February 18, 2014

On Sidney Crosby and Canada's Need For Hockey Hierarchy

Much has been made of Sidney Crosby's play in the preliminary round of the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Zero goals and two assists in three games. That's not good enough in the eyes of many observers though not coach Mike Babcock just yet.

But when Team Canada is struggling for offense Canadians expect better statistics from their top player.

Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune tries to calm anxious Canadian fans down with his article proclaiming that Sidney Crosby is not a man of great statistics but of great moments.

Remember this about Sidney Crosby: He isn’t a man of statistics. He’s a man of moments.

His highest career goal total isn’t etched in our minds. But that shootout goal in Buffalo is.

His highest career point total isn’t something that every Canadian kid remembers. But they sure remember the Golden Goal.

I couldn’t tell you, off the top of my head, how many goals he has scored in personal matchups with Ovechkin. But we all remember that breakaway in Game 7 in Washington, when Crosby stripped Ovechkin, buried a shot and announced that the hockey world was his.

How many power play points has he produced in his career? I don’t know. But I still remember everything about that night when he returned from a concussion against the Islanders. You do, too.

Crosby is a man of moments. We can’t measure him any other way.

I agree with Yohe. I have often said Crosby is a player of destiny. He does seem to be there at the right moment. That does not mean that there is a moment every Olympics, or every Stanley Cup playoffs. Pittsburgh fans know this, and Canadian hockey fans better not be counting on the moment to arrive this week in Sochi

The one thing I did not like about the Yohe article is his comparing Crosby to Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. He points to the great statistics posted by 99 and 66, but forgets their moments. Fact is they - Gretzky in particular - were always the best player in their primes. Every Stanley Cup final, every Canada Cup. They were the best and there was no doubting that. The hockey hierarchy was firm and everyone found their roles in behind Gretzky and Lemieux.

Team Canada 2014 is still looking for that hockey hierarchy amongst it's forward group. It's time for the leaders to emerge, and that means Crosby and Jonathan Toews and whoever else can come to the top.

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