Posts Tagged ‘sidney crosby’

NHL: New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) Sidney Crosby said Wednesday he did not pay attention to those questioning whether he should continue playing hockey after suffering another concussion during the playoffs.

Crosby was too focused on capturing another Stanley Cup for his Pittsburgh Penguins to worry about outside opinions on his health.

”I don’t really read or listen to that stuff during the playoffs,” Crosby told reporters at his annual hockey camp in his hometown of Cole Harbor, Nova Scotia.

Crosby has suffered multiple concussions during his career, including one during Game 3 of the second round against Washington in May. He missed one game before returning for Game 5, prompting questions about whether he should consider retirement.

The Penguins went on to win a second straight Cup, defeating the Nashville Predators in the final.

Crosby said he understands why concussions generate so much controversy.

”It’s a hot topic,” he said. ”That’s the nature of it right now.”

He said more information on how to deal with head injuries is becoming available all the time.

”You have to continue to listen to your body to make sure before you go back that you’re good to go,” he said. ”There’s things in place to help with that.”

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There’s a reason why Sidney Crosby has won everything there is to be won in hockey. It’s what he lives for.

The Pittsburgh Penguins captain and superstar celebrated his second straight Stanley Cup victory – and third overall – Sunday night, along with his second straight Conn Smythe Trophy, and told reporters it’s winning, and the emotion that comes with it, that keeps him going.

“I think this feeling right now,” Crosby said when asked what motivates him. “You can’t match this. This is what it’s all about, and to be able to share that with a group of guys, and a lot of them guys that you’ve played a long time with and understand how difficult it is and what you’ve had to go through and that kind of thing, to share it with family and friends, you know, is just … that’s what it’s about.”

Crosby called these Penguins – the first club to repeat as champs in almost 20 years – a very special team.

“I’m really happy to be a part of this group, and a good chunk of the guys are returning from last year, so it’s pretty special,” he said. “You know, we set out to try to go back to back. We knew it was going to be difficult, but I think that’s probably where the most joy comes out of, is just knowing how difficult it is now to go back to back and knowing that we overcame all those things. It’s a pretty special group.”

Mission accomplished. And in the salary cap era, no less.

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Repeat.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are back-to-back Stanley Cup champions.

Sidney Crosby and Co. defeated the Nashville Predators 2-0 in Sunday’s Game 6 to win the Stanley Cup Final 4-2. Patric Hornqvist scored the winning goal at 18:25 of the third period, and Carl Hagelin sealed the deal with an empty-net goal. Matt Murray was spectacular in the crease, stopping 27 shots to earn his second straight shutout.

It’s the fifth Stanley Cup in Penguins history, each won on the road, and the third in the Crosby and Evgeni Malkin era.

The game was filled with controversy, after an early second-period goal by Colton Sissons was ruled no-goal after referee Kevin Pollack blew the play dead early having lost sight of the puck.

The referees did their best to try and make it up to Nashville, the Predators going on four power plays to Pittsburgh’s none, but Peter Laviolette’s crew couldn’t find the back of the net.

Pittsburgh is the first team to repeat as Cup champs in the salary cap era, and the first since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998.

Crosby was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, earning the nod for the second straight year. He finished the playoffs with eight goals and 19 assists.

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PITTSBURGH – Just about anywhere else in the NHL, Evgeni Malkin would be ”The Guy.”
 

The captain. The unquestioned leader. The brightest star. The fulcrum around which to build a franchise.

Yet he has found comfort, peace and freedom in Pittsburgh, where the player everyone calls ”Geno” has spent the last 11 years not as ”The Guy” but ”The Other Guy.” That’s not a slight. How can it be when the player a few stalls over in the dressing room happens to be a good friend and the best player in the world?

Sure, if he played in another market, Malkin would be the centerpiece. Why do that when you get to chase Stanley Cups every spring with Sidney Crosby?

”I don’t want to be No. 1 in Carolina,” Malkin said on the eve of Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup Final date with Nashville. ”I want to be better (with) Sid.”

And occasionally more dangerous than Sid.

It’s Malkin, not Crosby, who leads the league in scoring during the playoffs. The big Russian’s power-play goal in Pittsburgh’s 5-3 Game 1 victory over the Predators gave him 25 points in 20 games, just ahead of Crosby’s 22 in 19. If the Penguins find a way to fend off Nashville and raise the Cup for a second straight year and the third time in the Crosby and Malkin era, it could be Malkin who walks away with a second Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason MVP.

Not that Malkin is keeping track. Point out he won his Hart Trophy as NHL MVP in 2012 during a season in which Crosby was limited to just 22 games due to a concussion, Malkin shrugs. When he was left off the NHL’s list of 100 greatest players released at the All-Star break, he cracked a couple of jokes and moved on. Asked to revisit the omission over the weekend, Malkin responded with typical bluntness.

”No, I don’t care, my record is Cups,” Malkin said. ”If I win like one more Cup, it’s like my record. I not think about points. It’s only team.”

If Crosby is the Penguins’ captain and conscience, Malkin is their id. While the unfailingly understated Crosby searches for the right thing to say, Malkin usually only pipes up when there’s something he needs to get off his chest.

After Pittsburgh failed to close out Ottawa in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference FInal, Malkin groused about the need for him to be better even though he was the best player in black and gold on a night his sublime second-period goal gave Pittsburgh a lead it couldn’t quite hold. That’s just Geno being Geno.

”He plays a pretty emotional game,” Crosby said. ”His game is skilled, but physically he’s not afraid to engage.”

That fearlessness, however, can make it appear at times that the 30-year-old is indestructible. He’s not. He gritted his way through the 2016 playoffs despite searing pain in his right elbow, not that it stopped him from putting up six goals and 12 assists as the Penguins won their fourth Cup.

The victory last spring served as validation for both Crosby and Malkin following a string of spring flameouts that left some wondering if the Penguins would be better off with just one franchise center instead of two. It’s a sentiment that always struck Malkin as odd.

Malkin fled Russia and the Kontinental Hockey League a few weeks after his 20th birthday in 2006 to begin a new life 5,500 miles away from home. He forged a bond with another generational talent, one whose own greatness has forced Malkin not to take his own for granted. He could have chosen to explore free agency three years ago but instead signed an eight-year extension with Pittsburgh long before he hit the open market.

”I sign big deal here because I feel we can win every year,” Malkin said. ”I want to play with Sid long time. I want to be like – it’s good competition between me and Sid.”

While KHL officials have spoken publicly about making a run at Russian stars this summer – dangling the chance to play in the Olympics after the NHL decided it would not send its players to South Korea next February as part of the bait – Malkin wants no part of it.

He’ll always be a Russian. His life, however, is now in Pittsburgh. His son, Nikita, turns 1 on Wednesday. While fatherhood has mellowed Malkin off the ice – he joked he’s gone out ”zero times” since Nikita’s birth – he remains fully engaged on it.

”I come to rink every day smiling,” Malkin said. ”I want to try new sticks, new skates. I’m still (excited) to play. If we win one more Cup, it’s amazing. If I win one more MVP, it’s amazing. I try and be better.”

When he’s at his best, there are few who can keep up. When the Penguins were at risk of botching a 5-on-3 power play late in the first period of Game 1, it was Malkin who took command. While his teammates searched for the perfect shot, Malkin opted to just blast one at Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne. The puck squeezed through to give the Penguins an early lead and set the tone for a three-goal outburst by the time first-period horn sounded.

A few hours later Malkin was back home, focusing on being what he calls being ”a good dad, not just a good hockey dad.”

Nikita is still too young to realize what his father does for a living. Still, Malkin is well aware of the legacy he’s creating one shift at a time, one that isn’t focused on selling more No. 71 jerseys but more mid-June Cup parades through his adopted hometown.

”I know when (Nikita) growing up, he’s like 2 years old, 3 years old, he start understanding,” Malkin said. ”I hope he’s little bit proud to me.”

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Sidney Crosby spoke to the media for the first time Friday following the cross-check from Matt Niskanen that resulted in a concussion.

“It’s hard to say,” Crosby told TSN’s Mark Masters. “I’m not going to sit here and guess, but it’s not one that happens often.”

By “guess,” Crosby is likely referring to the widespread debate as to whether Niskanen intentionally cross-checked Crosby in the face during Game 3, or whether it was an accident. Unsurprisingly, Crosby didn’t offer his opinion.

Alex Ovechkin‘s slash, which happened seconds before Niskanen’s cross-check, has also been a topic of discussion. Crosby was fairly forgiving of his rival.

“The slash, he’s trying to prevent a goal,” Crosby told Masters. “That’s a pretty common play for the most part.”

Crosby’s Penguins will have a chance to eliminate the Capitals in Game 5 on Saturday in Washington, though No. 87’s status remains up in the air after missing Wednesday’s Game 4.

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Before maturing into one of the NHL’s finest producers, Brad Marchand‘s name was in headlines among the hockey community generally for the wrong reasons.

Now in the midst of his best professional campaign, the Boston Bruins super pest-turned-offensive dynamo has caught the attention of the NHL world for crafting a flat-out incredible season.

On Sunday afternoon, Marchand sits in second place in the ever-changing NHL scoring race, one point behind Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid. His 37 goals trail only Crosby, and since the calendar flipped to 2017, no player has been more productive.

In 32 games since Jan. 1, Marchand leads the league with 27 goals and 48 points, naturally thrusting his name into the mix for the “Rocket” Richard, Art Ross and perhaps even the Hart Trophy.

However, an MVP award isn’t on Marchand’s mind.

“I’m not even paying attention to any of it,” Marchand told CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty. “We’re at the end of the season, and that’s so important. That’s the only thing that matters right now.”

Marchand and the Bruins are looking to snap a two-year absence from the postseason, and currently hold a three-point cushion for third place in the Atlantic Division heading into Monday’s pivotal clash with the pressing Toronto Maple Leafs.

Toronto coach Mike Babcock, who slotted Marchand alongside Crosby and Patrice Bergeron at the World Cup in September to galvanize No. 63’s coming-out party, believes Marchand deserves to be recognized as one of the game’s top forwards.

“No one’s driving his team harder,” Babcock told Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. “Marchy’s a great guy and he’s a real good player, plays hard. He’s competitive. He’s all-in every day and he does a good job for his team.”

Marchand might be in tough to outshine Crosby and McDavid in the eyes of voters, but he can no longer be ignored. Whatever he amounts to over the course of Boston’s next 11 games, his presence among the NHL’s elite forwards is now firmly cemented.

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It’s a story of two people who know a thing or two about going into battle coming together.

Ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins game Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks, captain Sidney Crosby took the time to meet one of his most adoring fans, 5-year-old Memphis Savage.

The Vancouver Island native – who had brain tumors removed shortly after his first birthday – received the news in January that, after years of no problems, two new non-cancerous tumors had developed.

Shortly after, Memphis’ father, Cole, penned a letter to the Penguins asking if there was a chance Memphis could meet his favorite player – Crosby.

The opportunity presented itself Saturday.

“I was hoping and praying but I had no idea it was going to happen,” Cole said, according to Cheryl Chan of The Province. “I can’t stress how good (Crosby’s) heart was, and how nice he was to do this for us.”

Crosby spent nearly 45 minutes signing autographs and chatting with the family and urging Memphis to continue fighting in a chat that was instigated by Memphis.

“My name is Memphis. Nice to meet you, sir,” a well-dressed Memphis said, breaking the ice with his idol.

Memphis would get to watch Crosby skate in a 3-0 win over his favorite team, the Canucks, capping off what, to dad, was a perfect afternoon.

“I was almost crying,” said Cole. “He’s a 100 percent class act. We met a real champion. A heart of gold that guy has.”