Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby

Separation is a difficult thing to do; Crosby, Malkin, Letang reflect on the brothers

do you remember? It was February 20, 2021, the night of the Sidney Crosby 1000’s main milestoney game, with no fans in the stands due to COVID-19, and the center of the Pittsburgh Penguins star standing on the ice as longtime teammates Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang presented him with a forged silver wand and mosaics made of photos from each of his first photos. 999 matches as part of the pre-match party.

You can see their eyes. They were foggy. Crosby even later laughed about how just looking at each other made it impossible to keep dry eyes.

It wasn’t a night then to think about what it would be like when the captain and his two alternate captains knew that they wouldn’t all be members of the Penguins anymore. It could possibly be a special moment. They might even share that moment with something usually impersonal like texting because of the distance during the summer.

But you can imagine that the fog will rise again.

And if you’re paying attention, you can imagine it could very well do in this off-season, with two owners, a center, and Letang, a defensive man, waiting for unrestricted free agents and possibly heading elsewhere.

For 16 seasons, they were Penguins’ teammates – the longest three-man spell with the same team in NHL history, and one of the most productive extensions, with three Stanley Cups and plenty of other equipment.

Crosby, from Nova Scotia, had already been in the NHL for a year and was already rising to a long-standing unofficial ambassador role as the face of the league, if not the sport, when Malkin, a Russian, and Letang, a French-Canadian, penguins debuted in 2006 -2007.

The English in Letang was a bit sketchy. Two owners were almost non-existent. But they began to associate with their common language, hockey.

Tuesday, the three – Crosby, 34, Letang and Malkin, 35 – may have got the last chance to speak publicly about what they mean to each other while they’re still teammates.

Letang reflected in the early days.

“Having a chance to play against him in the Quebec League, (Krosby) has always been a role model,” Letang said of their days as junior opponents for hockey. “Even if he’s the same age, it’s like he’s doing everything perfectly, and how focused and dedicated he is to hockey is amazing. So having him by my side and Geno, would be a treat for us.

“And Geno, I’ve seen him grow as a player and as a person. We all know how good he was, and everything he accomplished throughout his career is absolutely amazing, but to see the start of Geno, not speaking a word of English and then being a joking guy, making it more with the guys outside for dinner.”

“We kind of grew up together. You learn a lot when you spend that long with these guys.”

So much so that they can now finish each other’s sentences as easily as they continue playing together.

Malkin, aka Geno, was funny and touching talking about the three of them.

“It’s amazing. It’s like my two brothers, one Canadian and one French Canadian,” Malkin said.

“It’s not just hockey; it’s life. We spend a lot of time together. We know each other very well.”

Hearing the Malkin brothers’ comment, Crosby laughed and then thought.

“I think we all feel the same way,” Crosby said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to play together for a long time, we’ve been through a lot. I think (when) you look at all those experiences, there’s a lot of faith, a lot of trust in each other. With that, we’ve had success as well. So I think there’s also a level Confidence This is very rare, and I think we all appreciate it.

“However, we understand that it’s not something that can happen forever, but, hopefully, it’s a little longer. We hope we can keep playing together. Unique. It’s special. And like I said, I think we’ve done very well as a group and as a team, So, I hope this plays a role in that as well.”

Three brothers. Troy Frears. три брата.

Penguins trainer Mike Sullivan can hardly separate the three when he considers their impact. He was asked about Malkin and Letang – after all, Crosby has three more years on his contract – but Sullivan instinctively molded his answer about the three into one of his many monologues about his superstars and leaders.

“It’s hard for me to explain what these people mean to the Pittsburgh Penguins,” Sullivan said. “When you look at the legacy that has been built here over the past 16 years, these three guys are the cornerstone of that distinction. There is probably a reason why these three have played with the same organization as long as they have played. In my view, they are the people who set the standard What It Means to Be a Pittsburgh Penguin They are the people who have built a culture of excellence that has been created here in Pittsburgh and that we have all enjoyed over the past 16 years during their careers here.

“I can’t say enough about these guys and their drive, their desire to win, their care of the Pittsburgh Penguins and their teammates. They are the standard, to me, of what it means to be a Pittsburgh Penguin, and they are the people who put in the day to day work that have allowed this organization to achieve The level of success they achieved during their time.”

Sullivan, who has coached the Penguins since December 2015 and led them to the Stanley Cup twice, is not negotiating contracts, but is expected to be part of the conversation with management when the Penguins prioritize any off-season moves.

It is as if it would be just as difficult as a parent having to choose among their children.

“Well, it’s tough. Heading down and apparently close in emotion,” Sullivan said. “My job is to train these guys, and we care a lot about them. We build relationships over the years.”

He noted that considering them team assets in team decisions “I think they’re a necessary part of the job, but it’s tough. These guys have been really important players to us. Their work speaks for itself. My job is to share my opinions, and I do that when I’m asked.”

They are three. Will you two come training camp? One?

Crosby is not usually considered to be a highly pensive or nostalgic person, but this attitude restricts these things to him. He has seen friends and colleagues come and go for most of his life.

It has never been this way, with the participation of Malkin and Letang.

“Yeah, it’s different just because we’re getting older and there’s a lot of history,” Crosby said. “I guess… you’re thinking a bit more due to the fact that it’s something we’ve had to talk about and think about all year long.

“It’s not easy. I think it’s amazing how these guys have been able to put that aside and keep playing the way they did. It’s never going to be easy when you’re in this situation.

“It’s real and part of the job, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy either.”

2022-05-20 14:30:31

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