It’s Sidney Crosby’s birthday, but it was No. 87 himself that brought gifts.
Set for release on his 32nd, the Pittsburgh Penguins superstar centre made his debut appearance on Barstool’s Spittin’ Chiclets podcast to cover a variety of topics with co-hosts and former teammates Ryan Whitney and Paul Bissonnette.
Each in the Penguins system through the mid-to-late 2000s, Crosby, Whitney and Bissonnette had ample stories to share from the early years before the chat led them to the 2010 Olympic Final, where Crosby and Whitney played on opposite sides.
Crosby shared some insight on his experience that night, including the “sick” feeling he had when Zach Parise tied the game late for the Americans, the calming confidence Scott Neidermeyer inspired, and the thought process that went into scoring one of the most famous goals in hockey history.
“I used to do this drill growing up,” Crosby began. “It was 10 pucks, and you just shoot 10 into the net. The pucks were scattered all over the offensive zone. You didn’t necessarily know where the net was sometimes, you’re just trying to get 10 pucks in with the best time you can get. You’re trying to score 10 goals on an empty net.
“It’s pretty hard, because once you get tired, you’re skating out to the blue line, you’re turning, you’re firing. When you miss, the puck goes into the corner, and you have to go chase it down. It was just annoying. It’s kinda like a bag skate,” he explained.
“Anyways, that drill used to give those bad angles all the time. You don’t really look at the net a lot, you just let it go. It was one of those things where the puck just popped out and for whatever reason I shot it.”
This led Whitney to interject: “So basically my gold medal dreams were crushed at a rink in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia at 5:30 in the morning in 2001.”
“Seriously though, it goes five-hole,” Crosby said. “It’s a pretty low-percentage shot, but I guess in overtime maybe I was thinking, ‘No shot is a bad shot.’”
Also in the interview, Crosby touched on his rivalry with Alexander Ovechkin, which he said was only partially media-engineered, and the back-and-forth with P.K. Subban in the playoffs a few springs back, which he admitted was “irritating,” but the best bits came while Crosby was reminiscing about the early years — with one story in particular standing out.
When asked about what it was like living with Mario Lemieux, Crosby shared an embarrassing story about the time the NHL legend had to clean up after his dog.
Crosby said the Lemieux family, for reasons unknown, encouraged him to buy a puppy early on his career. While he was a bit skeptical about whether he needed one, saying he could barely do his laundry, he obliged, and he still has the dog (Sam) today.
“I come back after a game and I could smell something. I’m like, ‘What is that? The puppy definitely shit somewhere in the house. I gotta find out where this is.’ So I’m looking everywhere, all over the house, and finally I come around the corner and (Mario) is cleaning up all this shit, like everywhere in the kitchen.”
“I was like, ‘Oh my god.’ I was so embarrassed. Mario Lemieux is cleaning up my dog shit.”
The comparisons between Lemieux and Crosby sparked a conversation about their co-starring superstar teammates from generation to generation, Jaromir Jagr and Evgeni Malkin, and a funny story about how Crosby and Malkin wound up deciding who would enter the ice last when the Penguins came out onto the ice.
Crosby said that Malkin had missed the first few games of his rookie season to nurse a shoulder injury, and for that reason he was left out of the order decided from the outset of the season.
So when Malkin did return, “he was just looking at me,” Crosby said. “And he goes, ‘Three years, Super League.’”
“I’m like, ‘what?,’” Crosby laughed, saying they still go that order today because Malkin pulled rank.
A must-listen for hockey fans, there’s more than an hour of goodies from the normally-guarded superstar. You can find ‘Spittin Chiclets’ here.
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