Crosby leaves his mark in hockey lore

Like the unforgettable goals scored by Paul Henderson in 1972 and Mario Lemieux in 1987, Sidney Crosby’s winner in Sunday’s Olympic final against the United States is headed straight into Canadian hockey lore.

VANCOUVER — Like the unforgettable goals scored by Paul Henderson in 1972 and Mario Lemieux in 1987, Sidney Crosby’s winner in Sunday’s Olympic final against the United States is headed straight into Canadian hockey lore.

“Iggy!” No. 87 cried out to Jarome Iginla before taking a pass from his winger, walking out in front, and slipping the puck through Ryan Miller’s legs at 7:40 of overtime, sealing a 3-2 victory. Up went his arms, out went his mouthguard and so began the celebration of a play destined to be copied in driveways from coast to coast.

“You’re going to see a lot of kids growing up now wishing they were Crosby scoring in overtime and winning a gold medal,” said veteran Canadian defenceman Chris Pronger. “And that’s pretty special.”

Special would be an understatement.

Winning gold at the Vancouver Olympics was nearly a national obsession for the country’s hockey fans in the months leading up to the Games, and much of the burden and expectations fell on the 22-year-old Crosby’s shoulders.

Already a Stanley Cup champion, he was now the best player on what many observers considered the gold-medal co-favourite with Russia, and whenever it comes to hockey in Canada, nothing short of victory is good enough.

Little wonder then that there was consternation about his lack of dominance in the 7-3 quarter-final win over Russia and a 3-2 win over Slovakia in the semis.

Where was he when the team needed him most, some wondered?

Right where he needed to be as it turns out.

“Every kid dreams of that opportunity,” said Crosby.

“It could have been anybody else, it could have been any other guy in that room. Obviously, being in Canada that’s an opportunity of a lifetime to play in the Olympics here and try to win a gold medal. You dream of that moment a thousand times growing up.”

For some, that dream was inspired by watching Henderson whack home a loose puck in Game 8 of the 1972 Summit Series to secure a Canadian victory. For those a bit younger, it’s Lemieux taking a drop pass from Wayne Gretzky and snapping a wrist shot into the top corner to defeat the Soviets in the ’87 Canada Cup.

Crosby’s goal capped perhaps the most documented and analyzed hockey tournament ever, and his lack of total dominance before the big moment landed him in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. He finished with four goals and three assists in seven games, and with the appreciation of his entire team.

“I think he had a great tournament,” said Steve Yzerman, Team Canada’s executive director. “I just keep going back that he’s such a young person and to have the weight of the country on his shoulders, it’s not necessarily good enough to win, he’s got to lead the team. That’s a lot to put on a young player. I thought he conducted himself very well under immense pressure.

“It’s not good enough to win, everybody expects him to get a hat trick every night.”

Crosby nearly settled matters versus the U.S. earlier, when he broke in alone on Ryan Miller with three minutes left in the third period and Canada nursing a 2-1 lead. His stick was lifted at the last moment, the insurance goal never came, and the U.S. tied things up with 24.4 seconds remaining to force overtime.

He never got discouraged, and with a second chance he made it happen.

“Any guy would have that going through their mind when they tie it up, you realize you missed that breakaway. It’s not a good feeling at all,” said Crosby. “Obviously, they spoiled things for awhile. Going into overtime, we just wanted to go after it — we didn’t want to have any regrets.”

With a gold medal now around his neck, there’s no chance of that.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

House sales remain hot in central Alberta with first-quarter sales nearly double last year’s numbers. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Central Alberta real estate market hot in 2021

Residential sales nearly double 2020 in first quarter

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer gave an update on Olymel's COVID-19 situation on Wednesday. (File photo by Advocate staff).
Veer addresses rising COVID-19 cases in Red Deer

Red Deer has added nearly 200 cases of active COVID-19 cases in past week

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Premier Jason Kenney say the province would look at adding additional COVID-19 measures in the coming weeks if the virus continues to spread. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open in Red Deer

Alberta adds 1,345 new cases of the virus

Innisfail RCMP are investigating a single-vehicle crash that happened west of Bowden on March 21, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
RCMP investigate culturally insensitive graffiti at Sylvan Lake school

Sylvan Lake RCMP is investigating a vandalism incident. On April 17 around… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Tanner Pearson, right, celebrates after scoring against Toronto Maple Leafs goalie David Rittich during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Pearson, Sutter each score twice as Canucks dump Leafs 6-3

Pearson, Sutter each score twice as Canucks dump Leafs 6-3

Everton's Gylfi Sigurdsson celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Friday, April 16, 2021. (Peter Powell/Pool via AP)
Super League collapses after the 6 English clubs withdraw

Super League collapses after the 6 English clubs withdraw

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez delivers against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at Fenway Park in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Bogaerts’ 3-run HR, Rodriguez lift BoSox over Blue Jays 4-2

Bogaerts’ 3-run HR, Rodriguez lift BoSox over Blue Jays 4-2

Pound says Olympic qualifying issues a concern to IOC

Pound says Olympic qualifying issues a concern to IOC

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Ontario Hockey League cancels 2020-21 season as COVID-19 cases surge in province

Ontario Hockey League cancels 2020-21 season as COVID-19 cases surge in province

Lionel Desmond (front row, far right) was part of the 2nd battalion, of the Royal Canadian Regiment, based at CFB Gagetown and shown in this 2007 handout photo taken in Panjwai district in between patrol base Wilson and Masum Ghar in Afghanistan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook-Trev Bungay MANDATORY CREDIT
Desmond inquiry: Veterans Affairs submits internal review after initial refusal

Desmond inquiry: Veterans Affairs submits internal review after initial refusal

FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2021 file photo State representatives gather at the Capitol, in Phoenix. Two years after Arizona lawmakers repealed a law barring any instruction on HIV or AIDS that that "promotes a homosexual lifestyle," they are close to enacting a broad remake of the state's sex education laws with a particular focus on LGBTQ issues. (AP Photo/Matt York,File)
Arizona governor vetoes strict sex education legislation

Arizona governor vetoes strict sex education legislation

Most Read