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Summer with Stanley

Crosby wants to 'soak up every second' of Cup victory

Penguins captain wants to share most famous trophy in sports with as many people as possible

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

LAS VEGAS -- Ten days later, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was saying the same things he said shortly after NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman handed him the Stanley Cup at SAP Center in San Jose.

"The appreciation and trying to soak up every second of it, you have to remind yourself to do that because I don't think I did a great job with that the first time around," Crosby said following the 2016 NHL Awards show at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Wednesday, when he finished as runner-up to Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane in voting for the Hart Trophy.

"Having it is nice, but it's just the reaction of other people and trying to share it with as many people as possible, that's the biggest thing. It just commands so much attention wherever it goes whether you're a hockey fan or not, and just being able to kind of see that and experience that, that's what it's all about. If anything, it's about understanding that."

Crosby, who also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, will have plenty of time to revel in being a champion again and to share the Stanley Cup with those closest to him -- and even with people he has never met.

He indicated that he will again take the Cup home to Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, but he doesn't plan to try to recreate the events in his hometown and the emotions he felt when he brought it there in 2009.

An estimated 75,000 people showed up seven years ago to see him parade the Cup through town. He flew with the Stanley Cup in a Sea King helicopter, which he later signed, and landed on the deck of a Canadian naval ship docked in Halifax so he could bring the trophy to his country's servicemen and women. He visited a children's hospital and left in awe of the patients he met.

"Those memories are unique and special," Crosby said. "You don't try to repeat them necessarily, you just try to reach as many people as you can and that's what I'll try to do for a couple of days as best as I can."

His community might have a special gift for him when he arrives.

According to CBC News, Paul Mason, who coached Crosby when he was growing up, has been leading a movement to have Forrest Hills Parkway renamed in Crosby's honor. The regional council is expected to vote on it next month.

Cole Harbour Place, where Crosby grew up playing, is located on Forrest Hills Parkway.

"It's definitely something that I don't think necessarily needs to be done, but it's a compliment," Crosby said. "If they feel that strongly and want to do that, then that means a lot to me. I think about Cole Harbour all the time, my friends back there, growing up there and everything that came along with that. It's a special place to me so that would certainly mean a lot, but by no means is that necessary."

What is necessary, though, is for Crosby to quickly start thinking about next season, specifically the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which is less than three months away.

The World Cup will run Sept. 17-Oct. 1 in Toronto. To date, Crosby has won every team trophy he could win as a professional with the Penguins and Canada, but this will be his and every current NHL players' first crack at the World Cup.

So, yes, winning in Toronto with Team Canada is on Crosby's mind.

"I would say the first week of July or the second week of July you start kind of getting back into things," Crosby said. "The good thing about playing this long is you've been skating for that long so you don't necessarily have to skate as much as you typically would when you're out earlier. So that's a nice thing to have, but you want to be ready right from the start. It's a short-term event and it's going to come pretty quickly here."

Crosby is excited about the potential for the type of hockey that will be played in the World Cup, specifically from Team North America, a collection of young Canadians and Americans, all 23 and under, who make up arguably the most intriguing team in the tournament.

Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Dylan Larkin, Johnny Gaudreau, fellow Cole Harbour native Nathan MacKinnon, Seth Jones, Aaron Ekblad and Penguins goalie Matt Murray highlight Team North America's roster.

"It's going to be fast," Crosby said. "Every single one of them can skate. If you look at that list of guys it's probably some of the top skaters in the league, fastest skaters, so it's going to be entertaining hockey. There might be some chasing going around out there, but it'll be interesting. I think fans are going to love it. I think it's going to be great hockey."

Crosby also likes the concept of the World Cup because he feels it will help motivate him in his offseason training. Instead of just training for training camp, for next season, for the upcoming grind, Crosby can train for big games in September for the first time in his life.

"It's motivating when you win, you feel those emotions and you want to do it again," Crosby said. "Looking at last month or so, or the last couple of months, it's so fun to play hockey. The games are big … and knowing that games as important as those will be a couple months away again, that's exciting."

Once he gets through the World Cup and returns to Pittsburgh, the repeat tour will commence.

The Penguins are in good shape salary cap-wise, which means they should return mostly intact, with only a few minor changes. Crosby feels good. Pittsburgh announced Thursday that Evgeni Malkin will not need surgery on his injured left elbow and should be fully recovered for the start of the season.

They trust the system that coach Mike Sullivan wants them to play. They trust general manager Jim Rutherford to make the right moves to help them out.

It all sets the Penguins up to make a run at being the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since the Detroit Red Wings did it in 1998.

"That'll be our goal," Crosby said, "but there's a reason why a lot of teams haven't done it."

That's why he better soak it all in now. You just never know if there will be a next time.

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