Sidney Crosby opens up about Malkin’s uncertainty, playing beyond his contract

HENDERSON, Nev. — Sidney Crosby is thrilled the band stuck together, especially because the threat of a summer breakup was so real.

As the Pittsburgh Penguins and three-time Stanley Cup champions Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin both head to free agency in July, the captain grew nervous.

Crosby admits he was furiously texting teammates and close friends during those tough days leading up to July 13, checking to see if there had been any progress in the negotiations.

Still, even after Letang took over for six years and $36 million on July 7, it seemed a legitimate possibility that Malkin would walk.

Crosby expired when Malkin was extended for four years and $24.4 million on July 12, just hours before the deadline.

“I was sweating. When it gets close, anything can happen. It was starting to come to light and there was a lot of uncertainty,” Crosby told Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek during a taping of the 32 Thoughts podcast.

“You know that’s a possibility. You want to think positive and you want to be optimistic, but there’s always a chance that won’t happen. So I think uncertainty is difficult. I’m sure it was tough for those guys. It was definitely for me – I just didn’t want to go there mentally.

« You don’t want to be on the ice thinking, This could be our last game to play together. But the reality is that it could have been. So it’s great to have them back with us. Yeah, that made me sweat for sure. »

Contrary to rumors, Crosby said he did not approach management to ensure the deals between Letang and Malkin were finalized.

“It’s pretty obvious how I feel. I mean, it’s not like I have to declare it. I think how I feel about these guys is pretty clear,” Crosby said.

The three star Penguins enter this season with just 118 wins before becoming the winningest trio of teammates in NHL history.

Letang will be 41 when his new contract expires. Malkin will be 39 years old. Crosby will be 37 when his current contract ends in 2025.

All three could retire together as Lifetime Penguins.

“It would be amazing. I think that’s something we’d like to do,” Crosby said.

« Higher on the list is winning together again. That’s our motivation. These guys are wired that way. They don’t just play to retire. And that’s why they’re successful. for as long as they have.

Crosby is still performing at an elite level in his mid-30s. He had 31 goals and 84 points in 69 games last season, then added 10 points in six playoff games.

Still, he’s reluctant to start thinking about life in the NHL beyond this contract.

“I’m thinking three more years and then I’ll see what happens from there. I know it’s no use looking beyond that. I know I want to keep playing at a high level,” Crosby said.

“I played a lot of hockey. It is something that requires a lot of effort. You have to be invested in your body because a lot of things have to go right to play at a later age. So, yeah, I think three years is my goal. From there, I’ll just see where I am.

Crosby admitted that from time to time he thinks about what to do with his life after his playing days are over.

« Your mind tends to go there as you get older, that’s for sure. You understand the situation. And it’s a really difficult position because as an athlete you want to be in the moment. You don’t necessarily think too far ahead, but the reality is that it tends to happen a little more as you get older,” he said.

« So just finding that balance between knowing it’s reality, but enjoying the moment and making the most of yourself and enjoying every day. It’s a great game. It’s the best work in the world and you want to play as long as you can.

Whenever that moment comes, Crosby wants to be able to say he’s made the most of his NHL window.

« I don’t take it for granted at all. And I like it. So for me, it’s easy to get up with that mentality every day,” Crosby said.

« And I think just having that mentality, when that time comes, I’ll appreciate it. But I want to know that I left it all there.


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