Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sidney Crosby - An Essay

First things first - I don't think any Pens fan could possibly forget that it was exactly one year ago today when Mario Lemieux made the sun shine once again...

Le Magnifique unveils plans for a new arena...

...then says the words we all longed to hear: "Tonight, I'm proud to announce that your Pittsburgh Penguins will remain right here! Thank you, Pittsburgh. Have a great night."

THANK YOU, SUPER MARIO. With everything in me I THANK YOU.

Also, I thought you might get a kick out of this: You may remember that I've mentioned that my supervisor is a rabid Sabres fan. The IT department here shares a huge open office. He sits in the corner diagonally from me. This is what he sees every day on the wall facing his desk:

Obviously the newspaper clip on the left is the local paper from the day after the Winter Classic. The shot on the right is Sid taking Miller to school in a shootout win (ironically) also exactly one year ago today. Just below the older picture is the Sabreslug I turned into a bloody mess to celebrate that particular win.

After last night's win, this is what I did to the dry erase board in our office:

Sorry about that big black square, but that's where all our cell phone numbers are listed.

Now, since this is his Show, let's get back to Sidney! ESPN has cracked open the vault for its 10th anniversary issue. They've posted links to old articles about their 10 cover athletes for this month's issue. The Saint, as you know, is one of those elite athletes, and ESPN dug up an old essay that Sid wrote when he was 18 years old and in his first year in the NHL. Those of you who may remember this article should know that it is definitely worth re-reading because it's interesting to reminisce and compare Rookie Sid to Captain Sid. Don't feel bad if you missed it the first time around, though, because let's face it - how many people actually look to ESPN for hockey news? :P

Before I go any further, though, I want to tell you that today's photos of Sidney come to us exclusively from Good Friend of The Show Pensgirl. She took them at the 11-17-07 game against the Rangers. She was nice enough to give me several absolutely amazing photos, and I'll be using more of them randomly in the future. THANK YOU so much for sharing them with us, Pensgirl!!!

Without further ado, here's Sid's essay in its entirety:
I wanted to be a goalie growing up. I think every little kid does, because of the equipment. It looks like fun. But my dad discouraged me. He thought Id enjoy skating around and chasing the puck more than sitting in the net freezing.

I've never really played against anyone my own age. It's always been that way. I think it helped me. When I was young, I realized I had a gift, or maybe some talent other kids didn't have. I don't know if its nature or if it came from just playing a lot or having a passion for it. But you can have all the talent in the world, and without a work ethic, nothing will happen for you. That's something I've always told myself. I always wanted to go first. When I was 16 and knew I might have the opportunity to get drafted, I wanted to go No. 1. My parents always told me, if you want to go first, make it easy on yourself. Don't be sitting there on draft day thinking, am I going to go No. 1, No. 2, No. 3? Make it easy for them.

So it was nice when all those sacrifices that I made and that my parents made finally paid off. Draft day made everything worth it. I would have been happy to go anywhere. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to play with Mario. I trained with him here in LA last summer, had dinner with him a few times. He was really great to me, really down-to-earth. He even drove me to the airport for a 6 a.m. flight. I think his wasn't until 8, but he picked me up at 5. That's pretty amazing.

I don't think I'm just a one-way player. I think I'm an all-around player, like Peter Forsberg or Steve Yzerman. I'd like to be the guy who can take big faceoffs late in the game or block shots or hit a guy if he needs to be hit. Obviously, I think my strength is making things happen offensively and scoring goals. But I don't want to be known as someone who can just do that.

I'm not going to try to be another Wayne Gretzky. I don't think there's ever going to be another Wayne Gretzky. When people say I'm going to save hockey, I think of it as a challenge. I'm not going to shy away from it. I want to be the best, but I realize you can't be the best overnight. In your first year in the NHL, you take it one step at a time. There's going to be expectations and pressure. I'm ready to accept that and handle it. But I also think the NHL is going to be a lot of fun, playing in the best league in the world, competing and being challenged. That's what makes it so good when you succeed. I'm young and I know there are a lot of great players in the league. But I don't think its other peoples expectations that I have to live up to, just my own.

I've been a marked man since I started playing. It's always been that way.
A lot of thanks go out to another good Friend of The Show, Cassie C., for providing the link to the ESPN article. :)

One last thing for today then I swear I'm done: after seeing all 10 covers of the magazine, it appears that Sid wasn't the only athlete to fall victim to ESPN's photoshopping massacre. Check out A-Rod in particular - he looks just as weird as Sidney does...

(Click to enlarge.)

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