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Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby shares incredible insight into his historic rookie season

Erica Commisso
Sidney Crosby
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

When Sidney Crosby entered the National Hockey League in the 2005-06 season, the hype was almost unprecedented. The Atlantic Canadian forward immediately drew comparisons to the league’s greatest player, Wayne Gretzky, and became the youngest captain in NHL history, only eclipsed later by Gabriel Landeskog and Connor McDavid).

As the future Hall of Famer prepares for his 18th season in the NHL, he is reflecting on the path that helped shape his legendary career with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The first season served as the first step toward breaking records and winning multiple Stanley Cups, as well as playing for Team Canada on an international level.

  • Sidney Crosby rookie season stats: 102 points, 63 assists, 39 goals, 16 power-play goals

In partnership with Audible, Crosby released The Rookie Year, a snapshot into his life in his own words.

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Narrated by Pittsburgh native and Penguins fan Joe Manganiello, Crosby talks candidly about growing up with the game, playing alongside his childhood idol Mario Lemieux and the pressure of a struggling team placed on his shoulders when he was just 18. He enlists the help of his family, coaches and former teammates, offering listeners an inside look at his rookie season, one of the most scrutinized and tumultuous in professional hockey’s history.

A native of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia (the same town as Nathan MacKinnon), Crosby has always taken his role in the community seriously, this time using his Audible partnership to connect with hockey fans across Canada and the United States. He shares his honest, unfiltered takes on the stress and hardships he endured in his rookie season, but also shares the effort it took him to make it to the NHL, and offers insight into his ‘rivalry’ with Alex Ovechkin.

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Called an audio documentary, Crosby’s The Rookie Year sheds a light on his entire legendary career to date, from his selection as the first overall draft pick in 2005 to stepping onto the NHL ice for the first time to winning the Stanley Cup. Dubbed ‘Sid the Kid,’ Crosby has been an integral part of the Pens’ rise to prominence and the club’s multiple Stanley Cup wins since he was dubbed captain.

In the few weeks since its release (conveniently, just as hockey season starts up again), mostly positive reviews have been poured onto the Audible site. “If you have ever watched a hockey game, or had a favorite player this is a must-listen,” wrote one listener. “Gave me chills and an eye opener for the behind-the-scenes of the NHL.”

Of course, Crosby is one of the most beloved players in the league, so mostly positive reviews were to be expected. Some are even asking for a similar style of audio documentary to chronicle other players, from Pavel Datsyuk to Alex Ovechkin.

But, the very thing that many are praising Crosby for is also receiving some criticism, with listeners complaining that he avoids conflict, does not get into trouble and is gentlemanly, making the story repetitive and, as one user put it, an advertisement for Crosby. Some people felt he glossed over some criticisms and chose to only focus on the positives. Other former players, like Sean Avery, have been in the media space talking about their antics, which were (and are) far more public and far less gentlemanly than Crosby’s NHL experience, making some feel like Crosby is the league’s poster boy.

  • Sidney Crosby career stats: 1,409 points, 892 assists, 517 goals, 153 power-play goals

The entire audio documentary is roughly a four-hour listen, with tidbits from Lemieux himself as well as former teammate Colby Armstrong, among others. There’s also historical information about Pittsburgh at the time of Crosby’s rookie season and the Pens themselves, alongside Crosby’s personal anecdotes. It is currently available on Audible.

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