Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Lower profile suits Sid just fine

Pens superstar keeps to himself in Canada

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CALGARY -- Calgary hockey hounds hoping for a glimpse of one of hockey's most recognizable faces -- Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby -- probably won't see much of him beyond the Saddledome Wednesday.

Still basking in the glow of a springtime Stanley Cup win, and only weeks away from perhaps centring the top line of Canada's Olympic hockey team, Crosby is forced to stay out of the limelight in a city as hockey crazed as Calgary.

When he's on the road, fans wonder where he is when he's not on the ice.

"I'm pretty much just staying in the hotel room," he told local reporters Tuesday.

"No shopping or anything like that.

"I'll just stay in the cave and hang out there."

Giving the local media throng a few minutes of his much-demanded time at a downtown hotel, the young Crosby admitted that in an era of camera phones, text messaging, and YouTube, getting privacy can be a challenge.

But being in the spotlight since he was a 14-year-old phenom from Nova Scotia, spending time "in the cave" upon arrival to almost any Canadian city is just something he's become used to.

"It's all I know. It's what I've grown up with. But I'm a private person. I try to keep it that way."

Looking crisp in a blue shirt and dark blazer, Crosby admitted to being a little groggy after waking up only 30 minutes before the 11 a.m. meeting with the media.

His hectic year-long schedule of superstardom saw his team ride the playoffs well into last June, then take up training camp before Labour Day.

And now juggling a rigorous, travel-heavy, compressed schedule to compensate for the two-week Olympic break, seems harrowing. But Crosby says he is intent on focusing first on his NHL team, then on the national one.

"You want your game to be at its best right now, just worry about right now, and then hopefully that can translate (to the Olympics) when the time comes," he said.

Flames officials say tickets for today's game featuring Crosby and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins were sold out long ago, as is usual for all high-profile games, such as those against the Edmonton Oilers, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens.

"These are always tickets that are highly sought after," said Rollie Cyr, vice-president of ticketing and sales for the Flames. "The Penguins are Stanley Cup champion. They get major press coverage every time they come to any Canadian city."

Online, tickets in the lower bowl were selling for up to $1,000 a seat.

-- Canwest News Service

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 13, 2010 C3

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