By Devin Pratt
Hockey diehards can’t wait for Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin to face off this Monday in the nation’s capital. With all the hype leading up to the game you would think these hockey prodigies would be feeling the pressure. Not a chance. In fact, a laid back Crosby sat down with FHM to talk about crashing with Mario Lemieux, destroying household appliances, and sexy Hollywood starlets.
Is this meeting with Alex Ovechkin starting to feel like a Stanley Cup Final?
No. I think each time it gets built up so much—and good opponents do motivate you to play your best—but at the end of the night both teams are playing for the win.
Does all the attention surrounding this game get your adrenaline flowing?
It does motivate you to bring out your best. I don’t think it puts any added pressure on us, as a team, though. I’ve been in similar situations before and I try to use those past situations to prepare for games like these. You have to go out there and play a certain way and hope good things happen.
Why do you think younger players are getting more opportunities nowadays. Is the skill level that much better today?
Today’s game is more of a speed game and because of that younger guys don’t have to be as physically strong as they used to. There’s such an emphasis on making it into the NHL that juniors are being molded to play a certain way. The lockout also gave a lot of younger guys the opportunity to get that extra year in before they came to the NHL.
Speaking of young, you, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal are all under 21. What do you guys do for fun when you go out?
It seems like we don’t get a lot of free time but when we do, we usually go to the movies or watch football, especially the Steelers—it was amazing to be in Pittsburgh during their Super Bowl run last season. But aside from sports and movies, there are a few people who let us into places that we normally wouldn’t be able to get into—as long as we don’t make too much of a scene while we’re there.
If there were one person you could meet outside of hockey, who would it be?
Tiger Woods. I’m not a huge fan of golf, but when I watch him I can tell he’s such a competitor and an incredible athlete.
Didn’t you live with Mario Lemieux during your first season in Pittsburgh?
I’m still living there! Mario offered to let me stay with his family last year. He knew I was 18 and had so much going on, both on and off the ice, he thought it would be a good idea if I crashed with him for awhile. It’s been a great experience. He has four kids, so it’s always a busy household but it’s great to get away from the rink and have something else on your mind other than hockey.
So do you and Mario hang out when you have free time?
A lot of times we spend Sundays just watching football. He’s a regular guy, but he really is a class act. It’s been an incredible opportunity for me to just be around him and learn from him—he’s such a great guy.
Is it true that when you were younger you used to practice your shot on your mother’s dryer?
Not exactly. When I was younger, I had a net set up in the laundry room at my parents’ house. Behind the net there was the washer and dryer. I missed the net a lot over the years, so the dryer ended up getting hit all the time. That dryer took some real abuse. The first couple of times I hit it I would hear my mom yell from the other room, “What was that?” After seeing a thousand black marks on it she figured out what was going on.
You’re a superstitious person.
Yes. I always put my equipment on my right hand first. And once I tape my stick, nobody can touch it or I have to re-tape it. I always believe if you take care of your equipment, it’ll hopefully take care of you.
FHM‘s annual poll to determine the sexiest woman in the world is coming up. Who do you think should top that list?
I really like Eva Mendes—she’s got my vote!