- Monday, March 1, 2010 7:25 AM
- Written By: Steve Silver
As I struggled to recover from Canada’s overtime triumph on Sunday evening, I turned on the local KDKA news to see how the Pittsburgh media would cover the coronation of Sidney Crosby as Canada’s newest god.
This particular station decided to interview some less than sober clientele at bars downtown to gauge their reactions.
Most responses were of the mundane variety such as, “If we had to lose, at least it was Crosby who scored” or “I still love Sidney, but I want to hate him today.”
Then one inebriated patron launched into a tirade about how Crosby doesn’t want to win another Stanley Cup since he is so happy now and how he has no motivation to work hard anymore.
Cue the remote control flying across the room.
Is this guy serious?
First of all, if that were true, then nobody would ever win multiple championships in any sport.
But let’s focus on Sidney Crosby.
Even after winning the Cup last season, Crosby still had to prove himself with a gold medal. Despite all of his accomplishments on the ice, he knew anything short of gold in Vancouver would cast a cloud over his career.
I saw how the pressure burdened him firsthand prior to the Olympic break as the Penguins faced the Nashville Predators at Mellon Arena.
In that game Crosby took a slap shot off his skate and gingerly left the ice. Once on the bench he threw a tantrum of epic proportions. He snapped his stick in half, barked at team trainers to stay away and he sulked with his head beneath the boards for several shifts.
I had never seen Crosby lose his composure like that before and he admitted in his post-game comments how much the Olympics meant to him and that’s why he was upset about a potential injury.
Although that injury was minor, it was a microcosm for the tournament. He had to be perfect and frankly, he wasn’t. He tried too hard and was ultimately missing from many score sheets. None of that matters now, though, as Crosby is forever inscribed in Canadian hockey lore.
That gold medal and the lifting of his country’s high expectations are exactly why Crosby is now even more likely to win another Stanley Cup.
He is now just playing for himself. He can have fun and enjoy himself. Have you ever seen the kid smile so much as he did after his overtime winner?
Crosby has done everything he ever wanted to do and now it is solely about the love of the game.
Once he recovers from the post-Olympics hangover I expect to see a much looser, more offensively potent Crosby lead the Penguins deep into the playoffs.
With 20 games remaining in the regular season it is very likely that Crosby could post 30 more points. I predict Crosby finishes the season somewhere near 60 goals and 100 points.
Will he win another Cup this year? Who knows, the Penguins are not the top team right now, but they certainly have a shot.
No matter what happens this season, Crosby is now, at least psychologically, a free man. And that, drunk guy on KDKA, is truly good news for Pittsburgh.