Rest is nice, but Crosby, Fleury wouldn't mind being in Nashville
January 30, 2016 12:00 AM
Sidney Crosby has been healthy enough to play in only one All-Star Game, and he wouldn't mind getting a chance to appear in another.
By Dave Molinari / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Sidney Crosby is in the midst of a five-day break.
He has the resources to spend his time off anywhere in the world.
All things considered, though, Crosby would like to be spending the weekend in Nashville, Tenn.
Not because he’s eager to tour the Country Music Hall of Fame or to hang out in one of the honky-tonks on Broadway, but because he would like to be competing in the NHL All-Star Game Sunday at Bridgestone Arena.
Although a lot of high-profile players might prefer to spend a few days on a tropical beach — that’s such a frequent problem that the NHL now forces players who decline to participate in the game to sit out the first game after the All-Star break — Crosby said he likes being selected for the game because of how it validates his performance in a given season.
“With All-Star Games, it’s an honor to be part of that group of guys,” he said. “The main thing is just to be recognized. That says a lot about your year.
“For sure, I’d love to be able to say I had a better start and I’m part of that group, but it’s not something I look negatively at. The guys who are there deserve to be there.”
Crosby struggled offensively through the early months of this season, and was neither voted in by fans nor chosen to participate by the league.
The Penguins’ representatives at the All-Star weekend are center Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang.
Marc-Andre Fleury has played well enough to be in the game, but lost out to Washington’s Braden Holtby and Cory Schneider of New Jersey as the Metropolitan Division goaltenders for the skills competition tonight and the game Sunday.
Fleury played in the 2015 All-Star Game and spent much of his time fishing pucks out of his net, but still would have liked to return this season.
“I think it’s an honor to be put in that game,” he said. “It means you’re having a good season.
“I was not a big fan of being scored on so often in the game, but the skills [competition] — the breakaways, shooting the puck [for accuracy and speed] — that was fun.”
Crosby has been voted onto, or named to, All-Star teams for most of his time in the NHL, but injuries have limited him to just one All-Star Game appearance, in 2007 in Dallas.
That year, the Western Conference beat the East, 12-9, in a game that was, as usual, devoid of meaningful defense.
“It would have been nice to get a couple of points,” Crosby said. “I think there were 19 goals, and I don’t think I got a point.”
He was a bit off on the total of goals scored, but Crosby’s recollection of his personal point total — zero — was dead-on.
Nonetheless, his memories of the event are positive.
“It was a good time,” he said. “At that time, I didn’t know a lot of the players. I hadn’t met a lot of the guys who were in that game. … It was fun to be there and meet everybody, be part of it, celebrate the game.”
The All-Star Game this year will have a different format — each of the league’s four divisions will field a team for a 3-on-3 tournament — and Crosby and Fleury believe the change could make the game more entertaining.
“It all depends on how hard the guys try,” Fleury said. “If they try, it could be good hockey. It could be fun.”
Dave Molinari: Dmolinari@Post-Gazette.com and Twitter @MolinariPG.
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