Sidney Crosby/Ray Shero Conference Call on Sid's new contract
It’ll be six more years of Sid for Penguins fans.
Sidney Crosby agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension on Tuesday that will keep him in Pittsburgh through the 2012-13 season.
“It feels great, especially with the group of guys we have. To know I will be able to grow with these guys and spend a while with them is exciting” he said via conference call. “It’s a great place and I really enjoy my time there. To have that sense of security definitely feels good.”
The deal, which kicks in during the 2008-09 season, pays the NHL's MVP an average of $8.7 million per year – a familiar number since Crosby wears No. 87 and was born on Aug. 7, 1987. (Also of note, 66 people were on hold for Crosby’s conference call).
“As far as 8.7, It seems like a pretty good number,” he said. “I thought it was kind of unique so I was happy with that. I don’t think it’s going to change a whole lot. It’s a lot of money, but at the same time, my attitude and how I approach things is not going to change.”
Negotiations on a long-term deal went smoothly, according to Penguins Executive Vice President/General Manager Ray Shero, who also took part in the conference call.
“It really wasn’t that difficult. You had a guy like Sidney Crosby who was willing to do a deal like this. The five-year extension is huge for our organization,” he said. “When you’re dealing with the best player in hockey, the negotiations took some time, but everything was amicable and cordial. A lot of it had to do with Sidney’s attitude and desire to stay in Pittsburgh. We’re very happy.
“We have to keep in mind Sidney didn’t have to do anything. He could have played out his contract for next year and we could have been at this next summer. It was his strong desire to stay in Pittsburgh and our strong desire to keep him here for as long as we can. I think the five-year extension answers both things. We’re very happy with it and we’re very happy that he’s with us for six more years and, hopefully, his entire career.”
Under the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, a player can earn 20 percent of the $50.3 million salary cap. So, Crosby could have received $10,060,000 per year. Yet, he accepted this contract to give the team flexibility to retain more of its talented core of players.
“I think it was important to do what I think was right for everyone. I just really tried to find the right balance. I think it’s fair for everyone,” he said. “We have a unique situation with our team. Ray has the tough job of having to get everyone together and stay there. I think we all want to be there. Hopefully, it is a step in the right direction.”
Crosby joins Ryan Whitney, who re-signed for six more years, as two key pieces of the Penguins’ core who have agreed to long-term deals.
“His ability to give back and leave some on the table, I think is a great tribute to him,” Shero said. “Sidney is interested in winning the Stanley Cup and interested winning in Pittsburgh. This is certainly a great first step. If the cap goes up over the next five or six years, it will certainly leave more room for us to do some other things to help surround him with some people and talent to try to win that Stanley Cup. It’s great for Sidney, our city and franchise. From our ownership group and management, we’re very thankful and really happy to have him signed up again.”
In 2006-07 at age 19 years, eight months, Crosby became the youngest player in NHL history to win the Art Ross Trophy as the scoring champion with 120 points (36+84) in 79 games. And, Crosby is the youngest scoring champion in any major professional sport. He is the only teenager to win the Art Ross Trophy in league history. The next-youngest was Wayne Gretzky, who won the title at 20 years and 3 months of age at the conclusion of the 1980-81 season.
Crosby took over the NHL scoring lead on Dec. 13, 2006, with a six-point game against Philadelphia and never looked back. He became the first teenager to lead the NHL in scoring since Gretzky led briefly near the end of the 1979-80 season and early in the 1980-81 campaign.
It marks the 12th time in the past 19 season that a Penguins player has won the Art Ross Trophy. Mario Lemieux won the title six times while Jaromir Jagr claimed it on five occasions.
In his Stanley Cup playoffs debut, Crosby became the fourth teenager in NHL history to score a goal in each of the first three postseason games of his career. The others were Wendel Clark (four games, 1986 Maple Leafs), Paul Coffey (three games, 1981 Oilers) and Glen Wesley (three games, 1988 Bruins).
In addition, Crosby is the second-youngest player to win the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP and youngest to claim the Lester B. Pearson Award as the “most outstanding player” during the regular season as voted by members of the NHLPA.
At 19 years, 10 months, Crosby is the second-youngest Hart Trophy winner in the history of the award, which was introduced in 1924. Wayne Gretzky was 19 years, 5 months old in 1979-80 when he captured the first of eight consecutive Hart Trophies with the Edmonton Oilers.
Crosby joins Evgeni Malkin to give the Penguins the overall points leader and rookie points leader. The last NHL team to finish a season with both was the 1959-60 Blackhawks. Bobby Hull won the Art Ross Trophy and Bill Hay led all rookies in points.
On May 31, 2007, Crosby was named Penguins captain. At 19 years, nine months (297 days), he is the youngest team captain in NHL history. Previously, the youngest captain in NHL history was Tampa Bay’s Vincent Lecavalier, who was named captain in March, 2000, at age 19 years, 10 months (324 days).