Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Crosby: Tough to See Departures

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Crosby: Tough to See Departures

Article excerpt

Sidney Crosby has played 930 NHL games when you combine the regular season and playoffs. He had had hundreds of teammates in that time and a dozen summers worth of free agency, with new faces coming and old ones going.

This summer, however, stuck out above the rest for Crosby.

Losing Marc-Andre Fleury, Chris Kunitz and others - how about Crosby's past two Stanley Cup recipients in Trevor Daley and Ron Hainsey - was noticeably different for Crosby. And difficult.

"It was tough," Crosby admitted Sunday for day three of Penguins training camp at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry. "To see that many guys who you played with for a long time, to see them move on to different teams, I don't know if I'd had that happen all at once like that before.

"As much as you get used to movement and things like that, yeah, it was tough to see those guys leave."

That meant Crosby's phone was especially active this summer, trying to keep in touch with friends going other places while simultaneously wanting to reach out to the Penguins' new additions - Ryan Reaves, Matt Hunwick, Antti Niemi, etc.

This is typically the job of an NHL captain, but Crosby takes it more seriously than most. A guy's called up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and won't arrive until 1 p.m. the day of a game? Crosby's hanging around after the morning skate.

If a guy stays on late to get extra work, knowing he's not going to play that night, Crosby will wait around - or sometimes just skate with him - and inquire about where the player is staying, how he's liking things, whatever Crosby can do to make him feel comfortable.

"I think you just reach out to them," Crosby said. "This year it was probably a little more difficult because you're losing guys and gaining guys and trying to keep track of everything.

"I think the biggest thing is that, as a group, you just want to make guys feel welcome. …

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