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Crosby Understands Pressure, Expectations

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

Captain Sidney Crosby knows how high the expectations are outside of the Penguins locker room for his team every year with the talent that they have, and that there’s a belief they should have more than one Stanley Cup title.

Of course Crosby wants to win the Cup every year, and of course it’s tough not having been back to the Final since winning it in 2009. But even with the roster that this team has, it’s just not that easy to do. However, that’s what will make it that much sweeter if they can get there this year – and believe the captain when he says his team is going to do everything they can to make sure that happens.

“I like to think I set (the expectations) pretty high, I think you guys set them even higher than I do,” Crosby said with a laugh. “It’s not that easy. We were in a Final that we lost and a conference final and had some injury trouble one year. Need a lot of things to happen and a lot of things to go right. I think if I’m not mistaken, Chicago’s had two and everyone else has had one since we’ve had that core group or that team you want to talk about.

“I think the expectation is that every year. I’d love to be able to do it every year, but I think that’s what makes it so special. If it was that easy, it probably wouldn’t mean that much. So I think that it’s difficult, we try every year and we’re going to do our best this year to get there.”

Crosby was asked if he feels that with each year that passes without another Cup, if he sees fewer and fewer chances to win with this group. The captain responded that isn’t the way he sees it.

“I think with the NHL now, there is so much change, so I don’t know if you can really look at it that way,” he said. “I think you look at it more from the perspective that you have an opportunity that a lot of other teams want. It’s not easy to get here, and I think you try to make the most of every year no matter if we have a big chunk of our core or not. When you’re in the playoffs, it doesn’t matter how you get in, you have a chance. I think we just try to make the most of that. I don’t look at it based on who it’s with or something like that. I think it’s more an opportunity for anyone anytime you get to play in the playoffs.”

Anything could happen once the games get underway, but one thing’s for sure – The best player in the world is back at the top of his game, winning his second NHL scoring title this season with 104 points (36G-68A), after a rough few seasons injury-wise. When asked if this is the best he has ever felt going into the playoffs, Crosby replied that was fair to say. And while Crosby joked that he definitely didn’t wake up before his alarm clock went off this morning like teammate Joe Vitale did, the captain said he can’t wait to get going.

“This is why we play,” he said. “And especially for us, the last few weeks we’ve kind of known where we were going to be. And I think that just knowing that this means something here and this is big, it’s exciting.”

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