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    The next great one?

    Tue, Jul 29, 2003
    Teenage forward Sidney Crosby awed by praise from Wayne Gretzky


    By DONNA SPENCER -- Canadian Press

    Sidney Crosby was stunned by what Wayne Gretzky said about him.

    When the 15-year-old from Cole Harbour, N.S., was told over the phone that Gretzky said Crosby could be the one to break some of his NHL records, there was dead silence, and then:

    "Wow. I hadn't heard that," said Crosby. "That's something else. That's pretty special for Wayne Gretzky to say that. I don't think his records will ever be broken. That's a compliment for him to say that for sure."

    Gretzky, the man who put together Canada's Olympic gold medal team, must be some kind of evaluator of talent and he told the Arizona Republic in a recent interview that Crosby was the best player he'd seen since Mario Lemieux.

    "He's dynamite," said Gretzky.

    Crosby had the opportunity to skate on a line with Gretzky during a camp in Los Angeles last summer. Crosby was back in L.A. this week skating and training in preparation for the Canadian under-18 camp, which begins Friday in Calgary.

    The buzz has been steadily building over Crosby. He was MVP of the Canadian midget triple-A championship at the age of 14 and had 162 points (72 goals and 90 assists) in 57 games for the St. Mary's prep boys' team last season as a Grade 10 student. A Grade 12 teammate was next closest in points with 116.

    He had nine goals and four assists in nine games for Nova Scotia in the Canada Games earlier this year against the top players born in 1986 and 1987.

    The five-foot-10, 175-pound forward is one of 40 players invited to the camp. Twenty-two will be chosen to represent Canada at the Junior World Cup in Breclav, Czech Republic, and Piestany, Slovakia, Aug. 11-18.

    Crosby is the only player invited born in 1987 -- the rest are '86s -- and he will turn 16 on the day the Canadian team is announced.

    "I've been thinking about it all summer," he said. "It goes through your mind every day. Any time you can play for Team Canada, it's unbelievable.

    "I'm close, but there's 40 guys who want to do the same thing. It's good to be invited, but the job's not done until you're on the team so I've still got a ways to go."

    Crosby decided to go the major junior route this season and was snapped up first overall by the Rimouski Oceanic in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft. He is eligible for the NHL entry draft in 2005.

    The reports on Crosby say he is a strong skater, hard to knock off the puck, skilful with it and protects it well. He has great vision and shares the puck with his teammates.

    The under-18 camp marks the first time Crosby will don a jersey with a Maple Leaf on it and it won't likely be the last.

    "I've watched world juniors ever since I knew what was going on in hockey and you see the pride that Canada has, so when you get a chance to represent your country you want to try and do that," he said.

    Canada has sent an under-18 team to an international summer tournament in Europe every year since 1997 and has won gold every year.

    "No pressure, there," head coach Bob Lowes chuckled, adding: "You try to do the best job you can and not focus on that."

    Players from this year's under-18 camp and the team may be available for next April's world championship in Minsk, Belarus, if their respective junior clubs do not make the post-season.

    Canada won the gold medal at the world championship in April in Yaroslavl, Russia, with 10 players who had played in the previous summer tournament, the Eight Nations Cup, as well as four more players who had participated in the summer camp.

    So this week's camp is important for players who are not named to the summer under-18 team as they could be playing for Canada in Minsk.

    One of Lowes' players with the Regina Pats, defenceman Brennan Chapman, participated in the summer camp, did not make the Eight Nations Cup team but helped Canada win gold at the world championship.

    "I think the experience he got, even though he didn't play in the Eight Nations Cup in the summer, but from the camp helped him to be a lot better prepared to play in the world championship," said Lowes.

    Lowes, Hockey Canada director of scouting Blair Mackasey and assistant coaches Dave Cameron and Pascal Vincent will evaluate the players over the week. Their decision over who makes the team will likely go late into the night on Aug. 6 as they will have to release 18 players at once.

    "The biggest thing is the speed, players who can play at a high tempo and be able to think and react at a high tempo," said Lowes. "That's been proven to be what you need in the international game."

    Thursday, November 20, 2003

    TORONTO (CP) -- Sidney Crosby of the Rimouski Oceanic was named the Canadian Hockey League's player of the week Thursday after he recorded three goals and four assists in two games.

    The 16-year-old Halifax native scored two goals, including the winner, and added a pair of assists to help the Oceanic to a 5-3 win over the Shawinigan Cataractes on Nov. 11. He then added a goal and two assists in a 4-2 win over the Chicoutimi Sagueneens on Nov. 16.

    Crosby, who was the first overall pick in the QMJHL draft, leads all CHL scorers with 22 goals and 31 assists in 25 games this season.
    ...........
    "The fastest way to succeed is to look as if you're playing by somebody else's rules, while quietly playing by your own."

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    http://www.canoe.com/Slam031113/col_koshan-sun.html

    Crosby 'is made to play hockey'
    Thu, Nov 13, 2003
    Greatness within grasp of 16-year-old junior phenom


    By TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

    RIMOUSKI, Que. -- The second coming of Wayne Gretzky is not playing hockey in this town of 42,000 on the southern shore of the St. Lawrence River.

    Sidney Crosby, the 16-year-old phenom who has been using the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League as his personal play toy, would like to make that clear.

    "I realize there will not be another Gretzky, and I will be the first one to say I will not break his records," said Crosby, just 24 games into his career with the Rimouski Oceanic. "But for him to say that I could, it means I am doing something right. It was probably the best compliment I could get. I'm going to remember it."

    Barely four months have passed since Gretzky himself uttered what are becoming infamous words: That Crosby, who had not yet skated in a game in major junior, could break some of his NHL records. Although Crosby leads the Canadian Hockey League with 50 points, he probably won't even reach Gretzky's totals in 1977-78, when the Great One turned 17 midway through the season and had 182 points in 64 games for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

    To be honest, the talk of Gretzky is important only in that Gretzky has recognized Crosby; the kid is a different player, but the hype that hasn't been seen on a national scope since Eric Lindros was an Oshawa General is well-placed.

    VERY SPECIAL

    NHL scouts agree on an important factor: Crosby, the pride of Cole Harbour, N.S., could be as good as he wants to be.

    "I think it's unfair for people to say he's going to be the next Gretzky, because he's going to be Sidney Crosby, and he's very special," Maple Leafs amateur scouting director Barry Trapp said. "He has an outstanding hockey sense. Players like him just don't come along often."

    Crosby's different outlook was evident in a game on Sunday. In less time than a blink of the eye, he made a surprising decision that worked perfectly.

    Against the visiting P.E.I. Rocket at the Rimouski Colisee, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Crosby and the opposing centre wrestled for control of the puck as it caromed at their feet. Crosby purposely stepped on the disc with his skate blade and, rather than rush to get rid of it, kept control. As he moved his foot around while holding off his combatant, a teammate became open and Crosby calmly slid the puck over with his skate. Seconds later, the teammate cleared the zone.

    Points tell part of the story when the summary is published the next day. What Crosby does that is not counted among statistics is, in some minds, more impressive. What do they say about some great players? You aren't aware of them and when the game is done they suddenly have three or four points? Crosby's the opposite. He's noticeable on nearly every shift.

    "I watched a game this season in Quebec (between the Oceanic and the Remparts) where he had one assist in a 5-2 win and he was the best player on the ice," Hockey Canada head scout Blair Mackasey said. "A lot of people who see him briefly see the finesse. But he is built similarly to Marcel Dionne, with a big rear end and thighs. He wins one-on-one battles and has a bit of a mean streak, and with his speed, he also reminds me of Pat LaFontaine."

    Said former Montreal Canadiens coach Alain Vigneault, who now earns a paycheque as coach of the Rocket: "When you combine everything, you have a hell of a hockey player. I have been away from junior for five years, but coming back, he is by far the best player I have seen."

    Crosby does not remind anybody of Alexandre Daigle, the poster-boy for wasted talent.

    Crosby's single-minded determination has been a hallmark since he was barely out of the womb.

    "When he was three or four, I bought him a (toy) Shell gas station that cost $80," his mother, Trina, recalled with a laugh. "He didn't play with that stupid thing once. I wound up selling it for $4 at a garage sale.

    "He would rather do something where he was competing. Running, baseball, any sport. He always had a ton of energy."

    WILL TO SUCCEED

    And a will to succeed. One trait instilled in Crosby by his father, Troy, and his mother is to put forth the effort to be the best he possibly can be in whatever he does. When it comes to hockey, it's as natural for Crosby as accepting a pass or taking the body. Three times this season he has not recorded a point in a game; in the matches following those, he twice has had five points and once four. His father likes to tell the story of when Sidney could barely walk after a AAA midget playoff game two years ago thanks to a badly bruised foot, but played that night and had three points.

    Take hockey for granted? Crosby laughs. He has been the subject of stories in Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News yet talks of "hopefully one day playing in the NHL."

    "For me to look far ahead would be a lot of years wasted, and a lot of time and work wasted," Crosby said during an interview that fast became a relaxed conversation. "I've done the same thing since I was six -- try to get better and have fun playing hockey."

    DETERMINATION

    If Crosby has to muddle through some of the crap that passes for hockey today, determination will have to be by his side. He's asked about this scenario: He gets to the NHL but, because of the defensive style the majority of coaches love, can't properly use his abundance of skills. Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr could attest to such. Stock answers, thankfully, are not familiar to Crosby. His birth certificate indicates he was born on Aug. 7, 1987, but he comes across as a sage veteran.

    "I would be more upset if I was playing a wide-open style and then it changed," Crosby said. "I am excited by the fact that you want to try to score goals, but there is more adversity and it means you have to get better to change that. It can make better players.

    "Being a successful hockey player is overcoming when guys are shadowing you and out-thinking them. It makes it that much more worthwhile when a guy is shadowing you and you get a quick opening and you put the puck in the net."

    And as for being another Daigle? Again, the answer reveals a teenager who is wiser than many his age.

    "People can speculate that for sure, and why not?" Crosby said. "I haven't played in the NHL and only played (24) games in junior so there are going to people who speculate. There will always be people who doubt me and want to see me fail and every time I step on the ice it is my job to prove people wrong. In the cases where they like the way I play it is to prove them right. I just want to go out there every game and do my best and let people form their opinions."

    So if neither the next Daigle nor Gretzky, then who?

    Crosby has enjoyed heaps of success just being himself. And as for the pressure that comes with the eyes of a hockey nation following most of his moves, he laps it up. Crosby is projected as the hands-down first pick overall in the NHL entry draft in 2005, provided a work stoppage does not wipe out the draft.

    "He knows where he is going and he is doing everything he needs to do to get it," Oceanic general manager Doris Labonte said. "We know that he is here for only two seasons and we see him as an 18-year-old in the NHL. He has been made to play hockey."
    ...........
    "The fastest way to succeed is to look as if you're playing by somebody else's rules, while quietly playing by your own."

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    eny
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    I've heard of this kid but Daigle .

    I hope he doesn't get too full of himself brfore he hits the league.

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    Jay
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    I wonder if he will be playing in the World Junior Hockey Championship in late December in Helsinki.

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    Isn't he too young for the WJHC?

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    Quote Originally Posted by duckgirl
    Isn't he too young for the WJHC?
    Hmm, not sure about that. The players invited to the selection camp will be announced Dec 1.

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    Rox
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    He has just turned 16, so is not too young, I don't think??
    Midget age now starts at 15, and junior players are drawn from midget. As far as I know the world junior are 16 - to under 20.
    ...........
    "The fastest way to succeed is to look as if you're playing by somebody else's rules, while quietly playing by your own."

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    eny
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    He's not eligible for the draft til 2005. I don't know what age span the juniors are.

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    juniors span 16 - 20. (they can take them at 15, but it is extremely rare)
    ...........
    "The fastest way to succeed is to look as if you're playing by somebody else's rules, while quietly playing by your own."

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    http://www.evalu8.org/staticpage?pag...ew&siteid=5212

    Age just a number for Crosby

    16-year-old Quebec league sensation takes aim at spot on national roster
    Courtesy The Globe & Mail

    by Tim Wharnsby

    HOCKEY REPORTER

    Thursday, November 20, 2003 - The Globe & Mail, Page S2

    Sidney Crosby could not have imagined a better way to celebrate his 15th birthday. Three days after the teenage hockey phenomenon turned 15 in August of 2002, he spent 10 days with Canadian junior team hopefuls at their summer evaluation camp in Halifax.

    Crosby wasn't invited to try out for the team of players 17, 18 and 19 years old, but since the camp was at the Halifax Metro Centre and he lived across the harbour in the Dartmouth suburb of Cole Harbour, he asked Hockey Canada whether he could come help out.

    Hockey Canada was not going to stand in the way of a future Canadian junior team member, so it granted Crosby his birthday wish. He was a stick boy, a water boy and a towel boy all wrapped into one. Crosby's pay was access to the camp to immerse himself for what lay ahead: to crack the roster of the 2003-04 Canadian junior club.

    Crosby, now 16, will be invited to the team's selection camp that begins in Kitchener, Ont., on Dec. 11.

    "It will be a huge challenge for him to make the team at such a young age, but the thing with Sidney is he has met every challenge so far," Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson said.

    Only four 16-year-olds -- Jay Bouwmeester, Jason Spezza, Eric Lindros and Wayne Gretzky -- have played for the Canadian junior team in the past 26 years. How much did Crosby's experience at the summer camp help him toward becoming the fifth? A lot.

    "It was his idea," his father, Troy, said yesterday. "Earlier that summer, he attended the IMG [hockey] camp in Los Angeles, and [former Canadian junior team coach] Stan Butler was running the camp. Stan made a call on Sidney's behalf to [last year's Canadian junior coach] Marc Habscheid."

    Habscheid and the players made sure Crosby felt like part of the team. He slept in the team dormitory and took part in team activities.

    "It was a great learning experience," Troy said. "He learned a lot from guys like Jason Spezza [of the Ottawa Senators] and Pierre-Marc Bouchard [of the Minnesota Wild]. He learned what it takes, how to prepare properly and how to handle himself off the ice."

    Those who have seen Sidney in action recognize he knows how to handle himself on and off the ice. On the ice, he led Canada in scoring this past summer with four goals and six points in five games at the Eight Nations Under-18 Cup in the Czech Republic.

    His rookie season with the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has gone better than expected. He is not only leading the league with 53 points in 25 games, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound player has demonstrated he is about more than piling up the points. The teenager has tremendous hockey sense and works hard at both ends of the ice.

    "What he is doing is great," said Wayne Gretzky, who met Crosby at the IMG camp. "I saw him at a camp for 18- and 19-year-olds and I just had to get on the ice with him. He has everything. He's the real deal and he will surprise a lot of people at the world junior. We need more guys like him to come along. People say Canadians don't have enough finesse, but he sure does.

    "He will get more and more pressure as he goes along, but he has a love for the game. He says the right things. He's a good kid. Most importantly at his age, he has good guidance from his parents."

    Trina and Troy have kept their son humble and grounded. They are, however, reluctant to take all credit for Sidney and his brother, Taylor, 7.

    "We have raised both simply to be good sons," said Troy. "We want them to treat people the way they would want to be treated.

    "Sidney has always had two good role models in Wayne Gretzky and Steve Yzerman. He sees how they can be great hockey players as well as great people. He understands that he is a role model, even at his age, to younger hockey players."

    Tonight, Crosby will suit-up in Halifax for a QMJHL all-star team in an exhibition game against the Russian selects. It will be Crosby's first appearance on national television since he led the Dartmouth Subways to the Air Canada Cup final, the first time a team from Atlantic Canada had advanced to the national midget championship game.

    "I don't think he is as excited about being on national television as he is about playing Russians," Troy said.

    Ah, the Russians. Canada versus Russia. In the Crosby home at Christmas, the world junior tournament received top priority. That's why Crosby is so driven to play this time around.

    "After the presents were opened, he would turn on the television and watch the world junior," said Troy, who says his son isn't intimidated about being the youngest at the selection camp next month.

    "He doesn't think of himself as a 16-year-old. He has always played against the older players. He knows that age doesn't determine a player's ability."


    Column courtesy The Globe & Mail worldwide 2003
    ...........
    "The fastest way to succeed is to look as if you're playing by somebody else's rules, while quietly playing by your own."

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