For more than ten seasons now, fans across the National Hockey League have heard about Pittsburgh Penguins' captain Sidney Crosby's silly superstitions, obsessive desire to win and heavy sense of competition he brings to the rink every day. At some point, we can understand: for the past two summers, Crosby and his teammates have made it all the way to the Stanley Cup, celebrating with the prestigious trophy and spending the offseason touring with the Cup and being told how great you are.
Not this summer. Unlike the other past seasons, Crosby will be at home, sitting on his couch, while other players and former teammates will be competing for the ultimate prize in the game.
And Crosby will be cheering for one friend in particular. In an interview with NHL insider Pierre LeBrun for The Athletic, Crosby expressed that he’s rooting for his good friend and wishes nothing but the best for his former netminder Marc-Andre Fleury, now in between the pipes for the Vegas Golden Knights. The new expansion team is facing the Washington Capitals, who eliminated the Pens in the second, as the Stanley Cup final starts Monday night.
“I am happy for him,” Crosby told The Athletic. “He’s having a lot of fun, you can tell, and as a friend having played with him for a long time it’s great to see him doing well. He’s a great person who works really hard and he’s a big part of his team’s success right now.’’
While many reporters are quick to labeled the Golden Knights as the players no one wanted, Crosby knew that great players would end up in Vegas just because of the rules of the expansion draft. He also knows that his friend Fleury saw it as a motivation to start a new chapter in his career.
“Goaltenders are strong mentally and competitive; you have to be in order to play the position. Flower is the same, he believes in himself and loves the game. He wants to be there helping the team making the big saves. That’s exactly what he’s doing right now, they are playing some great hockey and he’s making big saves.’’
It might be bittersweet for the Pens captain to see Fleury, who just like Crosby has his name three times on the Cup, compete in the Finals this year without him. However, you better believe Crosby is taking the time this summer to get ready for next year and another run at the Cup.