Why Penguins’ Sullivan believes Crosby could easily transition into coaching

Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan joins HC to discuss how much of a pleasure it is to have Sidney Crosby on his team, and why he thinks he'd make an excellent future NHL head coach.

Fresh off a 2018-19 campaign that netted a Hart Trophy nomination at age 31, Sidney Crosby likely isn’t anywhere near approaching the final years of his big-league career. But when he does eventually get there, his coach has a decent idea of where he might wind up.

Perhaps just a couple feet back of where he currently resides on the Penguins’ bench.

“I could see him staying involved in the game in some capacity, because he loves it so much, he has such a passion for it,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan told David Amber and the Sportsnet 590 Hockey Central crew Wednesday when asked if he could see No. 87 suiting up as a coach one day.

“If he wanted to be a coach, I think he would be a terrific coach because he’s such a student of the game. … It wouldn’t surprise me one bit when Sid’s done playing the game, somewhere down the line — and I don’t see that happening any time soon because he loves the game as much as he does — but I could for sure see him staying involved in the game in some capacity.”

Crosby’s mentor in Pittsburgh, Mario Lemieux, of course followed his playing career with a move to ownership in the late ’90s, becoming the first former NHL player to become majority owner of his former club.

Mike Sullivan can see Sidney Crosby become a terrific coach
March 18 2020

Given Sullivan’s experience alongside Crosby over the past handful of years — two of which brought back-to-back Stanley Cups to Pittsburgh — it’s clear to see why trading gear for a suit and tie wouldn’t be a surprising post-playing move for Cole Harbour’s favourite son.

“You know, Sid sets the standard here in Pittsburgh for our team on a daily basis, so I have the privilege to watch this — whether it be what he does in practice in trying to work on the different subtleties of his game so that he can be the best, or even what he does off the ice in the weight room and how he takes care of himself and he watches his nutrition,” Sullivan told the Hockey Central crew.

“He, for me, epitomizes an athlete that controls everything within his power to be his very best. So, when you have a guy like that on your team, and he’s the captain, and he’s the best player in the game, it certainly makes the coach’s job a whole lot easier as far as trying to set a certain level of accountability. But he’s fun to coach.

“I learn as much about the game from him as he does from us. I’m always fascinated by his insights, whether it be in some of our video meetings when we talk about the power play or when we pre-scout our opponents, trying to exploit what he sees out there. It’s always fascinating to have those conversations with him. He’s just really invested in all the different aspects of the game.”

Listen to Mike Sullivan’s full interview with Sportsnet 590’s Hockey Central via the audio player embedded within this post.

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