Sidney Crosby is the owner of 1,409 career points in the National Hockey League. Since entering the league in the 2005-06 season, only Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has tallied more points (1,410).
Both players have collected countless individual awards over their long, historic, forever intertwined careers and now have the graying hair to show for it.
At the NHL’s North American Player Media Tour, the 35-year-old Crosby sat down with Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek of the 32 Thoughts podcast. The Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia native was asked bluntly about just how much longer he thinks he’ll lace his skates up in the league.
The two-time league MVP was first asked by Friedman if he has any desire to match what 45-year-old defenseman Zdeno Chara has done in terms of keeping his career going.
“No, I don’t think so,” Crosby said. “I don’t want to say no, but I would lean towards that not being the case.”
The veteran, star center has got into 1,288 combined regular season and playoff games in the NHL over his 17-year career. A career that features 114 total games missed through injury purely due to concussions and/or concussion-related symptoms.
“I’m thinking about three more years and then seeing what happens from there,” Crosby said. “I know it doesn’t do me any good to look past that. I know I want to continue to play at a high level. I’ve played a lot of hockey. It’s something that takes a lot of effort. You’ve gotta be invested and your body has to hold up. There’s a lot of things that you need to go right to continue to play at an older age. So, yeah, I think that three years is my focus. From there, I’ll just kinda see where I’m at.”
Crosby harps on that three-year mark because that’s how much longer he has on the twelve-year, $104.4 million deal he signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins back in July of 2012. Past that, he admitted to Friedman and Marek that he has already begun to think about life after hockey.
“Your mind tends to go there as you get older, for sure,” Crosby said. “You understand the situation. It’s a really difficult position because as an athlete, you want to be in the moment. You don’t necessarily want to think too far ahead, but reality is, that tends to happen a little more as you get older.
“It’s just kinda finding that balance of knowing that’s reality but enjoying the moment and getting the most out of yourself and enjoying every day,” he continued. “It’s a great game. It’s the best job in the world, and you want to play as long as you can.”
Longtime teammates Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang were unrestricted free agents this summer and at times it sure seemed like the Pittsburgh band would not be getting back together. The three integral cogs in the Penguins machine will enter 2022-23 just 118 wins shy of the win record for NHL trios.
“It’s pretty obvious how I feel. It’s not like I have to declare that. I think it’s pretty clear how I feel about those guys,” Crosby stated. “What we’ve gone through, what they mean to the team, the fact that they’re still playing at a high level.”
With their current contract statuses, it’s highly likely that all three retire as lifelong Penguins. Letang is signed until he is 41, Malkin until he is 39, and Crosby until he is 37.
“That’d be amazing. I think that’s something we’d love to do,” Crosby said. “Higher up on the list is winning together again. That’s our motivation. Those guys are wired that way. They’re not just playing to retire. And that’s why they’ve had success for as long as they’ve had.”
Whenever the time does come to hang up the skates, Crosby will do so with a laundry list of achievements in a very fulfilled career. Eight all-star selections, two Art Ross Trophies, two Hart Trophies, three Stanley Cups, two Conn Smythe Trophies, and two Olympic gold medals among others.
“I don’t take it for granted one bit,” he said. “And I love it. So, to me, it’s easy to get up with that mentality every day.
“And I think just having that mentality, when that time does come, I’ll appreciate it,” he finished. “But I want to know that I’ve left it all out there. As long as I can do that, that’s the most important thing.”
Screenshot via Sportsnet
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