The Penguins wore a Scarlett Letter at their morning skate practice jerseys at BankAtlantic Center in Florida, but it wasn’t an “A.”
The team all came out wearing “C”s on their sweaters to show solidarity with captain Sidney Crosby
, who skated for the first time after the team’s practice on his own (well except Evgeni Malkin
, who went with the Russian version "K" on his chest).
The move was also in response to an article written by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
, which stated: “a group of players held a 45-minute meeting to discuss a temporary captaincy.”
So the Pens responded to the article by showing that they are standing behind Crosby as their captain in perpetuity.
“When someone says we don’t want Sid as our captain, it’s pretty ridiculous,” forward James Neal
said. “He’s an unbelievable player, unbelievable leader. He’s going to be captain here for a lot of years. In the room there is no doubt that he is our leader and he is our guy. … It’s a pretty stupid comment.”
“It was just to have fun and loosen it up,” defenseman Brooks Orpik
said. “(Crosby’s place on the team) has never been in question, not in this room. People can speculate. If we are on a six-game winning streak it probably doesn’t come up. We can only control what goes on in here.
“Sid will be our captain until he’s retired. I don’t know where that came from, but we had a little fun with it today.”
The players made a collective decision to wear the Cs. The Pens are hoping to snap out of a six-game losing streak and head coach Dan Bylsma saw this as a character-building move.
“The guys coming together and making a little joke of it, but also supporting their captain and coming together as a team, I liked what I saw,” Bylsma said.
Crosby was flattered by the support of his teammates, and thinks that this will bring the team closer as a group while going through adversity.
“That was a nice gesture, especially at a time like this when things are tough and there is adversity with the injuries and losses,” Crosby said. “We need to stick together. That was a good sign of sticking together. Whenever you have adversity there are times when your team and character is questioned. I don’t think that’s ever been a point with our group. It’s good to see everyone sticking together. I think we’ll see the results on the ice.”