Sidney Crosby

Crosby to captain Canada at Worlds

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Sidney Crosby will once again wear the “C” internationally — on Thursday, it was announced that Crosby will captain Team Canada at the upcoming World Hockey Championships in the Czech Republic.

Dallas’ Jason Spezza and Vancouver’s Dan Hamhuis will serve as alternates.

Crosby, 27, previously captained Canada to gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. He’s also twice served as an alternate for his country — once at the Worlds in 2006 (when he scored 16 points in nine games, becoming the youngest scoring champ in tourney history) and again at the ’10 Olympics in Vancouver, where he was part of a leadership group that included captain Scott Niedermayer, and fellow alternates Chris Pronger and Jarome Iginla.

Crosby famously scored the “golden goal” for Canada at those Vancouver games, potting the OT winner in the tournament finale against the United States.

Poll: Are there any worthy Hart Trophy snubs?

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Whenever you’re talking about an award that seeks to recognize the best player in the league, any decision is going to be contested. The same can be true for the list of finalists. Now that we know that Montreal’s Carey Price, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and the Islanders’ John Tavares are this year’s Hart Trophy finalists, was there anyone that deserved to be on that list that was excluded?

Below are three potential alternatives. Each of them had great seasons, but there are also understandable reasons why they didn’t make the cut. Do you agree with those reasons though?

1) Devan Dubnyk – Perhaps the most obvious snub. When the Wild acquired Dubnyk on Jan. 14, they were a struggling franchise that seemed doomed to fall short of the playoffs. Then Dubnyk posted an incredible 1.78 GAA and .936 save percentage in 39 contests to make Minnesota one of the best teams in the second half. He was likely excluded in part because he wasn’t with Minnesota for the full 2014-15 campaign and partially due to the presence of Price on the list. Goaltenders tend to be a tough sell for the Hart Trophy and having them take up two of the three slots might have been asking for too much.

2) Jamie Benn – This year’s Art Ross Trophy winner (35 goals, 87 points in 82 contests) didn’t end up warranting a spot among the Hart Trophy finalists. It’s easy to see why though: The Dallas Stars weren’t a playoff squad and MVP awards take the success of the team into consideration. Still, he had one of the best seasons out of this year’s crop of forwards.

3) Sidney Crosby – Crosby is the latest Hart Trophy winner, but he wasn’t able to defending his spot as the MVP. He took a noticeable step back offensively, going from 104 points to 84 in 77 contests in 2014-15. His team’s struggles in the second half of the campaign likely didn’t do him any favors either. He had a great season though with his 84-point total being good enough for third in the league’s scoring race.

Crosby joins group of ‘high-end, young’ Canadians at Worlds

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A quick glance at some of the forwards that have committed to playing for Team Canada at this year’s World Championship, and perhaps it’s no surprise that Sidney Crosby wanted to be a part of it.

Still, Team Canada GM Nill didn’t expect Crosby to play. And he certainly didn’t expect Crosby to be the one to reach out to him.

“I was going to give him a call out of respect, just to see if he wanted to go,” Nill told TSN 1290. “Well, it was the opposite way. As soon as [the Penguins were eliminated], he reached out to me right away and said, ‘I want to be part of this team.’”

Among the “high-end, young kids” that Crosby will be skating with in the Czech Republic are forwards Claude Giroux, Matt Duchene, Taylor Hall, Nathan MacKinnon, Tyler Seguin, and Ryan O’Reilly, while on defense, there’s 19-year-old Aaron Ekblad.

“They’re the new guys that are kind of taking over Hockey Canada, so it’s going to be very exciting to watch,” said Nill.

Team Canada opens the tournament Friday against Latvia.

Related: NBCSN to air every Team USA game at Worlds

Crosby joining Team Canada at Worlds

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Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will join Team Canada for next month’s World Hockey Championships in the Czech Republic.

Crosby’s only other appearance at the tournament was in 2006 where he had eight goals and 16 points in nine games as Canada finished fourth in Latvia.

The 27-year-old had two goals and two assists in the Penguins five game series with the New York Rangers.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said he was not approached by Hockey Canada to join the team.

Evgeni Malkin, who was invited to play for the Russians, says he’s unsure if he’ll participate due to health reasons.

Pens CEO says Johnston, Rutherford won’t be fired

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Despite nearly missing the playoffs and then bowing out in five games to the New York Rangers, Mike Johnston and Jim Rutherford’s jobs are safe.

According to Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pens’ executive David Morehouse has “never given any consideration” replacing Johnston or Rutherford.

Molinari reports the Penguins brass believes the season was lost due to injuries. He adds that if the Rangers had been without key defensemen as the Penguins were, it could’ve been a different series.

The Penguins also have no interest in abandoning the “two-center model” featuring Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Pittsburgh finished the regular season with their lowest point total (98) in an 82-game season since the 2005-06 season (58), which is the last time they failed to qualify for the playoffs.