Sidney Crosby Excited to Get Going After Offseason of Change … –

After an offseason that lasted more than five months, Sidney Crosby is more than ready to finally get back to work.

“It’s been a long one,” he said during Monday’s Season Ticket Delivery, which typically kicks off a few team events that lead into the first day of training camp. “There’s been a lot of change, a lot of turnover. So, we’ve all been waiting, there’s anticipation just to get going. It’s nice to be close here, and to finally be at that point.”

The Penguins captain defines the term competitor, so watching the playoffs from the outside for the first time since his rookie year (2005-06) was, as he put it, “a bad feeling.” Looking back, Crosby feels that the Penguins didn’t have the necessary consistency to earn a spot – “we had stretches where we won seven in a row and then lost seven in a row” – and their overtime struggles didn’t help either.

“But to know we were as close as we were, I mean – it’s one point, basically, that’s the difference,” Crosby continued. “You know that going in how tight it is, but it’s just not fun watching. That’s why we play, to be in that position. So, I think motivation comes from that.”

When the Penguins did their locker cleanout media availability back in April, Crosby said that change is inevitable when a team loses – but to what extent, he didn’t know. It turned out to be quite a bit, starting with Kyle Dubas taking over management of the team as President of Hockey Operations and GM in the beginning of June after an important conversation with the captain.

“I wanted to be able to have a discussion with Sidney about where he felt the team was at, but more than anything, to be able to sit with him and ensure that winning was the No. 1 thing for him,” Dubas said. “It was very evident in talking with him that winning is his major focus every day.”

So, Dubas went out and did what he could to build a better supporting cast around Crosby and the rest of the core leadership group, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, who are all still playing at an elite level – highlighted by the acquisition of superstar blueliner Erik Karlsson, the best offensive defenseman of his generation.

“He’s special. He can create a lot back there. Put up 100 points, that’s…” Crosby paused while looking for the right word. “That’s crazy. So yeah, I think just for all the new guys though, you get excited to see them and meet them and just want to get out there with them and start getting to work.”

There’s going to be a learning curve as this group builds chemistry in the weeks heading into the 2023-24 season opener on Oct. 10 versus Chicago, but Crosby loves the mix of mentalities that they have.

“I think you want to bounce back, when it doesn’t go your way. I think you want to respond the right way and use it as a learning experience,” Crosby said. “Hopefully, that’s everyone’s mindset. I think with a lot of new faces, everyone’s really excited and has a lot of energy and wants to get going, want to prove themselves.

“So, I think we’re all in the same boat there – that the guys who were there last year want to bounce back, and new guys coming in, they want to prove themselves. I think that’s a good mentality to have. There’s something to prove, I think, for everybody. Regardless of the situation, that’s usually how it works. And I think we all feel that right off the bat here.”

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