Even in deep freeze, Crosby's a special Kid

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:01 AM ET

One of the largest media gatherings to show up at The Bank this season was crowded around Sidney Crosby's stall, waiting for a word or two from The Kid, after yesterday's morning skate.

Finally, nudging his way through the group and plopping down on the hot seat, a ball cap pulled low over his eyes ..... was Colby Armstrong.

None of the shrewd reporters were fooled by the Pittsburgh winger's attempt to pass himself off as Crosby.

"It's the first time I've tried it," Armstrong, who would later score the Penguins' first goal of a game against the Senators, said of the prank. "It's better in Canada, because everybody here is so hot to get a piece of him."

When it comes to the game itself, few if any can, figures Bryan Murray.

"He's so powerful, when he gets his hip on you and starts to turn and pivot, or gets position on the defenceman, it's not easy now to take him off the puck," the Senators coach had said of Crosby just a few minutes earlier. "I don't think that there's a defenceman in the league right now that can handle him 1-on-1 when he gets position, simply because you can't put your stick on people like you could before.

"But he's become a real outstanding player, he's made huge strides this year alone, from the beginning of the year until now, and he's obviously a great character for our game. He's going to be worth the price of admission for the rest of his career."

And contrary to Armstrong's claim, not everybody is "hot" to get a piece of Crosby.

A little later, as the Penguins were loading their team bus by the arena's loading dock, a family was standing in the frigid weather, at the imaginary boundary line that marked the restricted area.

The parents and small kids, hoping to get a glimpse or more of Crosby, waved and held up their signs as he emerged from the building. Crosby motioned them to walk the hundred or so yards to where the bus was parked, but security wouldn't allow it.

So with water bottles in hands and no toque on his head, Crosby went to them. While others might have shrugged and waved as the bus pulled away, the NHL's leading scorer signed their jerseys and posed for their pictures.

"If people are going to stand outside in minus-42-degree weather to see me," he said. "Then I can sure go and see them."

As good as you may think this 19-year-old phenom is, you're probably wrong. Sid The Kid is even better.

STARTS AND STOPS: They can play it down until the cows come home, but after the limitations he had because of problems with that part of the body about this time last season -- and the ensuing off-season surgery -- Jason Spezza's missing last night's game with a sore back is reason for very much concern in the Senators organization ... Crosby's seat in the visitors' dressing room at Scotiabank Place is the same stall Wayne Gretzky sat in for his last game here. Coincidence?

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...: Chris Kelly's status for the game was up in the air because, at the previous day's practice, Bryan Murray said he "couldn't shoot the puck." Hours later, he could shoot it hard enough to beat Marc-Andre Fleury from 55 feet out ... Come to think of it, when was the last time you saw Kelly even take a slap shot?

BETWEEN PERIODS: An exceptionally done, end-of-month highlight package done by broadcaster Gord Wilson on the video scoreboard, "The Goodies" had the Ray Emery-Martin Biron bout at No. 1 when released last night. And you know what? The fans still went crazy, even though it was a two-week-old replay ... You don't want your goalie fighting, Senators fans. Not when he's your MVP. But you've got to admit, if Emery was a backup you'd love to see how he'd fare against Georges Laraque.

BOTTOM SHELF: It doesn't matter what Gary Roberts did or didn't do last night, the Senators still blew it by not trading for him. The guy commands respect just by walking into a room ... Chris Neil has an interesting design on the left side of his face, courtesy of a skate worn by Chicago defenceman Duncan Keith. Did the accidental clip in Sunday's game give Neil cause to consider a visor? "Be serious," he said ... Jordan Staal has one less goal this season (27) than he finished with last year as a member of the Peterborough Petes. Not bad, considering he could still be playing in the OHL. "Maybe I should have had a bet with him," Staal told The Team 1200's Dave Schreiber, who pointed out that his brother, Carolina's Eric Staal, has 26 goals to this point. "Except I didn't really think I'd be here right now."


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