JACKSON HOLE, WYO – A select few hockey fans who were lucky enough to be in the know were treated to a dazzling sight this morning at the Snow King Sports and Event Center. There, on the same sheet of ice played on by every local boy and girl from the Moose to Midgets, was the one and only Sidney Crosby.
The Pittsburgh Penguin standout is in town while the NHL enjoys a few days off for the All-Star break. Crosby is reportedly with teammate goalie Matt Murray, who is getting professional photos taken while in Jackson. He graciously accepted an invitation to run through a few drills with Jackson Hole Moose players this morning for about an hour at 9am.
A former Moose player and huge Penguins fan, Dustin Stolp skated with the Kid and emerged sufficiently awed.
He’s the nicest guy you’ll ever want to meet. Just a regular guy like anyone you would meet in Pittsburgh,” Stolp told Buckrail.
Yeah, yeah, but what about his skills? You just skated with the arguably the greatest hockey player in the world right now, passing him the puck, watching him do something he gets paid millions of dollars to do professionally. Mind blown?
“Well, you don’t get to do that every day. It’s a dream come true for me,” Stolp admitted. “His power and speed; the way he opens up for a shot from anywhere, and can take even the worst pass and have it on his stick. And that laser shot. You can’t even see it with the naked eye. You just hear it ring off the post.”
Moose goaltender Nick Krauss was another guy who will have a story to tell the grandkids. In practice, Krauss regularly sees some pretty good shots from Moose players like AJ Sanders, Tom Hartnett, Dan Dupont (all of whom were also on the ice with Crosby this morning) but staring down a player widely regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time? That’s a whole ‘nother thing.
Krauss held his own, making some difficult saves off #87 including one early that hit him in the mask (for which Sid apologized). But Crosby wowed the crowd of about 100 or so with a few shots that were very much indicative of the elite-level skill that has made him a top scorer since he was drafted No. 1 overall in 2005.
Crosby stayed after and signed autographs for those in attendance including several young hockey players who couldn’t resist playing hooky to see the hockey legend live and in person.
*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story referred to Matt Murray’s photos as being ‘engagement’ photos. This was news to Murray, his girlfriend, and thousands of Pittsburgh Penguins fans who read it. We were contacted by a spokesperson for the Penguins’ organization who confirmed Mr. Murray has not made any such announcement at this time. We apologize for the error.
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