Penguins general manager Ray Shero and Sidney Crosby’s agent, Pat Brisson, spoke to the media about Crosby agreeing to terms on a 12-year, $104.4 million contract extension earlier today (details here). Here’s the full transcript.
On the length of the contract and if either side had reservations about the commitment:
Ray Shero: It was a deal that we talked about, and the longer term we thought was better for both the player and the team. This is his third NHL contract with the Penguins, and it just felt appropriate that it would take him to a certain level in his career, to the end of his career. I said a few months ago – halfway through the season – that our goal this summer was to try to sign Sidney Crosby and make him a member of the Penguins for life. Hopefully, that’s going to do that.
Pens sign Crosby to 12-year extension
The Pittsburgh Penguins have agreed to terms with Sidney Crosby on a 12-year, $104.4 million contract extension that will keep Crosby with the team through the 2024-25 season. READ MORE ›
On getting Crosby at the same annual average value (AAV) of his last deal:
RS: I wasn’t too sure because until you get into negotiations, you don’t know exactly how it’s going to go. We talked over the last couple months about structure, things like that. As we got down to it and I sat down with Sid and talked to him, I think the balance was to try and find a contract – in his third contract – where we could pay Sidney Crosby accordingly. But as Sid always says to me, and said again, OK, that’s fine, but how can I help the team? How does that help the team? From a manager’s standpoint, the AAV is always important. So he came back after he talked to Pat near the end here and just said, this AAV is really what I wanted to help out the team. He’s never been reluctant to help the team out like that, so we certainly appreciate it and ownership appreciates that. It’s very beneficial and says a lot about Crosby.
Pat Brisson: Once the landscape was in place and we were talking, it was important to Sidney to have a friendly AAV, so to speak, and to be in that ballpark was very important to him.
On if Crosby’s deal sets the bar for what Pittsburgh will do in free agency:
RS: We’ll see what’s available and if there’s players out there that kind of fit what we’re looking for, and certainly if we can fit what they’re looking for, we’ll go from there. But we’re in a different spot than we were maybe a week ago in terms of our salary-cap situation. It’s good to have Sidney signed back up and Geno (Evgeni Malkin) under contract for two more years and have these franchise players signed up. It’s good for the franchise no matter what happens.
On there being an insurance policy in Crosby’s deal:
RS: The insurability of the contract is something I’ve never talked about in the past, won’t talk about on this contract and certainly won’t talk about with any contracts moving forward. That’s a team issue and we’ll deal with that internally on any of these contracts. That’s a good question, but nothing that I’ve talked about before and not going to talk about. I’ll talk about the hockey contracts, but not about insurability of a player contract.
On if there was a concern the contract wouldn’t be done this summer:
PB: Not really. When we started the discussions, Sidney wanted to be a Penguin forever. When this contract is starting, he’ll be 26. First of all, he understands that this is a structure. He’s been in Pittsburgh for seven years now and he knows how committed this organization is and it made sense to him to want to explore a long-term deal immediately.
On if there was ever a doubt this would get done and if it was done with ease:
RS: In my dealings with Sidney, I always felt that he loved playing in Pittsburgh. He loved our fans; he loved our ownership in terms of how committed they are. From my standpoint as a general manager, with the magnitude of this deal, I’ve got to thank our ownership, Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle, for stepping up and securing Sidney for basically the rest of his career here. Based upon Sid’s willingness and what he’s told me over the last six years I’ve been with him – and especially this past year and over the last month in my meetings with him – I never doubted it would probably get done. Certainly knowing the commitment from our ownership group and how they feel about Sid as a player and a person, I was pretty certain this would get taken care of. But until it’s done, you’re never certain. So it’s a good day for all of us.
On how a contract like this will help in re-signing players like Malkin, Letang and Fleury in the future:
RS: Dealing with just the Sid contract here and the AAV, No. 1, for a player of this magnitude and what he’s accomplished in the league, for the AAV to remain the same is very important. I think in this contract, we got the values in the contract – $104.4 (million), you get an AAV of $8.7 (million) – (and) that’s important. In terms of re-signing the players you mentioned, in the future they’ll be under a new CBA. Not sure what that’s going to be, but those are important pieces. The thing with Geno, the reigning MVP of the league, it’s almost like having two kids that you’re equally fond of. When the time comes, whatever the rules are going to be, we’re going to try to make Geno happy as well and keep him a Penguin for a long time. That will be our mindset when we have a new CBA in place. We’ll see how Kris and Marc do as well. The new rules are going to kind of dictate what we can and cannot do. But the $8.7 (AAV) is certainly beneficial to the team and from Sidney’s standpoint, the long-term deal is beneficial for him.
On if the way the community responded to Crosby during his concussion/neck injuries cemented his bond with the city:
PB: He’s won a Cup in Pittsburgh. The year before, the Penguins were runners-up. He went to this franchise when the franchise was literally at the bottom and was part of the build-up of this franchise. So he’s emotionally extremely attached to the fans and the city of Pittsburgh and the organization. Ron, Mario, Ray, David and the whole group. It meant a lot to him. When you are negotiating a contract of this magnitude, as a player, it’s important to understand what you want and where you want to be first. First and foremost, Sidney understood that from Day 1. Regardless of what he’s been through, the good and the bad and all that, in the vacuum he was able to realize where he wanted to be – and he wanted to be in Pittsburgh. So this contract means a lot to him.
On Crosby’s current and long-term health status:
PB: I’ve been with Sidney here; he’s been training in Los Angeles. He’s feeling great. Since he came back at the end of the season and the playoffs, he felt really good. He’s been training hard and feeling really well. Compared to last summer, it’s been night and day and very encouraging. He’s looking very well and feeling well based on what he tells us. He’s looking ahead to a great season.
RS: From the team’s standpoint, it’s what Pat’s saying. I saw Sid about 10 days ago. The way he came back and finished up for us was certainly on a points-per-game basis. He obviously did very well on a points-per-game basis, finished the rest of the year. He’s playing at that level despite not having training camp, not really being able to get into the routine he needs to be in. This is an important summer for him. We feel confident as to where he is and how he finished up for us. So yeah, we believe the best days are going to be ahead here with a full summer of training, which he really didn’t have last year at all. To come back and play and produce how he did, certainly bodes well for the future.