Sunday, December 17, 2006

Crosby In Montreal - Behind The Scenes

Some news and notes on the Crosby visit to Montreal, translated from Le Journal De Montreal.

The atmosphere in and around the Bell Centre spoke volumes to the fact that this was no ordinary Saturday night game.

For the Penguins morning skate, a few hundred young boys and girls were gathered in the lower reds. At one point they all began chanting "Cros-bee, Cros-bee." The scene put a smile on everyone faces, those in attendance unable to help themselves at the though of sights they'd witness if Crosby, a boyhood Habs fan, were to one day don the red, white and blue.

After the skate, Crosby was interviewed (in French no less!) and said that he didn't feel all that different from the player he was last season. Of course, much of the questioning revolved around the fact that he has launched to the league's scoring lead with an amazing run this week.

"I'm a little surprised to be there", said Crosby, "I'm just trying to do things the same way as last season."

"Over the course of last summer, I put a lot of emphasis on improving my skating and my speed."

No kidding! One just had to see him fly during the morning practice - he looked like a Formula 1 racecar on skates!

His agent, Pat Brisson was present, and was especially proud that his client now had a +18 rating.

Crosby said that the fans chating his name during the morning skate warmed his heart. "It was a real nice feeling", he added.

"I became a Habs fan at a real young age, and it's always very special to play here. It reminds me of when I came to watch games here as a kid. Nowdays, I just try to come here and do my best and set the right example."

Crosby was quite generous with his media time. As usual, everyone wanted some time with the Kid.

The attention hardly phases him. "I accepted this part of the job a long time ago", he said."It's part of what is the life of a hockey player. I've had lots of experience with this."

Like listening to a veteran.

Crosby was interviewed between periods after the first, on the french RDS channel. While Crosby has spoken french for quite a while, the language sometimes necessitates extra concentration he cannot manage during a game. He answered his questions in English, asked the host to explain this to fans. A respectful gesture from an always accomodating young gentleman.

Penguins assistant coach and former Habs GM Andre Savard was also on hand for the morning skate. Savard is well travelled in the corridors of hockey intelligencia, having worked in practically every facet of the game. Impressing him is not an easy thing to accomplish. He had no shortage of acolades to pin on Crosby.

"Even a blind man can see the talent within him", he said. "I've never seen a player work so hard at improving himself constantly. In that sense, he is exactly like Bobby Orr and Guy Lafleur. He always has the pedal to the medal. For two years in Rimouski, he did the same things."

This is no small offhand compliment from Savard, who saw firsthand the work put in by Lafleur while they were teammates with the junior Quebec Ramparts. He also played alongside Orr with the Bruins. He knows of what he speaks.

"Again this morning, he was out hitting the ice. He's a player who performs with high levels of energy, intensity and passion. I never fail to be impressed with his work habits."

Tickets for the game were reaping large paybacks for the multitude of scalpers lining La Gauchetiere St. prior to the game. A pair of seats in the reds going for as much as $1,250.00. One fan came hundreds of miles, from La Beauce, and paid $2,500.00 for four reds - the scalper not even blinking at the initial offer of two grand.
Most seats were garnering four times the sale price. The whites went for $250.00, the blues for $200.00, and the greys for $160.00.

One fan, decked out in a Crosby jersey, plopped down $375.00 for three whites, and was thrilled as anything to be getting inside the building.

Evidentally, this isn't the Columbus Blue Jackets! Sidney Crosby was purely Santa Clause for the scalpers on this day.

Close to game time, two seats in reds were remaining for the sum of $500.00. The writer of the piece for Le Journal was tempted to grab them himself, when they were quickly snatched up by a pair of fans with faster wallets.

In Guy Lafleur's weekly column, titled "Droit Au But" (roughly translated - "Shooting For "), he spoke of Crosby with unparrallelled adjectives.

"He's the most complete hockey player to come on the NHL scene in 20 years", said Lafleur.

"He has a ball playing the game and his love for it shines through everything he does on and off the ice. He can improvise in any facet of the game with uncompromising ease. He's sure of himself. He sets up his players with a rare smoothness and has an instinct for ending up in the right places at the right times. Everything he does, speaks of him as a team player, first and foremost. His goals are to make the Penguins better which each thing he accomplishes."

"I'm hardly surprised to see him leading the league in points, even at 19 years old."

"He has the immense quality of wanting to surpass himself with each new game. He is hockey's best
ambassador and the perfect role model for any player of any age. He is gold for the NHL."

I haven't heard it summed up better!


Anonymous said...

Not to be picky, but "Droit Au But" translated is "Straight to the Goal" ;-)


Reality Check said...

That's damn picky!

I did say roughly - "Droit Au But" essential implies "With a goal in mind" - basically the idea behind each Lafleur column.

Don't you think that if I can translate seven journal articles down into one piece, I can deduct that it's direction translation would be "Straight To The Goal?"

That sounds real lame - it doesn't roll.

I chose to use "Shooting For", which maybe you think means "Lancer pour", because the intent was summed up more precisely.

When I read French, I don't think "En Englais."

Anonymous said...

I am very sorry if that sounded offensive to you but I assure you I had absolutely no intention to make it sound that way. I was merely trying to help.

Thank you,

Reality Check said...

Ah, geez! No it's me who ought to aplogize to you.

You were nowhere near being offensive, but I was offensively defensive (?) in sticking up for that little translation.

There was no need for me to get that way about and absolutely no reason for me to have that tone with a reader.

My apologies.

I'd rather have been blogging all last night and into the early morning than pulling a 12 hour shift in a cheese factory. Shh!

It gets one cranky at times.

I got touchy over that bit of translation because I particulary laboured some over how to term it- actually changed once or twice.

I've been blogging like a madman the past week, and while trafic's been kicking, comments have been fewer.


Then I get your "correction" - I took it the wrong way.

Most folks who pop in under the anonymous tag have a habit of being cowardly irritants. As soon as I see "anonymous" I jump to that perspectives conclusion.

I completely overlooked that you left your name.

Again, my apologies.

Thanks for visiting the site - I hope you continue to do so in any name you choose.


M.Richard said...

Understood and I can certainly relate. All is cool on my side.

By the way, I only recently found your blog and I love it. I try to read it everyday. Keep up the great work! I truly appreciate it.

Go Habs Go!

P.S. I just figured out how to put my name in here without a Blogger account.

Reality Check said...

Your name wouldn't happen to be Mauri....nah, that'd be too good to be true!

I'm glad you enjoy the site. I put a lot into it and almost feel guilty when I skip a day.

There should be lots up here in the next 12 days, no work shifts scheduled!

The habs are being quite inspiring of late, and I didn't even get to the WJC yet.

Stay tuned, and thanks again.

M.Richard said...

Actually ... my first name does start with "Mauri" and ends with "ce" - good eye ;-) And you'll never guess my younger brother's name. Well, maybe you will. And yes, my parents are huge Habs fans.

Reality Check said...

Maurice and Henri? Get outta town!

Huge Habs fans? No kidding!

You need e-mail right away! LOL

Seriously, if you could do that, or are willing to, I'd love to know the whole story behind your parents choosing those names and any anecdotes that have happened with you and your brother over the years.

If you could e-mail me a picture of the two of you and possibly a scan of a birth certificate, I'd do a whole big story on it.

This is really wild!

Let me know what you think!

My Goodness! You boys have your names on the Stanley Cup 19 times!

Closest I got is Sylvain Lefebvre, LOL.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

M.Richard said...

Very interesting thoughts. I'll email you and we'll see where it takes us.


Reality Check said...

Cool! It would be a good read.