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Slap Me Silly Sidney!

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Sidney Crosby was in Toronto, Tuesday, and for once he wasn’t hurting the Toronto Maple Leafs.

This was business. Not the usual business Crosby has been conducting while becoming the youngest player to win a scoring title in any pro sport, but business nonetheless.

At 20, Sidney Crosby has his own clothing line, SC87 and he was showcasing the new clothes and footwear at Toronto’s Square One Sport Chek. Crosby had lots of input on the design of the stuff bearing his initials and number, from the shirts to the running shoes

“Obviously, I’m not going to change professions but it’s been a little bit of a change of pace from the hockey talk,” he said.

Heady stuff this, but not for Crosby who has long lived with the prediction from Wayne Gretzky that the kid from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, has the right stuff to break all his records.

We may soon find out if Gretzky was right.

 A player’s biggest statistical jump generally comes in his third or fourth season. This is year three for Crosby. In view of the fact that he put up 120 points and that the Penguins boast a spectacular core of Evgeny Malkin and Jordan Staal, can Crosby set his sights on 200 points? Wayne Gretzky is the last player to break the 200 point-barrier. He scored 215 in 1985-1986.

“I’m going to start with one (point),” he said. “The game is wide open but the goaltending is so good. You’d have to have a lot of things go your way. The team would have to win a lot too. I think that would be the max, but you never know.”

As the Leafs forecast their upcoming season, they know they must exist in Sidney’s World. The Penguins visit the Leafs October 13 and December 1. The Leafs are in Pitt October 25 and January 3.

Crosby has already inked a contract extension that will keep him in Pittsburgh until 2013. He has been named captain. He aspires to be like his mentor Mario Lemieux and the great Steve Yzerman: players who spent their career with just one team.

Until then, he will continue to bedevil the Leafs. It isn’t as bad as it could be. In the eight games he has played against Toronto, Crosby has banked 12 points, including three goals. He is minus-2 with 26 shots on goals.

Crosby can’t decide which city, Toronto or Montreal, provides a bigger thrill.

“I think they’re pretty much equal. Growing up, I was a big Montreal fan but I didn’t like the Leafs because I was a Montreal fan. I think that sense of playing against them is more of a sense of focus. You want to play well on those big stages.”

  After making the playoffs for the first time since 2000-2001, the Penguins were bounced  by the Ottawa Senators in the first round. Crosby knows there is much more to do.

“There were times we won some shootout games and some overtime games and we knew we didn’t play well but we didn’t realize that could hurt us in a playoff game,” Crosby said.

“Now, I don’t think we’re going to accept not playing well and winning. We’re going to expect a lot more from ourselves.”
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