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Penguin's Crosby makes return visit to long-time fan

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Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009

Alice Kilgore shrieked when Sidney Crosby strolled into her living room, the Penguins captain wearing his black No. 87 sweater while making a special delivery to the season-ticket holder.

"You were right, eh?" Crosby said. "We've got something for you, too, a little extra since you called it."

That something little extra• The Stanley Cup.

"I'm afraid," Crosby added, "to ask for your prediction."

Two years ago, when Crosby delivered tickets to Kilgore's yellow-brick ranch house on Hiwood Drive in the Sleepy Hollow section of Castle Shannon, she was brutally honest when asked if the Penguins would win the Stanley Cup.

"I don't think you'll win the Cup this year," Kilgore told Crosby, patting him on the shoulder. "Not yet. Maybe next year."

While Crosby admitted that he "wasn't happy at all," he gave her credit for being right on the money: The Penguins lost to the Detroit Red Wings in six games in the 2008 Stanley Cup Final, but returned to defeat the defending champions in seven games in a Final rematch and win the Cup for the third time in franchise history.

"If she keeps predicting good things like that," Crosby said, "we'll be here every year delivering tickets."

A season-ticket holder since 1971-72, Kilgore was the recipient of a marketing promotion designed for Penguins players to interact with fans. Crosby and Evgeni Malkin made Labor Day deliveries before traveling to New York City for an NHL promotion tour.

Ten other Penguins players will deliver season tickets to fans today.

Kilgore's comments caused such commotion that it was only natural for a return engagement, one for which she was an unsuspecting participant. The Penguins had called in advance to assure she would be home, but did not explain the reason for the visit. With cameras and reporters crowding her living room, she waited with eager anticipation for the surprise.

"My heart's still pounding," Kilgore said. "It's more exciting than it was the last time."

Crosby's arrival brightened an otherwise dreary day. Neighbors gathered outside under umbrellas to shield the steady rain, one woman holding an infant wrapped in a blanket.

When Crosby pulled up in his Range Rover at 12:57 p.m., Judy Metzler looked outside her window and recognized the familiar face. She pulled on her Penguins No. 87 sweater, which Crosby would later autograph on the back, and took pictures with the Cup.

"It's brought so much excitement to our neighborhood," said Metzler, who lives directly across the street. "It's nice being out here, sharing in the fun. It brings camaraderie to the neighborhood and more enthusiasm for the Penguins, if there could be more."

When Crosby unveiled the Stanley Cup, Kilgore was thrilled.

"Can I kiss it?" she asked excitedly. "Can I kiss you?"

Crosby blushed as she planted one on his check.

Kilgore kept firing questions, filling the room with laughter.

"Are you available• Do you have a girlfriend• Do you like older women?"

Crosby was quick with his own one-line retort.

"You've got a pool out back, I see," Crosby said, a reference to the Cup ending up at the bottom of the swimming pool at former captain and current co-owner Mario Lemieux's home.

Struggling to lift the 35-pound Cup, Kilgore posed for photographs instead and enjoyed another encounter with Crosby. This time, she stayed away from forecasting and offered a motivational speech, suggesting the Penguins talk not about winning the Cup again - until after they've won it a second consecutive year.

"I'm just a hockey fan," Kilgore said. "I had a lucky guess."




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