Sidney Crosby joining Team Canada at the 2015 IIHF World Championships
Canada's Sidney Crosby (R), Jeff Carter (2nd from R), P.K. Subban, (3rd from R) , goalie Mike Smith (L), Chris Kunitz (2nd from L) and Drew Doughty pose during the medal presentation ceremony after their team defeated Sweden in the men's ice hockey final game at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, February 23, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young
VIENNA, Austria – He used to be Sid The Kid.
When he arrives here today, it’ll be different.
It’ll be Sid & The Kids.
Todd McLellan’s Team Canada to the IIHF World Championships in Prague May 1-17 was on the ice at Albert Schultz Halle, the home of the Vienna Capitals of Eishockeymannschaft, the Austrian Elite League, late Sunday afternoon on player arrival day when Scott Salmond of Hockey Canada tapped your correspondent on the shoulder and slid me the Sid scoop.
Other than Matt Duchene and Taylor Hall, none of the players had reason to believe the captain of Canada’s gold medal winning team at the Sochi 2014 Olympics and scorer of the Golden Goal in overtime at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, might head here.
Duchesne had talked to Crosby just before he left.
“He and I are pretty good friends. We train together in the summer. I was talking to him before I left and he said he was willing to come over,” said Duchesne.
“Pretty cool for him. Pretty cool for all of us.
“I’d assume his mentality coming over is that he wants to put another piece of hardware on his wall,” he said of the Pittsburgh Penguin captain who played in his only world championship in 2006, leading the tournament in scoring and winning top forward honours. In addition to the two Olympic gold medals, Crosby won gold and silver at the World Junior.
Canada has gone six years without winning a medal at the event.
“We had a hell of a team as it is,” said Duchesne.
“This is my fourth team I’ve played for at the world championship and this is the best one on paper. And it just got better,” added the Colorado Avalanche centre.
“For what I’ve heard, he’s a world class leader as well and he brings so much skill and experience to our team,” said Edmonton’s Taylor Hall.
“I had a clue when I landed today. I was talking to David Perron in Pittsburgh and he said Sidney might be coming over,” said Hall, who like Duchesne didn’t share it with anyone until he knew for sure.
“It’s real exciting for everyone involved any everyone in Canada. He’s such a great player and symbol of hockey in Canada. It’ll be great to see him play.”
Every eight years, it seems, Canada turns over the Olympic and/or World Cup of Hockey team to a new era of young talent, and that very much seems to be the case with this team that opened up a mini training camp prior to a Wednesday game against Austria here.
But Crosby, the leader and star of the back-to-back Olympic gold medal team made a significant statement about himself and his plan to keep carrying Canada’s flag.
“Sid was real aggressive, he wanted to let the people over here know he’d like to participate,” said coach Todd McLellan.
“I was asked about it. Short discussion. Of course we want Sidney Crosby. Why wouldn’t we? He’ll get over here, likely Monday, and I know when we mention it to the group everybody will be excited. He’s one of the best players if not THE best player in the world.”
If was fun to be able to break the news to some of the players such as Philadelphia Flyers Claude Giroux, when they came off the ice, not to mention Vienna Capitals manager Satorina Martin.
“We’re sold out,” he said when I informed him of the news. “We’re going to have to get all the tickets back and charge them double.”
For Edmonton Oilers Jordan Eberle, having Crosby join the team may have cost him the chance to be Captain Canada. And he’s thrilled.
“I’ve never had the chance to play with him before although I met him at the Olympic camp,” said Eberle.
“Having Sydney Crosby here gives us a better chance to win,” added the Edmonton Oiler at his fifth Worlds without a medal to show for it.
“He’s won everywhere he’s gone. He’s a world-class player. I think he makes us a lot better.”
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