NHL.com's Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.
The latest edition features Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby:
COLE HARBOUR, Nova Scotia -- Sidney Crosby handed the Stanley Cup back to its keepers late Saturday so it could get washed up and prepped for its trip to Madison, Wisconsin, where Phil Kessel was going to start his hometown celebration Sunday.
Crosby spent Friday and Saturday with the Cup here, his hometown, packing a lot in to a little bit of time.
He brought the trophy to his hockey school and allowed the 160 kids and close to 100 volunteers to get pictures with it. He took it to a veterans' hospital and a childrens' hospital, a local Tim Hortons, and aboard a Harbour Hopper, a land and sea vessel used for tours, for a trip around the historic parts of Halifax and onto the Halifax Harbour.
The celebration culminated on the streets of Cole Harbour, where Crosby was honored with a homecoming parade fit for a king with an estimated 30,000 people, almost the town's entire population, packing the 1.1-mile parade route.
It was after that parade, and after Crosby and the Cup were honored on a temporary stage, where he looked out onto a sea of people who made their way to the grounds at Cole Harbour Place when he spoke with NHL.com about how he got back here with the Stanley Cup and what lies ahead.
Here are Five Questions with … Sidney Crosby:
Back in December, no one would have ever imagined something like this, a Stanley Cup parade for you in Cole Harbour. How did you not lose faith when it looked like the season was going off the rails? How do you internalize everything to stay confident?
"You just have to go a day at a time. You can't fix or cure everything in one day, but you've got to find some way to get improvement, some way to get progress. Ultimately, it's not going to be one day that makes a difference, it's going to be a time span that hopefully changes that kind of season. We had lots of time left so we had to trust and believe that we could do it, and I think everyone did. Everyone took responsibility for needing to be better and we got the result we wanted."
You said after winning the Stanley Cup that one of the best things about this offseason is there won't be the kind of turnover the Penguins had grown accustomed to seeing. A lot of the players are back, and even Justin Schultz re-signed on a much discounted contract to come back and be a part of it. No team has repeated since 1997-98 and I'm not going to ask you flat-out for a prediction, but do you feel better about the odds because of how many of the same players are back?
"I don't know about better, but I think it's just a comfort level, knowing the roles, knowing the makeup of your team. There shouldn't be too much time where you have to adjust and figure out where you stand. There's always that with a team, but there's been a lot more of that the last couple of years because of the turnover. You have to be patient with that because it's not easy to just start rolling game one. It takes time. To know there is more of an understanding of where everyone is going to play and they understand their role, that should be something that helps us right from the start."
When you heard of the World Cup of Hockey, that the NHL and NHLPA was bringing it back for the first time in a dozen years, what did you think?
"I think it's really special. Any time you can compete internationally, it's pretty cool. To have Canada host it, to be Canadian and play in Canada, knowing how special that is, I thought about excitement. I'm excited for the opportunity to play for Canada. That being said, there's also that sense of having to get ready because it's not typical, like in the Olympics, when you're in midseason and everything kind of flows right in. This kind of changes things a little bit being at the start of the season. It's exciting. It gives you something to look forward to right away. It's not the typical grind of training camp, fitness tests and all that stuff. That's not what you're thinking about now. Now you're thinking about playing really meaningful games right away and that's pretty fun, that's something you look forward to."
Have you started your offseason training process yet?
"Yeah, I started training [last] week, on Monday. I took basically a month off. That's a long period of time to be playing hockey and playoffs take their toll on everybody in different ways. But I felt pretty good after the playoffs. I took some time, but at this point you just know mentally when you're ready, and I'm ready. With getting the Cup when I did, it's nice too because you have the Cup these couple days and now you have six weeks to get ready for what's coming next. It's really worked out well, the timing."
I'd be crazy not to ask you about this experience here in Cole Harbour. We're standing here behind the stage now, but just a few moments ago there were 30,000-plus people here, many from your hometown or neighboring communities who watched you grow up, chanting your name and cheering for you. Put me in your shoes, what is that like?
"Oh, it's special. I just feel thankful to be able to grow up here, to have the people around you that support so many things that support me. I just feel grateful. I want to do it again. That's basically how I feel. When you get a feel for this, you see the turnout like this, you see how happy it makes people, the joy they have and what it means to them, it definitely motivates you even more to do it again. I get more joy out of seeing the way people react to the Stanley Cup. I'm fortunate enough to spend time with it right after the win, and it's special when you're with the guys that you go through everything all year with, and you're able to share that time with them. Then you switch gears and you share it with people who have been following you so much that you might not typically get to thank. Really, that's the best way you can say thanks, by sharing it with them. I would say that I probably get more joy out of seeing everyone else and the reaction on their faces than just physically having it myself and walking around with it."
Based on that, and five questions is becoming six questions now, if you were a 10-year-old kid today and Sidney Crosby came up to you with the Stanley Cup, how would you react?
"I'd be pretty floored. I probably wouldn't touch it. I think I'd get a picture with it right away. It's funny, even the kids at the hockey school were arguing with each other about touching it or not touching it. I said, 'Listen guys, whatever you want to do, I respect it.' It's cool for them to see it. That's what it's all about."