Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Genius of Maxime Talbot

Sid, is that you?

Verifying the tag I use whenever I talk about Maxime Talbot (who's ankle injury is almost ready to let him rejoin the lineup), here's a great story about a prank he pulled over on the Toronto fans during yesterday's pre-game skate.

This is seriously good stuff!

Penguins center Maxime Talbot has made himself into a pretty fair hockey player, but nobody ever has mistaken him for Sidney Crosby.

Not until yesterday, anyway.

The morning skates preceding the Penguins' game against Toronto at the Air Canada Centre last night were open to the public -- fans were charged $6.50 each, with the money going to charity -- and the arena was at least half-full.

Unfortunately for those who showed up to watch the Penguins-- specifically, Crosby -- only four of their players went on the ice: Goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Dany Sabourin, right winger Mark Recchi and someone wearing Crosby's No. 87 game sweater.

Based on the crowd reaction, few, if any, of the fans realized immediately that it was Talbot wearing that sweater. (Most were understandably unaware that practice sweaters usually do not have numbers, let alone a captain's "C.")

Talbot absorbed the adulation for a bit-- "It was pretty loud, eh?" he said -- before leaving the ice and returning in a regular practice sweater. He subsequently (and not all that convincingly) blamed Fleury for persuading him to masquerade as Crosby.

"Fleury's a prankster, a jokester," Talbot said. "He gave me the idea. ... He pushed me. The pressure was on me."

Fleury stunned absolutely no one by professing his innocence.

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