The buzz in the Penguins locker room after Monday afternoon’s practice was focused on captain Sidney Crosby
’s overtime Olympic goal that clinched Team Canada’s victory over the United States and secured the gold medal for his country.
After Team USA’s Zach Parise tied up the championship game, 2-2, with just 24 seconds left in the third period, Crosby responded by sending a quick snap shot through the legs of goaltender Ryan Miller 7:40 into the overtime period to bring an end to the two-week tournament.
When Crosby took a step off the wall and had (Brian) Rafalski behind him, it was over. I saw it happen, and I knew it was over. That’s a goal scorer and a guy who seems to have an incredible knack for the dramatic. - Dan Bylsma
“When Crosby took a step off the wall and had (Brian) Rafalski behind him, it was over,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “I saw it happen, and I knew it was over. That’s a goal scorer and a guy who seems to have an incredible knack for the dramatic. He got his space and got the puck on a great play from Jarome (Iginla). I think before the puck went into the net, you had a sense it was going in.”
Many of Crosby’s teammates also expressed their admiration for their captain’s talent throughout the entire Olympic series.
“I was happy that Sid scored that goal since the guy was born for it,” said Sergei Gonchar, who played for Team Russia. “Out of all the guys, he’s the guy who did it. I’m glad.”
“I really think it was destiny for Sid,” Bill Guerin agreed. “He is that kind of player and that kind of guy. The stage was set for him. I couldn’t be happier for him. Sid is a good person and a great kid. I am happy for the way it worked out for him. I think Sid really cemented himself in Canadian hockey history, because nobody is ever going to forget that goal he scored.”
Gonchar also noted that Penguins fans will be anticipating Crosby’s return to Pittsburgh since the team faces off against the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday night at Mellon Arena.
“They will be proud of him as all of us are,” he said. “He’s done a great job. He deserves it, and I’m sure they will be happy for him.”
“I think it is a really good thing that happened for us, because he is going to come in on a high,” Guerin said. “If he is not feeling great about himself right now, then something is wrong. I am sure he is, and hopefully that will carry into Tuesday night’s game.”Jordan Staal
, whose brother Eric played on Team Canada on Crosby’s line, said that the 22-year-old’s game-winning goal had an especially significant impact on him as a native Canadian.
“It was an exciting game,” he said. “It was a nail-biter for sure. I’m sure every city was going nuts all throughout Canada. There’s no question that every kid was glued to the television for that game and every parent, as well. It’s something special.
“I think everyone in that dressing room and everyone across Canada dreams for that opportunity. Very fittingly, Sid got the opportunity and buried it.”
While Crosby’s goal ultimately benefitted Canada in the Olympic Games, Penguins’ executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero acknowledged that it does not hurt that the Canadian superstar plays for the Penguins in the National Hockey League.
It was a great finish to a great game. He’s part of our team. He’s our captain. I’m happy for him as a player. We won a Stanley Cup together. He’s done a lot for this franchise and this city. I think it’s a great thing for him and great for his confidence and another thing on his resume - Ray Shero
“It was a great finish to a great game,” he said. “He’s part of our team. He’s our captain. I’m happy for him as a player. We won a Stanley Cup together. He’s done a lot for this franchise and this city. I think it’s a great thing for him and great for his confidence and another thing on his resume.”
Despite Crosby’s young age, Staal said that he believes his legend will continue to grow with each year that passes as he racks up more achievements and overcomes more obstacles.
“What he’s accomplished so far in his career is really remarkable,” he said. “The things that he has done and the ways that he has done them – there’s no better feeling to be on his team for sure.”
“For him to score, it just seems perfect,” Canadian Maxime Talbot added. “You saw the reaction from the Canadians, but I think Americans really appreciated the game and the tournament, and it’s great for the sport. It’s a legendary goal. It happens once every four years.
“It’s a final that everyone was waiting for – Canada and the United States in overtime. What else do you want? It’s just perfect, and it’s even more perfect that Sid scored the goal.”