Unfortunately my boss Sam Kasan and I couldn't travel to Europe to cover our players participating in the World Championship, but NHL.com is there and they spoke with Penguins captain Sidney Crosby before Canada opened the tournament against Latvia on Friday.
A few quotes that stuck out...
- This is the first time since Crosby's rookie season that he's played in the World Championship. He wasn't able to return after that because the Penguins have either made deep runs in the playoffs or he's dealt with injuries. But this year, he announced he would be participating a couple of days after Pittsburgh was eliminated in five games from their First Round series with the New York Rangers because he said he "just wanted to keep playing."
"It's tough to lose in the playoffs; you want to play as long as you can," Crosby continued. "There were a few times when I finished the season I've been pretty banged up and haven't been healthy. The fact that I felt healthy and I wanted to continue to play, and a chance to represent Canada is always a great opportunity, so I was excited for the opportunity to come here this time."
- Crosby is now playing alongside a lot of guys he's had memorable matchups with in the past, most notably Flyers forwards Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn. Crosby said it won't be a problem for them to set their rivalry aside -- for now.
"It's a funny thing about hockey. You battle and have some intense games and then you find yourself on one team pretty quickly trying to win together," Crosby said. "It's a great thing about the game. When we go back, it will all get back to normal, but we're teammates here and we're trying to accomplish the same thing."
- Canada's roster is stacked -- in addition to Crosby and Giroux, a few of the standout names include Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, Matt Duchene, Nathan Mackinnon, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Brent Burns and Aaron Ekblad -- and they have a real chance to win a gold medal for the first time since 2007 if they're able to come together as a team during round-robin play.
"We have a lot of talent, lot of speed. We have some big guys, hopefully it's something we can use," Crosby said. "But all of the teams here are good. We have to adjust quickly, but we definitely have a lot of guys who can make some plays out there."
- If Crosby is able to lead his team to victory, it would make him a member of the coveted Triple Gold club -- which is made up of players who have won the Stanley Cup, Olympic gold and the World Championship.
"Definitely, it's a motivation," Crosby said. "It would be great to be able to do that. It's not easy; there's only a few guys who have been able to do it. But if it worked out, it would certainly be an honor."