There has been no real interesting ‘Leaf news lately, so I thought I'd delve into the not so distant past and post a piece I had written immediately following the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. My argument here is that scoring the Golden goal solidified Sidney Crosby as the best hockey player in the world... well read for yourself:
Well the Olympic Games have come to an end and with a bang at that. Seventeen days of athletic achievement were wrapped up with the men's hockey final. The gold medal game on Sunday surpassed expectations, and left the city of Vancouver (and the nation) on a high note. After 59 minutes of solid play from both sides, the score was 2-1 in favor of Canada. Ron Wilson's American squad received their most important goal of the tournament when Zach Parise scored with a mere twenty fours seconds remaining in the game which sent it into overtime. Although nervous and disgruntled, the Canadian fans would soon be treated to a story-book ending courtesy of the country's golden boy; Sidney Crosby.
From the beginning of his junior campaign, the boy from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, was destined for greatness. The nation was quite aware of his skill, as the media touted the teen, the "Next-One", a comparison referring to the previous "One", the "Great One", Wayne Gretzky. The pressure did not seem to faze Sid, as he only continued to excel in the game until being selected number one overall in the 2005 entry draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. With the resurrection of the franchise underway, Crosby set his sights for the Stanley Cup. He achieved his dream, leading his Penguin teammates to win the playoffs in 2009. With so much accomplishment at an early age, what was left? He answered us by getting Sunday's golden game winner in over-time, highlighting the prelude to his legacy.
Now let me clear up something that Nick Kypreos stated during an Olympic panel discussion last week. The former grinder and current Sportsnet analyst called out the Canadian fans for the overwhelming pressure Sidney was put under, stating, "He is not Wayne Gretzky!" This proclamation is very true, since it's hard to imagine anyone will reach the Great one's level... unless they can stack up 200 points in a single season. Although he might not be Wayne Gretzky, Crosby is however, the closest thing hockey fans will get to a "Great One" in a while. The face of Canadian hockey is the stand-up character and immense talent of "Sid the Kid" and just like 99 before him, Crosby will continue to be the ultimate star of his generation.
With so many young pros already making a name for themselves in the NHL, there is no doubt that there will continue to be superstars, but Sidney will remain above the rest. He will win more and become better. Don't believe me? Well consider the fact that he has this year, reached his highest goal total at 40, but remained in the top of league scoring all of his previous seasons. He is dynamic on the ice. He produces under pressure. He can score, set-up, and most recently Sid displayed a developed two-way presence in the Olympic tourney'. More proof has already been demonstrated:
-Exhibit A: Crosby has already accomplished all that his counter-parts' would hope for. The man has hardware. He owns an M.V.P title, and has lifted Lord Stanley's hardware (and could very well do it again soon).
-Exhibit B: He has received enormous praise outside of the National Hockey League as well. Praise which includes taking home a few Canadian athlete of the year awards beating out other greats in the sporting world such as Georges St.Pierre. We award him, and in turn, he rewards us with more records and statistical milestones.
-Exhibit C: He is only twenty-two years old! You can't possibly believe that he has done all he can. What else can he do? I guess we have to wait and see.
We will also continue to be seeing 87 on a number of brands and starring in boat-loads of commercials, as the corporate world has selected Crosby to be the perfect "billboard" for their products. This constant sponsorship and media coverage will mean that kids will grow up idolizing Sid and strive to be just like him. And now being a Canadian Olympic hero, the whole role-model thing just got a little more important. Since not all of us can remember 1972, when Paul Henderson scored for Canada in the Summit Series, Crosby's 2010 overtime goal has given us a "new era" equivalent.
While this may just sound like a thank you note, an essay, or even a creepy love-letter for Sid, I assure you this message is simply for the fans. In this longer post today, I hope you realize that the 22 year old phenom is not in fact the greatest of all time, but currently the best ambassador to the game. In the wake of Alexander Ovechkin's alleged assault on a reporter and his unfortunate slump with respect to his on-and-off ice professionalism, Crosby has taken the reigns as the respectable face of the NHL and of Hockey world-wide.