If anyone out there has a picture of this, PLEASE EMAIL ME IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!]

Looks to me like Sid liked the greasy look. (Just kidding - sort of...)

How did you feel when Wayne Gretzky anointed you as "The Next One?"
I was really surprised, for sure. I didn't expect that, but at the same time I don't think it changed my mindset or anything. It would've been easy when you have the greatest player ever saying that to get a big head, but I wanted to make sure I kept everything in perspective. I basically thought to myself, "I have done well at a young age, but I still have a lot of things I can improve on before I can come close to that."

Do you have a ritual you go through every game before you hit the ice?
Yeah, I do pretty much the same thing before every game. I'll eat at the same time – the same meal. I have chicken and pasta. I like to get to the rink around two-and-a-half hours before the game. I stretch and then tape my sticks. We have a meeting usually 45 minutes before warm-up.

I'm seven years old and love to play hockey. When you were my age, how often were you on the ice? And when you weren't, how did you practice?
When I was seven I was probably on the ice three times a week. We used to have two practices and one game each week. As for off the ice, I'd play road hockey every day with my friends. I don't know if that would be considered practicing, but it's what we did. There weren't too many days that went by when we didn't play hockey. We had lots of kids in our neighborhood and we always wanted to play hockey. We played ball hockey a lot and I'd also play hockey in my basement. I tried to play every day because I love the game.

Which NHL team and player do you hate playing against the most, and why?
New Jersey is always tough to play against. They're a defensive team and they don't allow for teams to skate too much. They don't give you a lot of open ice, either. The fact that we play them eight times, too, makes me much more aware of them. You know going into every game against the Devils that you're not going to be given a lot of room. And John Madden is tough to play against…he's great at what he does as far as being a solid two-way guys. What's great about him, too, is offensively he's dangerous as well. When you have a guy you are matched up against defensively, you often don't have to worry about getting scored on, but with Madden, he can make things happen on offense so he's a tough guy to play against.

If you had the chance to win a game in a shootout, who is the last goalie you'd want to face?
I don't want to give any goalie and edge. He may see this and I'll end up playing him… OK, I'll say Martin Brodeur because of his experience. He's a winner. He knows how to win and there's no intimidating that guy. Definitely Brodeur.

What celebrity would you like to date?
Eva Mendes. She's my favorite.

Do you have a favorite hockey movie?
The Mighty Ducks was always a big one when I was growing up. Slap Shot was good, too. I would say those are my two favorites. I saw Miracle, and it was a great movie, but the US wins so I don't think (as a Canadian) I can say that one. (laughs)

You'll freely tell us about dressing up as a famous blonde bombshell, but you're hesitant to admit you liked the movie Miracle?!

What's the hardest you've ever been hit?
My first year in the NHL I got hit pretty hard by (Buffalo center) Tim Connolly. I was skating beside him and I guess he thought I as going to go at him. Actually, I was trying to get by him. He braced himself and I had no idea he was going to stop. He put his shoulder right into me and I as parallel with the ice. I was winded pretty good. Those ones don't feel too good.

Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr had mullet haircuts for the Pens' Stanley Cups in the 90s. Have you considered growing a mullet to help Pittsburgh take a serious run at the Cup?
(laughs) I'll grow it a little longer than usual if that's the case. I didn't realize the connection between the mullet and success. For sure you have to have a little bit of hockey hair, a little bit of flow, as they say. A lot of guys like to have fur with their hockey hair so I'll try to keep it a little long. ("Like Ryan Smyth?") No, not that long. [snoop: OH, THANK GOD.]

Your shootout opportunities are my favorite to watch. Do you go on gut instinct or do you have a plan?
I think it changes. Being the third shooter, I get the chance to watch the goalie a bit to see what he's doing. If there's something I can pick up, or there's something I know about him from games or years past, I'll try to use that. If I can't pick up anything, it's instinct…there have been a couple of times where I did something that even surprised me. You just react on a play. It might be a move you haven't practiced so you go in there and just do it. That's why you practice, so your instinct will just take over.

If you were a rival team's coach, how would you try to stop Sidney Crosby?
(laughs) I should lie. For any player, it's tough when they come at you physically and take space away. If you give any good player time, they're going to try to take advantage of that time. I would say for a team to be physical is the best way.

You once said the only thing you were afraid of was your best friend, Jack Johnson. Is that because he'll be a defensive juggernaut, or is he just dangerously crazy?
I would say dangerously crazy sometimes. He's a physical guy who doesn't think twice about finishing his hits. You have to be aware of that. You can't take away from his offensive capabilities, too. He's strong with the puck.

How do you have a life away from hockey with all the attention from media and fans?
It is so important for me to have my time away from hockey. Obviously, hockey is my passion, I love it. But definitely for me, time away from the rink and time when my mind isn't thinking about hockey is important.

Are there any charitable causes you find especially appealing?
There's a lot of children's charities I help, (but) there's not one specific charity I deal with. I have a luxury box where kids can come and watch, usually a couple of families sit in the box each game. That's a great chance to give back a bit. You want to help everyone, and it's hard because there are so many great causes out there…I do hospital visits, too, and that really puts things in perspective when you see the kinds of adversity others live with.

If your life depended on winning a game, which two wingers, two defensemen and goalie would you pick?
Oh, that's a tough one. I'd take Dany Heatley as one winger and Jarome Iginla on the other side. On defense, I'd like one guy who plays offense and one guy who is more of a physical type. If Scott Niedermayer was still playing I'd take him for sure. Niedermayer and Chris Pronger. It doesn't get much better than that. (Niklas) Lidstrom and (Sergei) Gonchar would be good, too. In net I'd have Roberto Luongo.

What individual record would you most like to break?
I've never thought about that. What's the record for most Stanley Cups? ("Henri Richard, 11.") I'd better pick it up a bit. I'd like to break the (single-season) points record, but I don't see myself doing that. The coolest one I think is the one Mario had – a goal every way. I don't think a lot of people realize how difficult it is to do…an empty-net goal, shorthanded, power play, even strength and penalty shot. You'll never see that again. That would be the coolest one. Fifty goals in 39 games is pretty incredible, too. Those marks are so special, I don't think they'll ever be touched.

After Jim Balsillie's failed bids to bring the Pens and then the Preds to Canada, how would you have felt about playing in Canada? Do you think a team in Hamilton or Winnipeg – or both – would be good for the NHL?
I would've been disappointed about having to leave Pittsburgh. There's no doubt Canada is passionate about hockey, but at the same time I would've been disappointed to leave, so I'm happy things ended up the way they did. As far as having more teams in Canada, I don't think you can go wrong. Obviously the support is going to be there, it just depends it it's the right thing for the whole league in general. If the objective is to expand in the US , it's probably not going to go to Canada, but I think we all realize there's always going to be support for teams in Canada. I have thought about what it would be like to play in Canada, but once I got here, I honestly feel so fortunate. Here (in Pittsburgh), obviously, they are passionate about hockey. It's a great place to play.

Being the face of hockey, have you ever asked Wayne Gretzky for advice on carrying the mantle?
No, I've never really discussed that with him. I've only met with him on two separate occasions. Everyone handles everything his or her own way. I don't feel as though he has passed the torch on to me. Hopefully I can be an exciting player, but I think there are a lot of players who can bring attention and popularity to the game, too.

"I don't need advice from ANYONE, people. I'm doing just fine on my own."

Will you ever move out of Mario Lemieux's place? (P.S. Do you need a maid?)
I do see myself moving out eventually. Obviously, it's a great place, but there's going to be a time when I'll have to move out on my own. Will I get a maid? I don't know…we'll see how I handle being on my own and we'll go from there.

Well, now you can consider yourself up to date on all things Sidney Crosby - all thanks to Christina. I know I say this all the time, but I absolutely mean this 100%: TSCS has really great Friends!!! On behalf of everyone, THANK YOU FOR TYPING THIS UP AND SENDING IT IN, CHRISTINA!!!


In keeping with our team effort here on TSCS, here are the pictures from the issue of The Hockey News that Friend of The Show Amanda T. scanned in for us (Thanks for scanning them for us, Amanda!):

The cover of the magazine

Inside the cover of the magazine

The picture that accompanies the article

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