Sidney Crosby named Team Canada captain
Mike Brehm, USA TODAY Sports
Sidney Crosby scored the overtime goal that lifted Canada to an Olympic gold medal win in Vancouver.
Now, he'll be leading Team Canada in its title defense at the Sochi Games.
Hockey Canada announced on Sunday that the Pittsburgh Penguins captain will be captain of the Canadian men's hockey team in Russia. Anaheim Ducks defenseman Scott Niedermayer was captain of the 2010 team but has retired.
Crosby leads the NHL in scoring with 68 points, 10 ahead of fellow Team Canada members Ryan Getzlaf (Ducks) and John Tavares (New York Islanders).
Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber were named alternate captains.
"Sidney, Jonathan and Shea have been leaders on the international stage in the past, as well as with their NHL teams," said men's hockey coach Mike Babcock. "These three players will be at the forefront of our efforts in Sochi, but we are confident we have 25 players on our roster that will lead in their own way and allow our team to be successful."
Also Sunday, three-time gold medalist Caroline Ouellette was named captain of Canada's women's hockey team. Hayley Wickenheiser will be one alternate and Jayna Hefford and Catherine Ward will rotate as alternates.
Crosby is the fifth NHL player to be named Olympic team captain. He joins Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk (Russia), Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg (Sweden), Montreal Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec (Czech Republic) and Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (Slovakia).
The USA is expected to name its captain closer to the Olympics.
Crosby at Top of His Game on the Way to Sochi
PITTSBURGH — The gold medal, the one that electrified a country and cemented Sidney Crosby as part of Canadian hockey royalty, is “tucked away” somewhere out of sight and — Crosby insists — out of mind.
No need to have it displayed on the mantle or a coffee table. No wearing it around the house on a rainy day.
He has taken it out once or twice upon request, but Crosby does not sit around holding it in his hand.
Sure, it was a “nice moment” — Crosby’s phrase when asked to describe his golden goal 7 minutes 40 seconds into overtime in the final against the United States — but it was just that, a moment.
“I’ve kind of moved on,” Crosby said.
Fate did not give him much choice.
Crosby’s glove-flinging celebration in the corner of Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, as Canadian flags draped the stands in a sea of red and white capped his rise from Sid the Kid to Sid the Savior. His wrist shot past goaltender Ryan Miller provided a fitting bookend to Crosby’s triumphant hoisting of the Stanley Cup eight months earlier, when as the youngest captain in N.H.L. history, Crosby led the Penguins to their first title in 17 years.
Four years later, not much has changed.
Crosby, 26, remains one of the top players in the world. He is the N.H.L.’s leading scorer for one of the league’s premier franchises and is the unquestioned face of the Canadian team as it looks to defend its gold medal next month in Sochi, Russia.
Off the ice, he remains the ever-polite, ever-humble son of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, the one who refuses to be caught up in the hype.
It all looks so normal these days, it is easy to forget how close Crosby came to nearly losing it all. The launching pad Vancouver was supposed to provide for Crosby’s evolution from superstar to icon instead turned into a cautionary tale.
Less than a year removed from his golden goal, Crosby’s career was at a crossroad.
Concussionlike symptoms sustained in a loss to Washington in the N.H.L.’s Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2011, turned him into a reluctant touchstone for head injuries. As weeks turned into months and 2011 turned into 2012 and the symptoms persisted, Crosby was forced to watch the game go on without him.
He missed two years in his prime, playing 28 games in 744 days from Jan. 5, 2011, to Jan. 19 2013, a bystander of sorts as his teammate Evgeni Malkin, Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin tried to wrest Crosby’s unofficial title as the game’s best player.
That seems a long time ago. The questions that lingered when Crosby declared himself symptom free at the end of the N.H.L. lockout last January have vanished. He is one of the few Penguins players who have remained healthy this season as injuries have cost nearly a dozen regulars — including Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang — significant playing time.
The Crosby who will wear No. 87 in Russia looks an awful lot like the one who dashed to glory in Vancouver, only wiser and perhaps more comfortable in his own skin. More consistent, too.
After being chastised by Coach Dan Bylsma for perhaps being too unselfish at times, Crosby is one hot streak from threatening the career-high 51 goals he put up in 2009-10 while averaging a career-high 22 minutes of ice time.
There is certainly a sense of ease about Crosby that did not necessarily exist earlier in his career. When he steps into the dressing room for the team’s first practice next month, he is aware that the eyes will drift toward him for leadership. It will not be Vancouver, but that does not mean the quest for gold is any less meaningful.
“If you have a record time in the Olympics prior to this one, you’re not settling for that time this time around,” he said. “You want to do better.”
And last he checked, two gold medals were better than one. Ask Crosby if his house has room for another Olympic medal, and he just nods.
“Yeah, 100 percent,” he said with a laugh, “100 percent.”
Reactions? I would've been happy with either one tbh. Now we know which one has the most insulated butt hehehe.