-- Looking relaxed and confident in a T-shirt and shorts as he waltzed through the media areas here at Canada Hockey Place, Sidney Crosby
never once mentioned the words "gold medal."
We're not sure if it just happened that way or if Superstitious Sid decided he just wasn't going there for fear of what could happen Friday against Slovakia if he did.
Crosby, who stopped to talk with NHL.com, instead discussed the Canada's focus heading into the game and how quickly the Canadians turned their attention to the Slovaks after Wednesday's 7-3 win over Russia. Here's what he had to say:
-- Is a game like this one coming up against Slovakia another time when your experience in the last two Stanley Cup Finals really matters, knowing you can't look ahead to the next game?
-- Yeah, but I don't even know if you need that experience to learn from. You respect everybody here, whether you have been through the Stanley Cup Finals or not. You automatically respect a team that has gotten this far and has beaten the teams they have beaten. So that's something that shouldn't even come into play."
-- The way this has been built up, 6 1/2 years of hype since Vancouver was awarded the 2010 Games and four years of revenge since Canada lost in Torino, and now you're a weekend of hockey away from it. Can you finally taste what everyone was talking about?
-- I've got a pretty good idea of it already with the way the week and a half has been and the amount of attention and as big as it has been. But it still hasn't changed what we came here to do, and the importance of each and every game hasn't changed. If anything, I think we have done a good job of focusing on all of those things and not getting too caught up in everything, just making sure we focus on doing our job here.
-- The Slovakian team has 13 NHL guys, whereas the Swedish team had 19. But Slovakia also has a lot of former NHL players who are now playing elsewhere, so there is a familiarity here. How does that help you?
-- It helps a bit, but you can look at it either way. Sometimes it helps not knowing because you can just focus on yourself and then there are other times when knowing the opponent is good because you're prepared and you feel that confidence, too. We just try to worry about our game and try to control what we do. But having that familiarity, it's good.
-- Did you wake up this morning thinking about the Russia game, or had you already moved on to thinking about and preparing for Slovakia?
-- Both. You always evaluate things, and looking back at that game we did a lot of really good things, especially the way we came out. We went right after it. We didn't come out and wait to see what it was going to be. We went right after it and I think that's a good lesson we can take on to the next game. When games are big like that you don't want to waste the first 10 minutes trying to figure it out. You want to just go after it. So that was a positive thing, and as the day goes on here we think more and more about our preparation for Slovakia. Even after that game we were all watching to see who we were going to play anyway, so I think we have a pretty good idea of how committed they are to playing as a team, and it's going to be a good test for us.
Contact Dan Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org