It doesn’t matter to Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby if the NHL expands the playoff format to 20 or 24 teams, provided the NHL preserves the integrity of the Stanley Cup chase. In other words, no short series. Four rounds, best of seven. Patchy beards are optional.
Though it appears Crosby already decided on the beard.
Crosby spoke with TSN reporter Daren Dreger on Wednesday afternoon about the restart format, his daily workouts, and how Crosby is keeping busy.
“A lot of these kinds of chats (are keeping me busy) and FaceTime,” Crosby laughed. “Our team has done meetings once a week to keep everyone in the loop and keep in touch that way, as best we can.”
Crosby is renowned for his workout regimen but even he has been forced off the ice by COVID-19 pandemic and NHL pause. He works out in the morning but he admitted players are discussing a lot of ideas about how to get the season refired.
“We’ve had a lot of ideas when things might restart, and that sort of thing,” Crosby shook his head. “But (there is) a lot of waiting around. trying to stay active.”
Crosby, a three-time Stanley Cup champion, is one of the dominant faces of the league and when he speaks, others follow.
“You look at being able to project things, that’s a big challenge we’re dealing with now,” he said. “You know, everything from the format to how many teams are going to be involved. These are questions everybody has been asking. There’s not a lot of answers right now.”
One answer Crosby would like to hear is a rigid tournament for the Stanley Cup. Four rounds of seven-game series. Anything less might tarnish the Cup and certainly, Crosby is not in favor of an NCAA rushed tournament style playoff format.
Crosby wants the journey to be arduous. As if there was any doubt.
“I’d prefer that. There are so many factors. The safety of players is No. 1 and if you’re able to establish that, then you want to keep the integrity of what the playoffs have been for a long, long time,” he said to Dreger. “It’s difficult to win the Stanley Cup and you want to win it the right way; that’s four best four-out-of-seven series. That’s how we know it.”
Crosby acknowledged there isn’t a roadmap for this situation, and making the best of the bad situation is the only option. Players will struggle to get back to full speed, too. And no one is quite sure how things will progress.
It will be the same for everyone, including empty arenas, but Sidney Crosby believes he and most players would be excited by the chance to play for the Stanley Cup.
Dreger and Crosby also touched on the Golden Goal and the 1987 Canada Cup.
“Probably some of the best hockey you’ll ever see,” Crosby said of the ’87 series. “…That whole series was pretty incredible.”