So, which photo shoot do you think was more awkward? Sid and Ovie or Sid and Ben? I’m betting Sid and Ben was more awkward. I’m pretty sure that Sid and Ovie hate each other, but at least they could talk hockey. I was actually disappointed that there wasn’t more substance to this article by Vanity Fair. They had the two most touted players in the league together for a few hours, and the result was a skim-the-surface Q&A. Not terribly impressive (on Vanity Fair’s part), but hey, it’s Sid, and I read it.
Here is the Q&A from the interview:
Rich Cohen: On January 1, you and the Pittsburgh Penguins are playing the Washington Capitals in the N.H.L. Winter Classic. The game is unusual because it’s outdoors, on a rink without boards. Does it feel different from a regular game?
Sidney Crosby: Oh yeah. You’re playing on an outdoor rink in a football stadium, for starters. There’s something unique about that. I mean, I played outside—on lakes and ponds—as a kid. Also, with this game, there’s obviously a lot of buildup. It’s a big game, so there’s more intensity.
Is it significant that you’ll be facing [Capitals captain] Alexander Ovechkin?
Well, it’s a rivalry already. That just adds to the intensity and the emotional element of the game.
Is that a genuine rivalry? I mean is it different playing against him than playing against other teams?
Ah, yeah, I think so. It always feels like there’s a bit more there just because of the emotion, because of the intensity. I guess that’s what makes rivalries—when it seems like there’s a little bit extra there.
What do you think of his game?
Ah, I think there’s a lot to like about it. You know, he’s got speed; he’s big; he’s physical. He can score from pretty much anywhere.
Who was your favorite player growing up?
My favorite player would probably be Steve Yzerman. He played in Detroit. I really liked the way he played and the way he handled himself.
When you grew up did you watch hockey movies and all that?
Oh yeah, of course. I watched Mighty Ducks. Slapshot when I was a little older.
What was the first N.H.L. game you went to?
It was actually in my hometown [of Halifax, Nova Scotia]. It was the New Jersey Devils, and I want to say they were playing the Rangers. It was just a pre-season, neutral-site game—I didn’t have an N.H.L. team where I lived—but that was the first time I saw N.H.L. up close.
Was that incredibly cool?
Are you still living with [former Pittsburgh Penguins captain and current principle owner of the team] Mario Lemieux?
I am, yeah. I actually purchased a place in Pittsburgh last May. I’ll be getting into that at some point in the next couple months.
Do you watch other sports?
I watch a lot of football this time of year. It’s really football, tennis, and golf that I watch other than hockey.
Are you a Steelers fan?
Of course—it’s pretty hard not to be in Pittsburgh. From the day I got here, I instantly became a Steelers fan. Growing up in Canada, I didn’t watch football much. Now I’ve been in Pittsburgh for five years, going on six. I’ve learned more and more about football and grown to like it more and more. I really enjoy watching the Steelers play and cheering them on. It’s a lot of fun.
I used to always wonder which was the more physically grueling sport—football or hockey.
That’s a good debate. In football, every play, play after play, there’s that physicality. Football players only play once a week, so they must really need to rest. That does kind of tell you how physical the sport is. But in hockey, you have the boards. I just couldn’t say which is more physical.
One odd thing about hockey is that fighting is not a part of the game at all until a certain level and then it very much is.
Right? Did you find it stressful to enter junior hockey as a teenager, knowing that you were entering a league where fighting was a real thing?
Right so, once you get to junior hockey, you’re not given a misconduct or suspended for fighting—it becomes a five-minute major penalty. Guys that age are considered ready to handle it, and I wasn’t too worried. Of course, it is the first time you’re seeing your friends get in fights. And they’re not always winning them. But once you kind of get past those first couple, you just get used to it. It’s part of the game.
Do you have a favorite goal?
Ah that’s tough. I don’t—probably not. I mean, the one in the Olympics was a big one so, maybe, maybe that one.
Do you have a favorite kind of goal? Slapshot? Breakaway?
Breakaway goals are fun. When you score a quick one in front of the net, it just happens, but during a breakaway, there’s about one or two seconds where you’re not sure. There’s that kind of unexpected moment, so I would say definitely a breakaway.
Do you have a favorite move?
No, no favorite move but, as long as the puck goes over the line. That’s where you want it to be.
In other news, I feel like Ralphie on A Christmas Story running to the mailbox every day waiting for his Little Orphan Annie Secret Decoder Pin to arrive. Only, I’m waiting for my Winter Classic tickets. I don’t do well with patience