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Crosby gets back to basics to stay in shape for Penguins during pause

Sticks to pushups, bike preparing for NHL season to resume

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger / Staff Writer

Sidney Crosby said he has gone old school in his efforts to stay in shape during the coronavirus pandemic, a routine that includes pushups and grueling sessions on a stationary bike.

The Pittsburgh Penguins center is not engaging in fancy gymnastics at his home in suburban Pittsburgh like some other NHL players are posting on social media. Nor is he peppering the dryer with pucks like he did for years while practicing his shot at the one in the basement of his childhood home in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. 

"Nothing that creative," the Penguins captain said with a chuckle during a video call arranged by the NHL on Thursday.

Like many NHL players, Crosby is attempting to find ways to stay ready for whenever the season resumes. It was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus, and four days later players were instructed to go home and self-quarantine, which Crosby has been doing.

"You don't have a ton of resources [to train]," he said. "You make the best with what you have. Try to be professional the best we can and make sure we're in the best shape we can be in given the situation. 

"There is nothing like skating … You just have to make the best of it."

Video: Metropolitan Division stars discuss NHL pause

Crosby said he realized the gravity of the coronavirus situation when the Penguins were preparing to play the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 12. The game at Nationwide Area was to be closed to the general public.

"With us, we were supposed to play that game in Columbus without any fans," Crosby said. "So for us, right away, the first impression is, this is pretty serious, we've got to take this serious right away. That kind of hit me going through that. They cancelled the game later that day.

"You just try to stay informed and do what you can to help out. I think everyone's taking this seriously, and with good reason. I think we all have to do our part."

When it comes to keeping updated, Crosby said he relies on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang.

"If I had to be stuck with somebody [in isolation], I'd say it would be Letang," Crosby said. "I feel he's in the know. I feel like he'd get all the info first. I feel like I'd have a better sense of what's going on if I was stuck with him."

Crosby said group chats are the main source of correspondence being used by the Penguins (40-23-6), who are in third place in the Metropolitan Division.


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Asked what format he'd like to see the NHL adopt when the season resumes, Crosby noted that Pittsburgh would be in the postseason as of today.

"You try to get in as many games as you can but I wouldn't mind starting with the [Stanley Cup Playoffs]," he said. "[But] I think that there's a lot of guys in different situations. 

"The more games you could play, the better when it comes to the integrity of everything. I think that's a big part. I think you just get as many games in as you can, depending on when and what that would look like."

As for the influence of the pause on future salaries and other business interests affecting the players and the NHL, Crosby said those are not priorities. 

"I think right now it's all about making sure we handle this the right way," he said. "That's what's most important. There'll be many conversations I'm sure down the road how all that stuff will be worked out. But the priority right now is that everyone is healthy and stays safe here."

It's a message he's stressing to fans and young hockey players.

"Seeing everyone take this serious and do what they need to do, not only for their own health but for people around them too, that's really the key part of all this," Crosby said. "If a big chunk of people do it and others don't, then we're not going to get much accomplished. ...It's motivating to see [they are]."

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