Oh, no. Not another Sidney Crosby column. Enough already! Seriously, what is there left to be said about the kid who has had more written about him than Hillary, Obama and Brangelina combined?
He is on the cover of The Hockey News every second week. They've written about him in GQ, People, Men's Fitness and every major sports magazine on the planet, outside of Cricket Weekly. A Google News search turned up 12,805 stories on Crosby in the past week.
But wait. How can you not write about the central figure in hockey's biggest event, right before a must-win game?
So instead of repeating the ultra-obvious, the "he needs to have another great game tonight" stuff, I set out to discover 10 things you don't know about Sidney Crosby.
No. 1: One of his nicknames in the dressing room is "Creature," a nod to his freakish lower body. It is huge. Gigantic. Hugantic. His caboose would make J-Lo jealous. His thighs are bigger than my torso. All his pants have to be custom made. And the scary part is, his upper body is starting to catch up.
Sid's other nicknames in the room are now entirely related to his facial hair struggles. They include "Three-Beard," "Zorro" and "Greasy Mexican" (political correctness is not a forte of NHL dressing rooms).
No. 2: Sid can fight. We've only seen him do it once in his career (against Andrew Ference this year), but his self-appointed trainer, Georges Laraque, says any fool who decides to drop the mitts with Crosby better watch out.
"He came to me last year after I'd shown a couple of the other guys how to defend themselves properly in a fight. He wanted to learn. I was showing him some stuff and we were going at it, and I couldn't move him, he's so strong. He'd be really tough to fight."
So, did you pop him one, Georges? "Are you nuts? I value my career."
No. 3: Sid is superstitious. OK, this one you may have heard. But the extent of his superstition is as extreme as his skill. For instance, when he walks through the Mellon Arena, he has a specific route that defies logic.
"He will walk 20 yards out of the way to go around a certain pole or go through a specific door. And it never, ever varies," says one Penguins staffer, who showed me the route. It was baffling.
He also won't wear proper shoes in the dressing room. If he's showered and fully dressed, and has to go back into the room, he'll take his dress shoes off at the door, as if it were some traditional Japanese restaurant.
When he eats, Maxime Talbot must sit on his left, Pascal Dupuis on his right. At a recent team breakfast in Detroit, a Penguins staffer sat down to eat, and was met with shocked stares from the players sitting around him.
"That's Sid's seat!" they said.
"He wouldn't have gotten mad or anything, he's too nice for that," says the seat-stealer. "But if I would have stayed there, he just would have hovered around quietly until I left."
Oh, and he raises his legs and touches the window when driving over railway crossings, but who doesn't do that?
No. 4: Sid might be moving. After three years living in Mario Lemieux's house, Crosby has started looking for his own place. Good thing, as I was about give him another nickname: Kato Kaelin.
No. 5: Sid is not a health-food freak. The other day after practice, we chatted while he ate an ugly, white bread, mystery-meat, mayo-laiden sandwich.
"You sure that's good for you?" I asked.
"You must have me mixed up with Robs (Gary Roberts)," he said, laughing. "I'm not picky. When I'm hungry, I eat."
"I'm working on him," says Roberts. "He came to my house last summer for a few days to train, and one night I made him this granola, flax-oil, yogurt snack before bed. The next morning, he looked like hell. He'd been in the bathroom all night. Didn't go down so well."
No. 6: Sid understands the media better than Marshall McLuhan.
"It's crazy how smart and savvy he is," says Penguins defenceman Hal Gill. "Sometimes he'll say to us, 'The media is trying to write a certain story, so when they ask you this question, answer it this way.'"
Hey, wait a second! Maybe he's doing that to me right now. Evil genius, that Crosby.
No. 7: Sid is not always the "quiet" leader.
"When we lost that one game to the Rangers, he spoke to us about it," says another Penguins teammate. "He let us know we hadn't played our game. He did the same after Game 1 of the final. He just told us to relax. He doesn't do long speeches, but he knows when to speak up."
No. 8: Sid loves to kill bad guys. Sorry, I should clarify. I mean in video games. Last season, eight of the Penguins got PSPs so they could play a shoot-em-up army game called SOCOM against each other. The guys were only supposed to play on planes, but it soon became clear that Sid was practising at home.
"Of course he had to beat all of us, says Laraque. "He's so competitive."
They've now moved on to Call of Duty on XBox.
"He plays like a girl," says Talbot. "He's always hiding in the corner. Anything to win."
No. 9: Sid does anything to win because he hates losing. At Sunday dinner at a friend's house, he lost a game of Bingo to the friend's nine year-old son. He instant reaction was to slam his first on the board, sending tiny bingo markers flying in all directions.
He then blushed and laughed. But make no mistake, the reaction was genuine.
No. 10: This is the most important game of Sid's life.
Oh, wait, that part you knew.
(From the Ottawa Citizen)