Monday, December 10, 2007

Sid - The Kid

Here's a little bit more of the stuff I got over the weekend. (I've still got a couple more things that I'll post tomorrow. If you've got a tip, by all means, send it my way!) I'll start you out with something I found this morning. Does Sid - the young captain, the award winning phenom - get to have any time to be, well, a regular 20-year-old kid? That's what Eric Duhatschek of wanted to know:
Crosby needs to be so careful and so guarded about everything he does that you wonder, at the age of 20, at a time when many of us had one foot planted in adulthood and one in adolescence, does Sid ever get a chance to be a kid anymore?

"Yeah, every day, away from the rink," answered Crosby. "It's important — you have to have fun. I feel pretty fortunate to be on this team, especially with the young group of guys that we have. I remember my first year, I was on the team and I was pretty much the only young guy and it was a lot different. I was used to junior — hanging out with your buddies after practice, going to lunch or going to movies every day. Here guys were going home to their families, so you wouldn't see them. So to have a young group, I feel really fortunate. I think we're all growing up together, which is kind of nice."
Duhatschek writes that the media attention that Sid receives is different than the media attention that Wayne Gretzky received, in that Gretzky only had to deal with a handful of reporters compared to the dozens that follow Sid around in the locker room and record and/or photograph nearly his every move. So much so, in fact, that the Penguins' staff actually had to make the request that all cameras be turned off when the Saint removes his hockey pants. ARE YOU SERIOUS? They actually had to ask people NOT to film Sid without his pants?! WOW.

At least she didn't mention her five hole.
(Photo was taken at the December 8th game at Vancouver.)

Moving on, new Friend of The Show Joeri L. sent in this article that makes the case against the current Penguins team being comparable with the 1980's Edmonton Oilers. Author Andrew Podnieks compares the teams, coach to coach, captain to captain, goalie to goalie. For starters, he hardly thinks Penguins' Coach Michel Therrien has the "remarkable dual qualities of paternal and dictatorial strength" that former Oilers' Coach Glen Sather did with his young Oilers team. But that's certainly not the only weakness in the Pens/Oilers comparisons that Podnieks sees:
Worse still, the Penguins did not help Crosby's progress when they named him captain this past summer, the youngest captain in NHL history. On a team with two highly-respected veterans - Gary Roberts and Darryl Sydor (not to mention the recently demoted and respected veteran Mark Recchi [snoop: Remember that Recchi is now an Atlanta Thrasher.]) - the Penguins could not have taken a bigger gamble. Indeed, not to name Roberts captain was to waste one of his trademark strengths - leadership. This is not yet Crosby's team, in the emotional sense. Of course, he is their best player, and all too often teams lazily pick their top point-getter as their captain, but Crosby has enough to handle every day - the media, the comparisons to Gretzky, the tag of "NHL Saviour" - without having to wear the "C". This added "honour" is an artificial one, one he has not yet earned, and one that simply does not yet feel right.


To compound matters, Marc-Andre Fleury has been a disappointment in goal, playing like a junior star who is unable to make the transition to the NHL. The days he draws comparisons to Oilers greats Grant Fuhr or Bill Ranford seem a long way away. And, although Malkin has lived up to his expectations, many of the young players from last year who seemed to be emerging into a force to complement Crosby and Malkin have failed to deliver this year, notably Jordan Staal (two goals so far), Colby Arsmtrong (two goals), and Erik Christensen (three goals). It might be fair to call Crosby and Malkin the new Gretzky and Mark Messier, but the rest of the Pens have yet to prove themselves to be worthy of comparisons to Jari Kurri, Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey, and Kevin Lowe.
So what do you think? Feel free to voice your opinion on Podnieks's assessments in the comments below.

In other news, a 12-year-old Canadiens fan from Wedgeport has won a trip to see the Penguins play the Ottawa Senators in Pittsburgh. (Also note that author Tina Comeau repeatedly misspells the great city's name as "Pittsburg." UGH.)

Would you have ever guessed that most Canadians would rather receive a phone call from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper than our guy Sid? It seems that more people preferred to talk with the Prime Minister than Sir Sidney, pop star Avril Lavigne, or news man Llyod Robertson. Now you should get on over to The Sidney Crosby Spotlight and vote for the person from whom you would rather receive a phone call. I'll be sure to let you know when Eric tallies the results. I'm guessing that since both he and I run Sidney sites, the vote will probably go in the Saint's favor, but I guess stranger things have happened...


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