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Sidney Crosby, the Penguins captain, a one time MVP, scoring champion and Stanley Cup champion, can now add part owner of the New York Islanders to his already impressive resume.
Crosby, 25, is the NHL's youngest co-owner and the only one currently playing in the league. His ownership of a division rival is highly unusual and a first in North American sports. The Penguins star signed a letter of intent to control the Islanders upon his entering the league in 2005 and after compiling 73 points (on 20 goals and 33 assists) in 39 games against them, the NHL approved the unique transaction for one of its marquee names.
Sunday night's five-assist performance against the Islanders was Crosby's final down payment and completed his takeover of the franchise.
"Sidney Crosby is the exact type of owner we need in this league," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement issued from Crosby's hot tub in suburban Pittsburgh. "He brings the heart, determination, financial stability and once-in-a-lifetime playing skills that we wish all owners would have.
"The Islanders are obviously in good hands with Sidney. In fact, his hands are so good, he's expected to earn two more assists against them when New York plays Tampa Bay on Thursday."
The exact amount of Crosby's stake in the Islanders is unknown, but it is believed to be anywhere between the "sorta" and "totally" ranges.
The NHL's Board of Governors is expected to approve the purchase sometime next week in a meeting that will also be used to determine what gift they will be giving Crosby for his birthday this coming August. The NHL Officials Association is also expected to give its blessing soon, but may end up waiting for Crosby to complain to them first before they agree to give into his demands.
Crosby does not anticipate his ownership of the Islanders changing how he plays, especially against the team that is now, technically, his property.
"There are 29 other teams in this league and they all have good players," Crosby said at his introductory press conference. "Just because I own one lock, stock and barrel now won't change how I approach the game. I'm just always looking for ways to improve my game and increase my proprietorship of the Islanders by one more percentage point every time I play them."
Islanders players and coaches said they had no problem being owned by Crosby despite playing against Pittsburgh several times a year.
"Our focus is on being a consistent, hard working team," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said while ordering a new Penguins No. 87 jersey from the NHL's online store. "I'm sure Mr. Crosby will make a great owner. A dedicated, considerate, generous, talented, smart and devastatingly handsome owner. Make sure you tell him I said all those nice things about him. And feel free to add some more."
The only other active NHL player to own a team was another Pittsburgh star, Mario Lemieux. Lemieux formally bought the Penguins out of bankruptcy in 1999 and continued to play for them until 2006. Hockey historians believe that Lemieux may have also owned the New Jersey Devils for a brief time in the late 1980's.
A statue of Crosby holding all of the Islanders' players on his back like Atlas is expected to erected outside the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh before the start of next season.
This is a parody. Although Crosby's "ownership" of the Islanders is very, very real.