Crosby on hold

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

Will Sidney Crosby's future take him from Rimouski to Helsinki?

Such a trans-Atlantic journey could well be in the cards for the teenage superstar this fall if the 2005 NHL entry draft is cancelled because of the ugly collective bargaining war between players and owners.

Crosby easily would be the slam dunk pick to go first overall in the NHL's annual draft of young talent if it is, in fact, held.

But even Pat Brisson, Crosby's agent, is uncertain that the event, scheduled for June 25 in Ottawa, will take place.

"Sidney? Who knows? There's no answers and no CBA," Brisson said yesterday. "There's a lottery and so many things up in the air. We hear so many different things.

"All I'm looking for is for him to finish the season on a high, have fun, develop and try not to be distracted by this. Thank God he's in Rimouski and doesn't have to face these questions all the time."

Heading overseas to start his professional career is something Crosby would consider, Brisson said.

"He'd like to have a normal draft, but he doesn't mention it much. The team is doing well and hasn't lost in 20 games. He is focused on his team finishing first.

"Europe is an option, no doubt, if there is no season, but we just have look at what's right for him. He is 17 and we're looking at all our options from a legal standpoint. You can't stop an 18-year-old from earning a living, especially a kid such as Sidney Crosby. He is leading the (Quebec Major Junior League) in scoring by 41 points so we all know he's ready for the next step."

Asked what advice he would give for those kids eligible for the '05 draft, agent Mark Gandler did not mince any words.

"Tell them to keep their pants on ... What they need to do is practise, practise, practise, take care of their bodies and think about the future, because an agreement will be made at some point and they'll need to play," Gandler said.

Anton Thun, who represents Maple Leafs defenceman Ken Klee, said the players who could find themselves in limbo are those who were drafted two years ago and remain unsigned.

Under terms of the previous CBA, those players must be inked by June 1 or be thrown back into the draft. But what if there is no draft to go back into?


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