Sidney Crosby shares his wisdom with Connor Bedard ahead of NHL debut

Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby, the Pittsburgh Penguins captain and one of the greatest players of his generation, is not done yet. He still has a lot to play for and achieve in his 19th season in the NHL. But he also understands the expectations and challenges facing the young Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard, who enters the league with the same kind of hype and pressure that Sid had 18 years ago.

Sidney Crosby

Crosby and Bedard met at the NHL media tour in Las Vegas last month, where they did the first portion of media interviews together. Crosby agreed to do this as a way of dispensing some insight and advice to the 18-year-old phenom, while also allowing him to learn from his example.

Crosby’s advice: Enjoy the experience and learn to say no

Crosby had two pieces of advice for Bedard: Try to enjoy the experience and learn when to say no. He recalled his own rookie debut in 2005, when he felt the weight of the NHL on his shoulders. The league was coming off a yearlong lockout. The team that drafted him No. 1, the Penguins, was in such peril that it was exploring relocation. The hype surrounding Crosby was insane; he was already a hockey icon before stepping on NHL ice.

Crosby said he was so excited, anxious and nervous that he couldn’t sleep before his first game. He also said he had to deal with a lot of demands and commitments off the ice, such as media scrums, sponsorships and fan requests. He said it was hard to say no early on, but he learned to balance his priorities and focus on his performance.

“There’s going to be a lot of demands off the ice. There’s high enough expectations when it comes to on the ice,” Crosby said.

Bedard’s response: Appreciate the opportunity and learn from the best

Bedard, who was selected No. 1 by the Blackhawks in the 2023 NHL draft, said he appreciated the opportunity to meet and talk with Crosby, whom he idolized growing up. He said he was grateful for his advice and guidance, and he hoped to emulate his success and professionalism.

Bedard also said he was aware of the expectations and pressure that come with being the No. 1 pick and the next face of the league, but he said he was ready to embrace them and prove himself on the ice.

“I’m just trying to enjoy every moment of this. It’s a dream come true to play in the NHL, and I want to make the most of it,” Bedard said.

Crosby and Bedard face off on opening night

Crosby and Bedard will face off on opening night, when the Penguins host the Blackhawks on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN+). It will be a matchup of two generational talents, one at the peak of his career and one at the start of his journey.

Crosby said he was looking forward to playing against Bedard, whom he praised for his skill, speed and vision. He also said he hoped to see him grow and develop as a player and a person in the league.

Bedard said he was excited to play against Crosby, whom he called his idol and role model. He also said he hoped to learn from him and challenge him on the ice.

“It’s going to be an amazing experience to play against him. He’s one of the best players ever, and I want to see how I stack up against him,” Bedard said.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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