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SIDNEY CROSBY

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Who he is:

Sidney Patrick Crosby (born August 7, 1987) is a Canadian professional ice hockey player and captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League (NHL). Nicknamed "The Next One", he was one of the most highly regarded draft picks in hockey history, leading many to refer to the 2005 Draft Lottery as the "Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes."

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Early career and junior hockey:

Sidney Crosby began playing hockey on his own in his basement at two years old, where he badly damaged the family's clothes dryer by constantly shooting pucks at it. He learned to skate at three. At the age of seven, he gave his first newspaper interview. At thirteen, the Nova Scotia Minor Hockey Council refused to allow him to play Midget hockey, alongside seventeen year olds. His family sued and lost. At fourteen, he appeared on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Hockey Day in Canada,and scored 217 regular season points to lead his Midget AAA team, the Dartmouth Subways, to second place in the Air Canada Cup. He won both the MVP Award and the Top Scorer Award after scoring 18 points in five games. Sidney attended Shattuck-Saint Mary's Boarding School in Minnesota for the 2002,2003 hockey season. While there, he led the Sabres to the U.S. National Championship.

Crosby was selected first overall in the midget draft by the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL. In his first exhibition game he scored eight points, leading his teammates to nickname him "Darryl" (in reference to Darryl Sittler and his ten point game). In his first game in the QMJHL, he scored one goal and added two assists. He was named Player of the Week for two consecutive weeks at the start of the season, and won the honour four more times as the season progressed. He was named Player of the Month three times, and Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Player of the Week three times. By the end of the season, he had been named Player of the Year, Top Rookie, and Top Scorer. He was the first QMJHL player to earn all three honours at once. He led the QMJHL with 54 goals and 81 assists in 59 regular season games.

In August 2004, Crosby turned down $7.5 million over three years to play for the Hamilton franchise of the World Hockey Association, claiming that he was not ready to leave the junior league yet. In 2004,2005, the Oceanic, led by their top line of Crosby, Marc Pouliot, and Dany Roussin dominated the QMJHL, setting the record for the longest undefeated streak (28 games) and losing only two games in the entire playoffs. The team went to the Memorial Cup finals, but fell in the last game to the London Knights. Despite the physical wear of the tournament, and the certainty of his first overall selection, Crosby attended the NHL prospect combine and impressed scouts, particularly with his personality and self-assurance.

During his amateur years, Crosby caught the attention of several journalists and other players, including Wayne Gretzky. When Gretzky was asked if he thought anyone could break his records, he answered that Sidney Crosby could, and added that Crosby was the best player he had seen since Mario Lemieux. Crosby was the fifth player to represent Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships as a sixteen year old (in 2003). This feat was previously accomplished by Jay Bouwmeester, Jason Spezza, Eric Lindros, and Wayne Gretzky. Crosby stated that his most memorable hockey moment was winning the 2005 World Junior Championship.

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NHL career:

2005-06

Sidney Crosby was selected first overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins on July 30, 2005. Due to the labour stoppage in the previous season, the 2005 draft was conducted via a weighted lottery based on each team's playoff appearances and draft lottery victories in the last four years. This lottery system led to the draft being popularly referred to as the Sidney Crosby Lottery or the Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes.

Crosby played his first professional NHL game on October 5, 2005 against the New Jersey Devils, and registered an assist on the team's first goal of the season, scored by Mark Recchi in a 5 to 1 loss. Upon entering the NHL, Crosby played alongside Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux. Unfortunately, Lemieux was forced to retire after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. On December 16, 2005, Michel Therrien named Crosby as an alternate captain for the Penguins. The move drew criticism from some hockey pundits, including Don Cherry, who claimed that Crosby did not have the experience for the position.

In his first season, he finished sixth in scoring with 102 points (39 goals, 63 assists). Crosby finished his rookie season with the franchise record in assists (63) and points (102) for a rookie, both of which had been previously held by Mario Lemieux. Crosby is the youngest player in NHL history to score 100 points in a single season, and only the seventh rookie ever to hit the benchmark. Overall, Crosby finished sixth in the NHL scoring race and seventh in the NHL in assists. Among Canadian NHL players, he trailed only Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley. While both Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals had solid rookie campaigns, Crosby finished second behind Ovechkin for the Calder Memorial Trophy.

Through his first season, Crosby was accused by opposing players and coaches of taking dives and complaining to officials, which has been attributed to his youth. He became the first rookie to earn 100 penalty minutes and 100 points in the same season, which magnified his reputation for complaining to NHL officials. Hockey analyst Kelly Hrudey compared Crosby to Gretzky, who had a similar reputation as a "whiner" in his youth, and suggested that as Crosby matured, he would mellow out and his reputation would fade.

2006-07

By his second season, he led the NHL with 120 points (36 goals, 84 assists) to capture the Art Ross Trophy, becoming the youngest player and the only teenager to win a scoring title in any major North American sports league. Crosby won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the most valuable player as determined by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, and the Lester B. Pearson Award as the most valuable player as determined by the NHL Players Association. He is the seventh player in NHL history to earn the three highest honours, which are the highest individual awards for an NHL forward. Crosby built on his rookie success. On October 28, 2006, Crosby scored his first NHL hat trick in an 8 to 2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. His success against the Flyers continued as just over six weeks later, on December 13, he recorded his first six point game of his career (one goal, five assists). After that game, he led the NHL in scoring for the remainder of the season, becoming the first teenager to lead the NHL in scoring since Wayne Gretzky in 1980.

On May 31, 2007, he was named Pittsburgh's team captain, making him the youngest captain in NHL history. During the season, the Penguins had offered him the captaincy, but he had turned it down. In the press conference naming him the team captain, he explained:

"I just thought it wasn't right for me. As a team, we were playing great and you don't want to disrupt things like that. Individually, I was not ready to accept that responsibility quite yet. Going through the playoffs and having that experience has probably given me more confidence. I understand there is going to be a lot more responsibility on my shoulders with this, but it's something I'm ready for, I feel very comfortable with it and I'm just excited to get things going."

At the NHL's annual awards show in June 2007, Crosby completed a rare off-season hat trick, winning the Hart Memorial Trophy and the Lester B. Pearson Award in addition to his previously awarded Art Ross Trophy. He became the youngest player in NHL history to win the Lester B. Pearson, and only the second youngest player ever to win the Hart (after Gretzky). Crosby also became the youngest player ever to be named to the NHL's First All-Star Team. Crosby signed a five-year $43.5 million dollar contract extension with the Penguins on July 10, 2007, ensuring he will stay with the Penguins through the 2012,2013 season.

Crosby recorded his first Gordie Howe hat trick(where a player scores a goal, gets an assist, and participates in a fight in a single game) on December 20, 2007 in a game against the Boston Bruins. His first assist came 55 seconds into the first period. At 8:26 of the same period, Crosby scored to give the Penguins a 2 to 0 lead. Five minutes and nine seconds into the second period, Crosby fought Andrew Ference to complete the hat trick.

2007-08

With Crosby's initial three-year, entry-level contract set to expire at the end of the following season, the Penguins signed him to a five-year, $43.5 million dollar contract extension on July 10, 2007, ensuring his stay with the Penguins through the 2012-13 season.Midway through the subsequent season, Crosby recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick on December 20, 2007, in a game against the Boston Bruins. His first assist came 55 seconds into the first period. At 8:26 of the same period, Crosby scored to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead. Then, five minutes and nine seconds into the second frame, Crosby fought defenceman Andrew Ference to complete the hat trick. Nearly a month later, however, on January 18, 2008, Crosby suffered a high ankle sprain crashing leg-first into the boards in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. As a result, he missed the 2008 All-Star Game, to which he was named a starter.After missing 21 games, he returned on March 4 against the Lightning and earned an assist.Two games after his return, however, he felt his ankle was not up to shape and decided that he needed more time for it to heal.Crosby consequently sat out of the Penguins' next seven games and returned on March 27, 2008 to help the Penguins defeat the New York Islanders 3-1.In spite of the injury-shortened campaign, Crosby still managed 72 points in just 53 games.

His absence from the Penguins' lineup served as a stepping stone for teammate Evgeni Malkin, who, now in his second season, was developing into a superstar in his own right. Picking up the offensive slack, Malkin finished second in league scoring to Alexander Ovechkin and was also a Hart Trophy nominee as MVP honours also went to Ovechkin. In addition to Crosby's return to the lineup late in the regular season, the Penguins acquired star winger Marian Hossa from the Atlanta Thrashers at the trade deadline, placing the club in a strong position to make a deep playoff run. Pittsburgh finished the regular season as Atlantic Division champions and just two points shy of the first-seeded Montreal Canadiens. In a rematch of the previous year's opening round, the Penguins began the 2008 playoffs facing the Ottawa Senators, whom they quickly swept in four games. After then defeating the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers, each in five games, the Penguins reached the final round for the first time since 1992, to face the Detroit Red Wings. After being shutout as a team for the first two games of the series, Crosby scored the first two goals of game three as the series shifted to Pittsburgh to fuel a 3-2 win.The Penguins, however, lost the next game and despite staving off defeat in game five, they were overcome by the Red Wings in six games. Crosby finished the playoffs with 27 points (6g, 21a in 20 games), tying Conn Smythe-winner Henrik Zetterberg (13g, 14a in 22 games) for the playoff scoring lead.

2008-09

Early in the following season, on October 18, 2008, Crosby scored one goal and three assists to surpass benchmarks of 100 goals, 200 assists, and 300 points for his career. On the scoring play in which Crosby scored, teammate Malkin assisted to record his own 200th point. As a result, Crosby had a team trainer cut the puck in half so both players could commemorate the achievement. Minor injury troubles kept Crosby from five games early in the season as he was listed day-to-day,but he was, for the most part, able to bounce back from the previous injury-riddled season and stay healthy. He recorded 33 goals and 70 assists to finish second in team scoring and third in league scoring as Evgeni Malkin captured his first career Art Ross Trophy. Entering the 2009 playoffs as the defending Prince of Wales Trophy winners, the Penguins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in the opening round before meeting the Washington Capitals for a highly-publicized second-round matchup. The series was heavily followed as it pitted Ovechkin of the Capitals against both Crosby and Malkin, who together finished as the league's top three scorers that season. In the second game, Crosby and Ovechkin recorded matching three-goal efforts for their first career playoff hat tricks in a 4-3 losing cause for the Penguins. Despite being down 2-0 in the series, Crosby and the Penguins took the next three games and eventually defeated the Capitals in a seventh and deciding game, in which Crosby added another two goals. Following a sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final, Crosby opted against recent NHL tradition and picked up the Prince of Wales Trophy, which he had left untouched the previous year. In explanation of the change of heart, Crosby said, "We didn't touch the trophy last year, and obviously we didn't have the result we wanted ... Although we haven't accomplished exactly what we want ... we can still enjoy it"

Meeting the Detroit Red Wings for the second straight year in the Finals, Crosby won his first Stanley Cup with the Penguins in seven games. At 21 years, 10 months, and 5 days, Crosby became the youngest NHL captain to hoist the Cup.(The youngest captain to lead his team to the Stanley Cup in the history of the trophy is Mike Grant of the 1895 Montreal Victorias, who was 21 years and 2 months at the time.) In the deciding game seven, Crosby was forced to watch all but 32 seconds of the third period from the bench after suffering a knee injury less than halfway through the second period due to a hit from Johan Franzen. Following the game, Crosby was criticized by Detroit forward Kris Draper for neglecting to shake hands with some of Detroit's players, most notably captain Nicklas Lidstrom. An irate Draper was quoted as saying "Nick was waiting and waiting, and Crosby didn't come over to shake his hand. That's ridiculous, especially as their captain."Crosby replied afterword, saying, "I just won the Stanley Cup. I think I have the right to celebrate with my teammates. I know it's not easy waiting around...I understand if they don't feel like waiting around. But you know what? It's the easiest thing to do in the world, to shake hands after you win. I had no intentions of trying to skip guys and not shake their hands. I think that was a pretty unreasonable comment.

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International play:

Crosby debuted internationally for Team Canada at the 2003 U-18 Junior World Cup in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. He was the youngest player on the under-18 team, having turned 16 shortly before the beginning of the tournament. After seven consecutive gold medals at the tournament, Team Canada lost in the bronze medal game to the Czech Republic 8-2.Crosby scored four goals and six points over five tournament games.

Crosby went on to compete in two World Junior Championships with Team Canada's under-20 team. As a sixteen-year-old, he was selected to compete in the 2004 World Junior Championships in Helsinki. He became the youngest player to score a goal in the history of the tournament at 16 years, 4 months, and 21 days when he scored against Switzerland in a 7-2 win. Crosby finished the tournament with 2 goals and 3 assists in 6 games, helping Canada to a silver medal finish. The following year, he returned for Team Canada at the 2005 World Junior Championships in Grand Forks. He improved to 6 goals and 3 assists as Canada earned gold.

After completing his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Crosby competed in the 2006 World Championships as an alternate captain for Team Canada. Tallying a tournament-best 8 goals and 8 assists in 9 games, he became the youngest player ever to win a World Championship scoring title. Despite his performance, Canada failed to medal, being shutout by Finland 5-0 in the bronze medal game. Crosby was named the tournament's top forward and to the competition's all-star team.

After having been left off the Olympic team in 2006, Crosby was named to Team Canada on December 30, 2009, as an alternate captain for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He scored the game-winning shootout goal for Canada in the second game of the preliminary round against Switzerland. After going pointless in the quarter- and semi-final against Russia and Slovakia, respectively, Crosby scored the gold medal winning goal in overtime against the United States.

After the gold medal game, it was announced that Crosby's stick and glove were missing. It was suspected that they might have been taken by someone else. Reebok Canada had offered a reward of CAD$10,000 for their return, no questions asked. On March 10, the items were found; Crosby's stick had been placed in a shipment bound for the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in St. Petersburg, Russia (the shipment was intercepted in Toronto) and his glove was found in a hockey bag belonging to Patrice Bergeron whose stall was beside Crosby's in the locker room for the 2010 Olympics.

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Jerseys

Crosby's 87 Pittsburgh Penguins jersey was the top seller on the NHL's website from September 2005 to February 2008. In January 2005, an Air Canada baggage handler in Montreal stole Crosby's red Canada jersey from the World Junior Hockey Championship. It was recovered later in a mailbox. His white jersey from the tournament was temporarily delisted from an auction while the red one was missing. It eventually sold for $22,100, which went to youth hockey charities and 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake relief.

Less than a year later, one of Crosby's game-worn sweaters went missing. The jersey he wore in his first NHL game, played against the New Jersey Devils, went missing from his father's luggage during a flight from Pittsburgh to Buffalo. The jersey was later found at the Pittsburgh International Airport between a piece of equipment and a stairwell. Crosby's jersey from his third NHL game was the highest-selling NHL jersey in an auction for Hurricane Katrina relief it sold for $21,010.

During an online auction held by the NHL and the NHL Players Association to benefit Hockey Fights Cancer, Crosby's game-worn jersey from the first period of the 2007 All-Star Game earned the most money. Crosby's sold for $47,520, more than eight times the next highest price $5,681 for the jersey worn by Brendan Shanahan of the New York Rangers.

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Current Life:

Sidney Crosby is currently living with Mario Lemieux who is Crosby's former teammate and the owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins.Crosby plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins where he has become the Team Captain.

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