Sidney Crosby had the weight of a nation on his shoulders. The Team Canada captain led a squad in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia that had only one expectation: winning gold.
Team Canada met those expectations, going undefeated in Olympic play and defeating Team Sweden, 3-0, in the Gold Medal Game to successfully defend its gold medal from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
“Everybody feels a sense of pride and a sense of relief knowing that’s the expectation and doing what was expected,” Crosby said. “It’s not easy. There are so many good teams. There is a sense of relief when you’re able to do it.
“It was a great experience. Winning always makes it better.”
As usual, Crosby saved his best performance for the biggest stage. He had gone goalless in the first five games of the tournament. But in the Gold Medal Game Crosby forced a turnover at his own blue line and sped in for a breakaway on Swedish goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Crosby deked and went backhand, sliding the puck over the goal line for his only score of the tournament to give Canada a 2-0 lead in the contest.
But Crosby wasn’t as much relieved with finally scoring a goal in the Olympics as he was giving Canada a two-goal cushion.
“If I had five (goals) up to that point it wouldn’t have felt any different,” Crosby said. “To score in the final and knowing you had a two-goal lead, we hadn’t had a two-goal lead that often up to that point, except for the first couple games. Tight games like that and the way we’ve been playing D to get a couple goal lead was nice. That was more going through my mind than the fact that I hadn’t scored yet. Any time you can contribute in a big game like that you’re happy.”
Crosby was also the clutch contributor in the 2010 Games. He scored the “Golden Goal,” the overtime medal-deciding goal in the Gold Medal Game against the United States to lift Canada to gold on its home soil.
Crosby now has won two Olympic gold medals in two tries, but both were rewarding in their own right.
“(This year’s Olympics) was not quite as dramatic as the win in Vancouver, but equally rewarding,” Crosby said. “Every team there is so good. There isn’t much separating every team. It’s not easy to do that and not easy to win. To go in there with the goal of winning and achieve that is a great feeling.”