, a former NHL player now a broadcaster for the Nashville Predators
, knows a little something about pressure. So, he feels it's only fitting that Team Canada is the odds-on favorite to win gold at the Vancouver Games.
"I hope there's pressure (on Canada) because you perform better under pressure, there damn well should be pressure," Crisp said. "We're in Canada, it's our home country, our home team and we got our butts kicked the last time out (finishing seventh in the 2006 Winter Games). Let's not forget that one."
Crisp not only served as the assistant coach of the silver-medal winning Canadian team at the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France, but won two Stanley Cups as a player with the Philadelphia Flyers
in 1974 and '75 and then as a coach with the Calgary Flames
"The thing is, ask anyone who won the last Olympics and probably seven out of 10 wouldn't be able to tell you that it was Sweden," Crisp said. "But Sweden has the belt, so someone has to yank the belt away from them. Because we're playing in Vancouver, you think other countries are going to say, "Oh well, it's Canada's God-given right to have the gold medal." Oh, no, that's not how it works."
Crisp, currently in his 12th season as television/radio analyst for the Predators, scored 67 goals and 201 points in 536 games during 11 NHL seasons with the Boston Bruins
, St. Louis Blues
, Islanders and Flyers. He said the team Canadian Executive Director Steve Yzerman
has assembled is perfectly capable of getting the job done.
"Let's be honest, you can't go wrong with any of those players," Crisp said. "I could help pick the Canadian Olympic squad and you know who'd I get more flack for, who I left off. Most of the second-guessing comes from the guys who didn't get put on or should have been put on, but it's easy to put a team together.
"The biggest problem with all of these teams will be chemistry," Crisp said. "The right mixture is important. You can't have all offense or all defense. You have to have the right combination out there."
In his heart, Crisp would enjoy watching a gold-medal game between Canada and the United States. But he knows it's not going to be easy.
"Just for ratings purposes and having the Games in North America, it would be fun to see Canada play the U.S., but I still feel Russia has so much firepower out there," Crisp said. "I was talking to (Team USA associate GM) David Poile about this and he said, "Crispy, you know what the great thing about the Olympics is? In one game, one man, and that one man could be a hot goalie, can win it all for you. It's as simple as that."
Contact Mike Morreale at email@example.com