Vancouver Canucks fans get a rare treat on Friday night: Sidney Crosby.
Long ago we needed to scrap the old nickname “Sid the Kid” as he began to pile up Stanley Cups with Olympic Gold Medals, but the moniker still rings a bell. He seems a bit timeless despite marking his 35th birthday this past August.
I’ve always been impressed with “the Kid”, and I’ve had a number of opportunities to interact with him over the years. Despite all of the attention, he’s always been gracious and cooperative.
I remember the scrums around his first ever home game at the Igloo in Pittsburgh. I was the live, ice level reporter on the visiting Boston Bruins telecast that night. Glen Murray won the game in overtime on a one-timer from the left circle on a feed from Joe Thornton. I still have the game sheet; kept it because it was Sid’s first home game.
Four years later I had the privilege of working for the NHL out of New York as one of the hosts of NHL Live and the co-host of their playoff programming that postseason. When Sid was handed the Cup for the first time in his career after beating the Red Wings, I was one of the lucky few allowed on the ice surface to watch it happen. Then I got to (had to) interview him and many of the other Penguins. (Shhh, I had been quietly pulling for the Red Wings).
A few months later Sid sat down with myself and a couple of other gent’s handling interviews during the NHL pre-season media tour at a hotel on Broadway in New York. He was soft-spoken, polite, and forthcoming.
On two separate occasions he’d do me the honour of co-hosting the mini shtick that was (and may be again) “Three Questions with Simmer”, a weekly bit for NHL Network Radio. He was happy to repeat the ridiculous lines that I fed him.
Prior to the major renovations at Madison Square Garden over the last decade, there was a little group of folks associated with the NHL and MSG Network who used to watch all of the Rangers games from the Zamboni corner along with NYC detectives and NHL security guys Steve and Geno. My pal Stan “the Maven” Fischler, honoured this past week by the New York Islanders for his decades of media work, was one of them. Stan and I were astonished, but not entirely, the way Crosby once reacted to a mouthy fan.
The fan was sitting with his young son and when Sid came off the ice in the corner following the end of a period, the man starting lambasting Crosby with expletives. Sid actually reacted and yelled back at the guy, not upset by being the target of the ire, but yelling back because he felt the guy was setting a bad example and using foul language in front of the kid.
“Nice example you’re setting for your son!!” Crosby yelled.
It was a throwback to a different time and standard, that’s for sure. We couldn’t help but appreciate it.
Canucks Fans Opportunity
The on-ice accolades include those three Cups and of course the Golden Goal at the Olympics in Vancouver in 2010. His ability to overcome early concussion issues, his drive, and obviously his talent are all part of the “Sid the Kid’ package.
Vancouver Canucks fans should relish the evening. Who knows, they might get a few more chances to see the lock Hockey Hall of Famer, but take advantage while you can.
I still remember seeing Gordie Howe play live when I was a little kid. Chances are your kids will long remember watching Crosby.