Beyond the Headlines

Will Sidney Crosby be a Penguin forever?

Posted: Jul 3, 2012 11:58 AM ET Last Updated: Jul 3, 2012 11:58 AM ET
Sidney Crosby began his NHL career with the Pittsburgh Penguins and according to his agent he wants to end his career there.
"Emotionally, he's extremely attached to the fans and the city of Pittsburgh and the organization," said Pat Brisson after the NHL's marquee player signed a 12 year, $104.4 million US contract extension.
"Sidney wanted to be a Penguin forever," said Brisson.
Signing a 12 year contract at the age of 24 certainly makes Crosby's, and the Penguins' intentions clear, but we all know what happens to good intentions.
Every couple who stands at the altar and utters those infamous words "until death do us part" really, really do mean it at the time, but one look at our divorce rates tells us few actually make it that far.
The world of sports relationships is no different, and it doesn't matter how big a star you are.
Remember Wayne Gretzky? Of course, you do.
The Great One was supposed to be an Edmonton Oiler for life. But after 9 years, and four Stanley Cups, the Oilers traded Gretzky to Los Angeles for a couple of players and a truckload of cash simply because the team's owner, Peter Pocklington, needed the money.
Babe Ruth was the biggest star in baseball when, in 1919, the Boston Red Sox shocked everyone by trading him to the New York Yankees, despite the fact Ruth helped lead the BoSox to three World Series titles over five years (Boston didn't win another World Series until 2004). Again, the team's owner needed the money.
Then there's Roberto Luongo. In 2009, Luongo signed his own 12 year contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks. After signing his "contract for life", Luongo said, "if you're happy where you are and you're comfortable there, and you think you have a team to win with, why would you go somewhere else?"
Now, just three years later, the love affair between the Canucks, their fans and Luongo has soured. His failure to deliver a Stanley Cup, and the stellar play of his former back -up has everyone, including Luongo, fully expecting to see him in another team's uniform in a matter of weeks.
Sports is a business, and when circumstances change, or a player fails to deliver, or is challenged by that new young phenom, teams and players always seem to find a way to get out of those long term contracts and no-trade clauses.
With Sidney Crosby there's the added uncertainty of his health. We all hope Crosby remains concussion free for years, but hockey is a tough game and injuries make it extremely difficult for players to compete at an elite level, year after year.
Crosby may fulfill his dream to be a Penguin for life. But history tells us there's a good chance he won't.

But one thing is certain. Crosby will always be a Nova Scotian.
No matter what happens in Pittsburgh, we'll always have those bragging rights.

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About the Author

Brian DuBreuil is a veteran journalist with CBC News. He has won two Gemini awards for his work, and neither involved dancing or singing on a reality show.

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