Yesterday afternoon, everything was happening. Most importantly, this tweet showed up on our timelines:
It took me a few minutes to process just what this meant:
Sidney Crosby is here to stay...
Forever (via visualtim)
Ray Shero is confident enough to pay Crosby a salary that says "Sayonara, extended injury time from concussions." On top of that, he fortifies the salary with a monster extension of 12 years. This much is clear: Shero doesn't want Crosby wearing any jersey in his career other than Pittsburgh's. Like Mario Lemieux, he will be considered a Penguin....for-e-ver. Even after his career (which will be a long, fruitful, and record-breaking one), I would put money down that he will find some kind of job affiliated with the Penguins when he retires.
I posted this excerpt back in the dark days of January. Full article can be found here:)
For us, fans, it's not easy to know this either. There's even less we can do. After witnessing Crosby's unbelievable stretch in fall of 2010 when he went on his 25-game scoring streak, many of us thought Crosby had reached yet another impossible level in his game. Unfortunately, it was too short-lived to enjoy. From a great high came a great low and now we all sit in dark limbo, waiting, hoping that our captain can return to glory. He could be inches away, then again, he could be miles. All we know is that we're powerless in his endeavors.
That is why Crosby's recovery isn't just about his return as the League's best. It's about a prodigy who wants to do what he loves, but physically cannot. It's the frustration we know is present but isn't openly expressed. It's that the concussion experts have to go back to the drawing board to solve the mystery of Crosby's brain. It's that Pens games carry on while a disheartened Crosby watches from the press box, knowing that for the time being, he can't take part in something he was destined to do.
It's scary seeing just where we were barely half a year ago.
Now, this isn't to say that we are certain Crosby is out of hot water and concussions will no longer be a concern. On the contrary, those concussion will be on the back of everyone's brain (pun intended) until Crosby hangs his skates. But make no mistake, there would have been a greater risk in trading Crosby to another team than signing him as lifer. I was always horrified at the possibility of Shero trading Crosby to another team (for whatever reason) and watching from the other side of the TV as he schooled the Pens like he does the rest of the NHL. Watching him play against the Pens would have been nauseating topped with regret.
I truly believe Shero has done the Pens a favor. This is a risk we all had to know was coming and it's one that I will embrace.
Then we take a look at the contract Crosby signed on Sunday. Amidst all of the concussion hoopla, I forgot a big reason why we love and appreciate Crosby so much. Consider how much money he didn't demand. He could have asked for more, but he didn't because he loves Pittsburgh. And it isn't that half-true "love" that has deeper connotations (see previous article). Actions have always spoken louder than words for Crosby and this is the truest expression of "love" for the Penguins: sacrificing money to grant more room for talent. Wanting the championship more than the check.
That's the Crosby we've known since he became a big deal, and it's the Crosby we will know long after his jersey is raised to the rafters of Consol Energy Center.
Ladies and gentlemen, Sidney Crosby is a Penguin...
Soak it in.