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PHN Blog: What ‘Pissed Off’ Sidney Crosby Last Year; Comparing Kyle Dubas



Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Penguins playoffs

Sometimes, you might like to hear or see Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby have an ego, but that’s just not Sid. Speaking to Sportsnet’s 32 Thoughts podcast with Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman, Crosby deferred to Connor McDavid in the coming 2025 World Cup of Hockey. He also admitted to anger from last season and compared Kyle Dubas to past GMs.

You can listen to the full 32 Thoughts podcast with Crosby, Connor Bedard, Jack Hughes, and Leon Draisaitl on Sportsnet and download it on Amazon.

In a moment where you realize you didn’t get the whole story at the time, Crosby didn’t deny his anger at the end of last season when the Penguins played hot potato with a playoff berth that was all but handed to them. The Penguins badly faltered down the stretch and failed to beat the lowly Chicago Blackhawks at home, handing the final playoff spots to the New York Islanders and Florida Panthers.

The Panthers made good use of that spot, but it should have been the Penguins in the playoffs. Friedman said he spoke with Penguins players who said they had never seen Crosby “more pissed off ” than last season.

Crosby immediately focused on consistency, or lack thereof, beginning in the early season.

“This was a new situation for us. We were chasing it right from early on, but we had put ourselves in a spot to get in. It wasn’t like we needed a miracle. We needed to win our last two games,” Crosby said. “To go through all that and be in a position to get in but not find a way was something we’d done in years past. We didn’t get it done, and that was frustrating. There’s nothing better than playing in the playoffs.”

It has been a long summer off the ice, but the Penguins have been the team dominating headlines. First, the GM pursuit led them to Kyle Dubas, and then the Erik Karlsson sweepstakes filled national pages for weeks before coming to a nearly unbelievable conclusion.

“There’s nothing better than playing in the playoffs. That’s the most exciting thing. You get up for the matchups throughout the regular season and have that motivation, but playoff hockey — that’s why you play,” Crosby said. “You crave that atmosphere and that environment and the opportunity to win a Stanley Cup.”

Penguins, Dubas, and New Ideas

In addition to lamenting the lost opportunity, Crosby compared Penguins president of hockey operations/GM Kyle Dubas to the previous tenants of the office.

“New age” was how Crosby labeled Dubas.

Under Dubas, the training staff and sports science departments have been expanded.

“All of the analytics and all the development that goes into an organization. Being a part of the (Toronto Maple Leafs), there are lots of opportunities to add staff, all staffs really; training staff, medical, and development,” said Crosby.

“It’s cool for me. I’ve seen hockey evolve. You go from one strength coach to three. All of the sports science and all of the development roles, player development, and everything that goes into that. I think (Dubas) is somebody constantly trying to add to that and be ahead of the curve, and I think he’s brought that approach.”

Team Canada

Crosby jokingly deferred to Connor McDavid for the 2025 World Cup of Hockey, or whatever the NHL will call it. Crosby said he’d happily play wing and let McDavid do the work.

“I’ll go to (to the wing). I’ll play my off-wing,” Crosby said with a laugh. “I’ve skated with him. I’ve played both. I think I’m good with playing center or wing, whatever he wants to do. He can carry the mail, and I’ll find the open spots.”

The NHL has moved close to making an international tournament to be held in February 2025, official. One sticking point has been Russian participation due to IIHF sanctions and the continuing Ukranian invasion.

“Any opportunity we get to play for Canada. (McDavid) has mentioned it a ton of times. It’s best on best. Seeing all of the other countries –you look at their lineups, it’s pretty tight,” said Crosby. “There’s no real favorite team … The hockey is incredible, and from my experience, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

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