Sidney Crosby attends Kings prospect camp

By John Logue

Sidney Crosby was the Canadian Hockey League’s
Player of the Year and is the projected first overall
pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Hockey’s Future
caught up with him at the Los Angeles Kings prospects
camp in El Segundo, California.

HF: When did you first start playing hockey?
SC: I started skating when I was two and a half, I
started playing organized hockey at four.

HF: When did hockey first cross your mind as a career?
SC: I don’t think you ever really think about making
it a career. You always want to. I always play because
I love to play and always dreamed of playing in the
NHL. There wasn’t a certain time where I said ‘This is
something I want to do for a living.’ You don’t know
that until you actually get there. Everyday I am
working towards that.

HF: Was there a certain age when you realized that you
were better than everyone else out there and realized
that you had special talent?

SC: When I was seven. I had a lot of talent and I was
lucky to be gifted in hockey. But at the same time
it’s nothing without hard work. Talent only gets you
so far, when you hit bantam, midget and especially
now everyone is talented and everyone is good. It’s
really your work ethic and some luck, there are a lot
of things involved. I had a little bit of talent and I
realized that at a pretty young age.

HF: It’s been known for years that you are going to be
the first overall pick in next year’s draft. Are you
ever worried about doing anything to jeopardize the
first overall spot?

SC: Whatever I have done I have always wanted to be
the best. I have to approach next season the same way
that I did my first year in Junior, just try to have a
good start and try to contribute early and see what
happens from there. I can’t be thinking about going
first overall, I have to worry about helping my team
win. There are smaller goals involved. I want to be
successful with my team, we have a good chance of
winning the league this year there are a few teams in
the mix but we are right there. I’m not looking that
far ahead right now.

HF: Putting all of the success you have had to this
point aside, how much harder to you think you are
going to have to work to make it in the NHL?

SC: I have a long way to go. Just being at this camp,
I see guys who play in the AHL and see guys that are
drafted. It’s so competitive and there aren’t a lot of
jobs out there. There are so many great players and
the margin between each player is very small and you
have to find one or two things that you do a lot
better than someone else. You have do everything well
and work on the little things to give you that edge.
It doesn’t happen overnight, there is a lot of work
involved.

HF: How much harder are you going to work going into
your draft year knowing this year counts more than
others did?

SC: I have accomplished some of my goals, but my
ultimate dream is to play in the NHL. It wouldn’t be
smart for me to take what I have accomplished for
granted. I haven’t been drafted yet or play one game
in the NHL and that’s what I am working towards. For
me it would be stupid to live in the past, I have to
move on and make new goals for myself. It’s a
challenge out there. People might think it’s
easy…it’s not. You have to challenge yourself
every day, you have to be ready to work and be
consistent . Especially when you achieve things, it
can be expected and it’s a little more pressure. You
have to make sure you are ready and don’t take things
for granted.

HF: Since you mentioned the draft, how do you think
attending this year’s draft will make it easier for
you next year?

SC: I think this year let me know how the draft is run
and how it works behind the scenes. I think it’s going
to be totally different next year. This year I was
there to enjoy it and take it all in and see how
everything works and meet some people. I think I’ll be
a little more of a wreck out there next year. It’s not
going to be as easy as it was this year.

HF: How hard it is to be Sidney Crosby and try to live
a normal 16-years-old’s life?

SC: It’s pretty easy away from the rink. I bump into
some people who recognize me and things like that, but
to be honest it’s not something I complain about. I am
very fortunate to be able to play a game that I love
and to play in Juniors and be surrounded by great
guys, playing on a good team and enjoy the game I love
to play. So I consider myself very fortunate and if I
can be a role model or help other people, I am ready
to do that.

HF: In a recent interview you said your parents have
always kept you grounded and down to earth. Is one of
your parents harder on you than the other?

SC: I don’t think so. They are both the same in the
way they feel about me as a person and a hockey
player. Not matter what I was doing, whether it was
school or hockey they told me to get the best out of
myself and don’t take shortcuts. Don’t take things for
granted was the main thing, that’s something that has
always stuck with me.

HF: What are your first impressions of the Kings
prospects camp and Los Angeles as a city?

SC: This is actually my fourth summer in Los Angeles.
It’s a great place, great weather. It’s good just to
be here and take the whole camp in and see the players
and meet the coaches and see how it’s all run. It’s
pretty unbelievable.

HF: Are you here to train with some of the NHL players
down in Venice Beach?

SC: I am training with TRW when I am out here. A lot
of the pros train with them, it’s a great workout.

HF: Which players did you look up to growing up?
SC: Obviously Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemuiex.
Steve Yzerman and Peter Forsberg are the guys I try to
model my game after, someone who is an all around
player and a good leader. Someone who is good off the
ice and a good character guy. Someone who is reliable
out there and not a threat defensively, really and all
around player.

HF: Gretzky said that you have chance to break his
records, do those comments put a lot of pressure on
you and do you feel in a way obligated to try break
them?

SC: I don’t think anyone should feel obligated to
break Wayne Gretzky’s records. There is not going to
be another Wayne Gretzky and I’ve said that so many
times. Maybe he saw something in me he thought was
special, I took it as a compliment. But like I said
there is not going to be another Wayne Gretzky, but if
I can keep doing the things I have done and be
successful, I am not going to change anything. The
only pressure if the pressure you put on yourself, so
I am not going to put pressure on myself to be another
Wayne Gretzky, because there is not going to be
another Wayne Gretzky.

HF: Have any of the Kings prospects caught your eye
this week?

SC: Noah Clarke, he’s really fast and a good scorer. I
think he played two games in the NHL last year. Dustin
Brown looked very good too. There is some good talent
here.

HF: Can you tell us about your teammate and Kings
prospect Eric Neilson?

SC: He’s very tough. He and another guy shared the
heavyweight crown in our league. He’s not only tough
but very fast. He’s not there just to fight, he can
skate and he’s a good checker as well. There are a
lot of guys who are tough but have trouble playing
hockey, he’s not one of those guys. He can play too.

Copyright 2004 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate without written permission of the editorial staff.