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Crosby expecting a raucous night in Montreal

by Shawn P. Roarke /
MONTREAL -- It's always a big deal when Sidney Crosby comes to Montreal, the center of the hockey universe.

Crosby is the sport's biggest star and this city has an insatiable hunger to see and learn more about "Sid the Kid." So it isn't surprising that Tuesday's morning skate scrum was his biggest so far in these playoffs.

Tuesday (7 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS) marks Crosby's first Stanley Cup Playoff game in Montreal, and that means the Canadiens are in the playoffs, assuring that hockey assumes an even higher profile than normal in these parts.

Tuesday morning, Crosby talked about Game 3 and the special atmosphere of playing in Montreal at this time of year, as well some of the hardships of being the visitor in the hockey-mad city.

Question: Both you guys and the Montreal Canadiens have played a game since the injuries to Andrei Markov and Jordan Staal. Do you think you have a sense of where the teams are at now in the wake of those losses?

Crosby: I don't think we need an injury like that to find ourselves. If anything, whoever is playing those minutes, whoever is filling in those roles, hopefully, becomes a little more comfortable after going through that for a game. If there was any discomfort there, I hope that has changed. But I don't think that is the case. I think we realize the situation and we have to get on without him.

Question: Is it nice to be on the road sometimes, forget the distractions that come with being at home?

Crosby: I think your game is always a little more simplified on the road. You know you are facing the challenge of an energetic team and a hometown crowd. That's something you look to as a challenge and hopefully it sharpens your game a little bit.

Question: Are there also distractions coming to play in Montreal?

Crosby: Yeah. It's a different scenario than other places, for sure. It's definitely the case here. But I don't think our routine changes. We don't really leave the hotel during the playoffs, anyway. If anything, you probably have to turn the TV off a little bit more, that's about the only thing. That's not a bad thing, though. It's an opportunity that you are playing in a great hockey place and the challenge is even greater. That's why you play the game.

Do you remember the old Montreal Forum, and also, is there any significance that half the teams left (in the playoffs) are Original Six, including the one you are playing here?

Crosby: I think that is good for hockey if that is the case. And sure, I remember the Forum. I remember when they made the switch here to the Bell Centre. There's a lot of history with that building, obviously, and they have continued the trend with this building here. I mean, you look at the crowd and you see how (the team) plays here; it's a special place. These are the types of games, as a hockey player, that should be easy to get up for. 

Question: Were you ever in the Forum?

Crosby: No, I wasn't. This is the only one.

Question: Do you ever wish that it didn't get out that as a kid you liked the Canadiens? Because every time you come here it becomes such a huge topic of discussion.

Crosby: It doesn't change things for me. It would be a different topic if it wasn't that, so it doesn't change things.

Question: What do you remember about your first time here?

Crosby: I remember coming out on the ice and my first goal -- I remember it was a 2-on-1 against (Jose Theodore) -- it was really special. I was just happy to be here. Obviously, I wanted to score; but just being out here playing was a dream come true. To get my first goal here was a lot of fun.

Question: Do you think you will have that same feeling tonight with it being your first playoff game?

Crosby: No. You are on the road (in the playoffs), and just being happy to be here, that feeling changes pretty quickly. If you are on the road, you are in an environment that is pretty hostile as far as being a road team -- it's loud and it's a challenge. You kind of focus according to that.

Question: Does the noise change how you play the game?

Crosby: No. I think you just have to be aware and be able to shut all that out and realize the difference between the way you play and the momentum of the crowd. The hits always seem bigger, a shot from the points seems like it is a breakaway; but as long as you are aware of that, able to separate that, than you are fine -- you get to your game and you play with confidence. But, that is one thing you have to be aware of.

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