Sidney Crosby’s lifted the Stanley Cup three times. He’s won Olympic Gold more than once. He’s on track to setup his 1,000th goal this year — and maybe even crack the top-10 all-time in NHL points with a good year. It’s year 19 for him in the NHL, over half his life. There isn’t too much he hasn’t done or seen on a hockey rink. It’s not a first, since the Penguins played in Nova Scotia back in 2006, but it’s still a special moment for Crosby to get to play back home.
“It’s fun,” Crosby said. “I’ve had the opportunity to do it once before and it was a great experience. This time, having a few days to be with the team and get together during training camp, it’s a nice opportunity to show guys around and play in front of friends and family.”
Crosby and the Penguins are playing on Monday in Halifax, Nova Scotia, just across the way from the captain’s hometown of Cole Harbour.
“I didn’t think I’d get the opportunity to have everyone play at home and experience this,” Crosby said. “So, I’ll definitely try and enjoy it. I know everyone there is excited.”
The Pens have made the most of the opportunity for the special moment — despite the game being on Monday night, the team departed Pittsburgh on Friday after practice to make the most of every moment.
As Nova Scotia native Ryan Graves said, “I think Sid’s got it pretty set up for us for the weekend,” when it came to team-building activities and getting the unique chance to explore a new area for a regular NHL team.
Uhh, sure Gene.
The venue is the 11,000-seat Scotiabank Centre, as a Nova Scotia native and former Sidney Crosby fan coming up about a decade behind the Pens’ captain, new Penguin Ryan Graves has a special perspective on the significance of this game.
“To be the best player in the game for so many years, people there just idolize him and for what he’s done in the community and for kids growing up,” Graves said. “Just the way he’s paved the way for them, it’s awesome. Him coming home and doing this game for the people that wouldn’t have the chance to come to Pittsburgh or other places that are a little further away – they’ll get to see him around the community, see that game, hopefully – is great.”
Such special and unique moments for Crosby are rare these days, and on the brink of yet another marathon season, he is certainly enjoying every bit of this rare trip back home.