Stephen Whyno - The Canadian Press
Sidney Crosby has been named Canada’s captain for next month’s Sochi Olympics.
© THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby takes part in the pre-game skate before an NHL hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday.
Crosby, who scored the gold-medal-winning overtime goal against the United States in Vancouver four years ago, was the natural choice this time around. In addition to leading the NHL in scoring, he’s the face of the league and hockey in Canada.
Jonathan Toews and Shea Weber were named alternate captains, Hockey Canada announced Sunday morning.
There will be no shortage of leadership in Sochi, but it starts with Crosby, who in August called this possibility “an honour.”
“We all want to be on this team and lead by example when we need to, but it’s an honour to be a captain on any team,” he said at Olympic orientation camp in Calgary.
Crosby was made the youngest captain in NHL history when he got the “C” for the Pittsburgh Penguins six and a half years ago. In 2009 he raised the Stanley Cup as captain.
At the 2010 Olympics, Crosby was an alternate along with defenceman Chris Pronger and winger Jarome Iginla. Veteran defenceman Scott Niedermayer captained that team and said before his Hockey Hall of Fame induction in November that he had no doubt Crosby is ready to assume that role.
“He’s very mature,” Niedermayer said. “He was probably ready when he was 16. He was probably ready in 2010, and the thinking was he’s going to have enough pressure on him just from who he is and things like that that he doesn’t need one more thing to worry about, give it to some old guy that’s just trying to figure things out out there. I’m sure he would do very well.”
Toews seemed like the only other logical option, based on performing in 2010 and leading the Chicago Blackhawks to two Stanley Cups. Last week he acknowledged the possibility of being named captain.
“I’m ready for any role,” Toews said in Montreal. “Last time, I played five, six, maybe seven minutes at the start of the tournament in Vancouver. By the end of it, the coaches had more confidence in me. They put me in more defensive situations. This time around won’t be different. Whether I’m captain — or not — whatever. I’m going to Russia to win a gold medal like everyone else.”
This will be the second Olympics for most of the core, including the leadership group.
“Honestly, it doesn’t get old,” Crosby said in Vancouver of just making the team. “That feeling doesn’t get old. The appreciation and being proud to represent your country, it’s the same for everybody.”
Russia already named Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings as captain. It’s Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins for Slovakia and Tomas Plekanec of the Montreal Canadiens for the Czech Republic.
The United States has yet to name its captain, though general manager David Poile singled out Ryan Suter, Zach Parise, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan and David Backes as the U.S. leadership group.
— With files from Kelsey Patterson in Montreal and Josh Clipperton in Vancouver.
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