Short Playoffs For Pens Means New Opportunity For Crosby
The Pittsburgh Penguins finished off a disappointing season by getting bounced by the New York Rangers in 5 games in their quarter final series. They limped into the playoffs winning 3 of their final 15 games (3-10-2), and barely held on to earn the second wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference with 98 points. While Sidney Crosby looked visibly frustrated with his teammates at a number of points in these playoffs, he’ll have a new opportunity during these Stanley Cup playoffs despite missing out on a chance at hockey’s ultimate prize.
Sidney Crosby going to the World Championships… That’s why we love that kid #4theloveofthegame
— Jermain Franklin (@TSNJFranklin) April 26, 2015
Crosby announced that he will head to Czech Republic to play for Team Canada at the IIHF World Hockey Championships. The tournament will be held in the cities of Prague and Ostrava, running from May 1-17.
The chance to play here means Crosby could be the next member of the triple gold club. He captained Pittsburgh to the Stanley Cup in 2009, scored the unforgettable golden goal to clinch Olympic gold for Canada in 2010, and further captained Team Canada to another Olympic gold medal at Sochi last year. Adding a gold medal at the Worlds to reach triple gold would be an impressive accolade to add to a long list of achievements on Crosby’s career resume.
No Longer Sid the Kid at Worlds
During Crosby’s ten year career in Pittsburgh, the Penguins have only missed the playoffs once – in his rookie season (2005-06). This was the last time he played in the World Hockey Championship. Though losing to Finland in the bronze medal game, Crosby led the tournament with 8 goals and 16 points in 9 games as an 18 year old. He was named best forward and became the youngest player to lead the tournament in scoring.
Ten years later and Crosby has a chance to etch his name on another page in the record books and join the triple gold club. Of the 25 members in this group that reign from four different countries, the list of Canadians is pretty impressive: Rob Blake, Joe Sakic, Brendan Shanahan, Scott Neidermayer, Eric Staal, Jonathan Toews and Patrice Bergeron.
Canada Once Again Gold Hopefuls
Team Canada hasn’t won gold at the tournament since 2007, and haven’t had a podium finish since 2009. But head coach Todd McLellan should have a lot of options on this year’s team – Crosby committing to play adds to a roster that includes the likes of Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, Claude Giroux, Jordan Eberle, Nathan MacKinnon, and Matt Duchene among other notable players.
Crosby at least likes Canada’s chances at the tournament this year.
And the Penguins’ captain clearly isn’t satisfied with his team’s less than impressive conclusion to this season.
Crosby’s choice to commit to play for Team Canada only days before the tournament begins and fly halfway across the world shows his commitment to winning. Crosby will be a late addition for Canada, at a time when teams in the tournament essentially have their rosters set in stone. But for Crosby, it’s the earliest he could’ve made the decision – the tournament will begin only 7 days after Rangers’ forward Carl Hagelin scored in overtime in game 5 to officially end a season which, morally, was long over for Pittsburgh.
So following a disappointing end to his team’s NHL season, and with a chance to help his new group of guys earn a medal at the Worlds, it’s fair to say Sid the Superstar should have some extra motivation. And with a chance for Crosby to earn triple gold status, coming home from Czech Republic with a piece of gold hardware would mean that much more.
Canucks contributor for The Hockey Writers. Maple Ridge, BC native. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or @ColtonnDavies on Twitter.