Sidney Crosby rewards relentless heckler with autographed stick
Sidney Crosby was voted the third-toughest Canadian behind Celine Dion and Avril Lavigne — at least, according to a New York Rangers fan.
That’s just one of the many chirps that earned Nick Lipeika a signed stick by the Pittsburgh Penguins captain after a recent game at Madison Square Arena in New York City.
Michael Gross, a Rangers season-ticket holder, was sitting next to the penalty box and a couple of seats over from Lipeika and his buddies.
“The two of us were talking beforehand that we were going to get in the heads of someone,” Gross said in an interview Jan. 4.
So when Crosby drew a tripping penalty early in the first period, the Rangers fans went to town.
“As soon as he sat down, I kind of leaned into the crack of the glass and I said, ‘Hey Sid, Pierre doesn’t want you to have fun out there,’” recalled Gross.
The Cole Harbour native laughed and sprayed the glass with his water bottle.
“From that point it was like: all right he’s having fun, so we’re going to have fun,” the lifelong Rangers fan said.
Lipeika started heckling Crosby, with lines like, “When Gatorade wanted a tough guy, Justin Bieber turned them down, so they settled for you.”
“But nothing mean, nothing you couldn’t say in front of your kids,” said Gross. “Just good quality stuff.”
The chirps continued for most of the game, but as Pittsburgh kept putting them past Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers fans lost steam. Crosby’s team ended up with the 7-2 win.
Near the end of the game, the Pittsburgh captain handed his stick to the trainer, but Gross said the guys didn’t think anything of it.
“But then the trainer’s walking over with a signed stick at the end of the game and he hands it over to the two of us and his buddies,” said Gross.
“Good chirps. Take it easy on me next time!” read the stick signed by Crosby.
“I grabbed it and handed it to (Lipeika) and go, ‘Here you go man, well earned,’” he said.
Gross said the event changed his perspective on the Pittsburgh captain.
“I’m a lifelong Rangers fan, so I was like tortured as a kid with the Penguins winning all those games and then all of a sudden Crosby’s coming up and winning all those Cups, scoring all those goals against us,” Gross said. “You’re going to hate the guy. You can’t help it.”
“But this shows the kind of dude he is, which is something I didn’t appreciate before, but I do now,” he said.
Sidney Crosby autographed a stick for a New York Rangers fan who chirped him during a recent game in New York.