Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sid-sational Season for 87!

Sidney Crosby entered the season as the first overall pick in the National Hockey League entry draft, the Prize of the NHL’s first ever all inclusive draft lottery, along with more pressure than any teenager should have to deal with. He was looked upon as a savior for the game, an ambassador that could communicate in French as well as English, a poster child for MyNHL. Sidney could have struggled but he thrived. This young man not only met all expectations heaped upon him; he exceeded them by leaps and bounds. He proved that the Pittsburgh Penguins are definitely in good hands.

Sidney Crosby, who will not be 19 until 08/07/06, became the youngest player in league history to post 100 points in a season. A tremendous accomplishment for any player, but even more so for an 18 year old playing his first season against professionals. Sidney dealt with as much adversity as he is sure to see in his career. He watched as his owner, teammate, and mentor, Mario Lemieux was forced to retire due to Atrial Fibrillation. There was also a midseason coaching change, being made an assistant captain and dealing with criticism from players and coaches from around the league. There was even a rumor circulating that some criticism was coming from inside the Penguins locker room. Through it all he persevered and went on to one of the most impressive rookie seasons in history.

Sidney’s rookie season was unforgettable and it will only get better as he grows and matures as a hockey player. He already does things on the ice that peers 10 years his senior cannot. Sidney is a complete hockey player, one with great hands, great hockey sense, defensive responsibility, and a nice finishing touch. It will not be long before he is posting 45 goals to go along with his 100 assists. He handles the media like a PR director. He answers any question, doesn’t hide behind anything and takes responsibility for his actions. Most importantly he seems to always put the team first. This young man is a winner, and he makes the people around him winners. It will not be long before Sidney Crosby takes these young Penguins into the playoffs. Players like Sidney Crosby come along once in a lifetime, the hockey gods have smiled upon the Pittsburgh Penguins again. Get ready NHL hockey fans, love him or hate him, the best is yet to come!

Sidney Crosby’s Final Statistics
GP G A Pts +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG Shots
81 39 63 102 -1 110 16 0 5 278

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Out Of Town

Readers of the Pittsburgh Penguins Report

Just wanted to let everyone know that the Pittsburgh Penguins Report will be out of town between Tuesday and Saturday. Thank you all for coming back as often as you do, and the support you give. We will have a season wrap up, a look at Sid's first year, rookie progress report and off season focus in the upcoming weeks. Please look for it all soon! Thank you again!

Pittsburgh Penguins Report

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Sidney Something Special

There isn't much that can be said about Sidney Crosby at this point in time that hasn't already been reported, written or expressed in every way. However, as his first season of professional hockey draws to a close it is time to reflect on what we have all been witness too. That being....history in the making.

Sidney is doing something that only a handful of the all time greats have done. He is excelling in the National Hockey League as an 18 year old. Sure, several others have been able to make it at that age, but Sidney is doing things that are well beyond his years. He has never looked out of place on the ice. Many young players are streaky and run hot and cold. Sid has avoided that for the most part.

Unfortunately, the lockout may have cost him the Calder Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year, by making Alexander Ovechkin miss what could have been his rookie year in 04-05, but Sidney is thriving at almost 2 full years younger. Crosby will not turn 19 until 8/7/2006, but he has managed to post 87 points with 7 games remaining in the season. In fact if he is able to average 1.88 pts per game he will hit 100, an unbelievable accomplishment for an 18 year old.

Sidney has already met and exceeded all expectations that were put on him as he entered the league as the prize of last year's draft lottery. Sidney has rung up 35 goals to dispel the myth that he is destined to be a playmaker. If anything, his goal scoring ability is improving and his passing has remained top notch. There is no doubt in my mind that he will post 40-50 goals and 100 assists in seasons to come if the Penguins can acquire a sniper to play on his wing.

In a season that started with nothing but promise, high expectations of a return to the playoffs, and the signing of many high profile free agents; Sidney Crosby has become the biggest and best story in Pittsburgh. In a campaign that saw the team lose players such as legend Mario Lemieux, and Ziggy Palffy, losses that could have been disaster, the transition was all but seamless as Sidney stepped up to become a leader. He has risen to the occasion numerous times throughout the year, when many young players would have grown too frustrated with the losing to go on.

Sidney will most likely be given the "C" next season and the torch will be officially passed to him, making the Pittsburgh Penguins HIS team. He has already become very vocal and can be seen directing teammates on the power play and before faceoffs, even more so since the trade deadline. Sidney is a leader today and will continue to grow in that role.

Players like Sidney Crosby come along once in a lifetime but then again that is what we all said about Mario, Wayne and several others. Pittsburgh has been blessed to have had 2, some would say 3, players that "come along once in a lifetime." Though times are dark right now, and the losing continues, players like Sidney Crosby do not wallow in losing. They are winners that have succeeded in all levels of the game. Mark it down, Sidney Crosby will bring the Penguins back to greatness, he will have his day to shine. Number 87 will be engraved on the Holy Grail of hockey.

Please do not miss these last 7 chances to say you watched greatness in the making. Sidney Crosby's first professional season is almost in the books, the best is yet to come!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Rendell Announces Plan B

Well, Governor Ed Rendell finally unveiled his Plan B to get the region a new all purpose arena. The Governor is calling it a "Plan B" in the event that the Penguins and their partner Isle of Capri, do not win the Stand Alone Slots License for Pittsburgh. This is all fine and dandy, believe me...I am the first to point out that any time politicians are talking about building an arena in Pittsburgh it is a good thing. However, there is no guarantee in the plan. It is a lot of speculation, reshuffling of funds, counting on commitments that have not been made etc.

Rendell's plan calls for $293.5 million is borrowed funds, $13 million in interest that could be earned while the funds are in a bank, and a $8.5 million commitment from the Pittsburgh Penguins. The governor's plan calls for the borrowing to be repaid over 30 years. The repayment would break down like this: $7.5 million annually from whoever wins the slots license, $7 million annually from a slots-backed state development fund, $2.9 Million in yearly rent from the Pittsburgh Penguins, and $1.2 million in naming rights for the new arena.

Here is the catch. This plan makes it seem as if the governor is working hard to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh, but the plan calls for a lot of different people to pay a lot of different things. This plan is based on promises that haven't been made or secured, naming rights that haven't been sold, rent that the anchor tenant hasn't yet agreed to pay, plus interest that no one can calculate for certain at this time. This is the great alternative to the Pittsburgh First, Penguins, and Isle of Capri plan. This plan could work, but it is in no way better than the slots proposal that has been presented.

The Governor is banking on the fact that his last ditch effort to come forward with an arena plan will help salvage his political existence. I personally think that it is to little to late. This is all propaganda to put a positive spin on the fact that the slots license is very possibly being steered to Harrah's/Forest City. I am hoping that the gaming board still makes the right decision on this matter. The arena issue in Pittsburgh is becoming an important weapon in the governors race in Pennsylvania. Rendell's main competition, former Pittsburgh Steeler, Lynn Swann has come out in favor of the Pittsburgh penguin/Isle of Capri plan, calling it a Win, Win, Win situation. We will see if this makes a difference.

It is still unbelievable that this is even being debated. Let's remember, the Isle of Capri plan will cost the team, region, and taxpayers nothing. They have pledged $290 million, which is already secured through a reputable financial institution, just for winning the slots license. Exactly 90 days after getting the license, they will hand the Penguins a check in the above amount and construction planning can begin. The arena will be bought and paid for, free and clear. Plus, an area of the city in dire need of renovation will receive that much needed redevelopment. The Hill District will be revitalized, back when the Mellon Arena was built a big section of the Hill District was torn down.

It does seem like the arena is going to come to fruition, let's just hope that it is under the right terms and in time to save the Pittsburgh Penguins.