It's likely Penguins center Sidney Crosby scoped out a few houses with for sale signs yesterday as he and other members of the organization roamed the area hand-delivering season tickets to 35 homes.
For all that the fourth-year center has seen and everything he has experienced in the NHL, Crosby finds himself in familiar surroundings this week -- that is, he is back living at the home of team owner and former teammate Mario Lemieux and his family.
"I've been looking for a place for the last year, but I haven't found anything I'm quite ready for yet," Crosby said after spending time at the Mt. Lebanon home of David and Mary Disney, original Penguins season-ticket holders dating to 1967.
This was the second year the team had members deliver season tickets. The other Penguins who participated were goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, forwards Jordan Staal, Max Talbot, Tyler Kennedy, Pascal Dupuis and Jeff Taffe, defensemen Sergei Gonchar and Brooks Orpik and coach Michel Therrien.
One thing Crosby, 21, is ready for is the 2008-09 season. Players officially report Tuesday and open the regular season Oct. 4 against Ottawa in Stockholm, Sweden. Most of them are in town.
"It's been a short offseason, but we're here now," Crosby said. "Guys are all skating together, and we've all got that itch to get back out there."
At the end of the 2006-07 season, Crosby was recuperating from a broken foot but was able to resume workouts June 1 as usual. This year, the team still was playing on that date, advancing to the Stanley Cup final before losing to Detroit in six games.
That meant a change in routine.
"It's just a little bit less of everything," Crosby said. "You have to let your body heal a little bit more. You probably can't gain as much as you might have in a typical summer in terms of getting stronger or faster. It's more of just getting back to where you need to be and getting back to feeling good."
That includes his right ankle. He missed 28 games in the second half of the regular season because of a high ankle sprain.
"No issues there," Crosby said. "Hopefully, I don't have to deal with it and I can have a healthy season."
After the Penguins won the Atlantic Division title and spun through the first three rounds of the playoffs with just two losses, falling to the Red Wings hit them hard. That meant there was some soul-searching during the short offseasonhe mostly spent at home in Nova Scotia.
"For the first few weeks after the season, it still stings. You still think about it," he said. "But, once you start working out and you start seeing who's coming in and everything that's happening in free agency and things like that, you realize that it's a new season and you use last season as a motivation. I think we've all moved on. We'll take the experience."
Among the roster changes were the loss of top-six forwards Ryan Malone to Tampa Bay and Marian Hossa to Detroit. It was expected that Malone would leave for a big contract, but Hossa's decision to join the Red Wings on a one-year deal while turning down a multiyear offer from the Penguins came as a surprise to many.
Hossa recently arrived in Detroit to skate with his new teammates and again explained his reasoning.
"It's my decision, and I try to get the best chance to win the Cup and I felt like this is the team to be [with] and that's why I sign with Detroit," Hossa told The Detroit Free Press, adding that it came down to the Penguins or Red Wings and he wasn't concerned about criticism of his choice.
"I don't care. People can say what they want. It's my life, and I make the decision I like."
Crosby, who developed good chemistry with Hossa when they were linemates late in the regular season and during the playoffs, doesn't hold a grudge.
"He's happy with his situation. That's fine," Crosby said.
Asked who he thought had the better shot at winning a Cup -- the Red Wings in 2008-09 or the Penguins over the next five to seven years, Crosby grinned.
"I love when they ask that question because there's 30 teams and the league isn't [predictable] anymore," said Crosby.
"Detroit's got a great team, and they haven't really lost anyone and they've added Hossa. I'm not going to take anything away from them. They're the champions right now and they're a favorite. But since when has it really been a favorite that's really dominated? The league's too competitive. I could say us for the next five years, too, but who knows?"
First Published September 11, 2008 4:00 AM