Sidney Crosby has yet to score a goal in these Olympics. You can imagine the horror this appears to be creating north of the border.
So far, the tangible results Crosby has put forward in Sochi amounts to a pair of assists. On the outside, it might seem like so little because he’s widely considered the best player in the game, and because of what he did in Vancouver four years ago – scoring the overtime goal in the gold-medal game against the U.S.
Crosby’s coach with Team Canada doesn’t seem overly concerned about a lack of scoring from the captain, who played most of Sunday’s 2-1 overtime win against Finland on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Jamie Benn. (We await word on possible further changes to line combinations and starting goalies.)
“Everyone evaluates Sid on scoring and I evaluate Sid on winning,” said Canada’s head coach Mike Babcock, as per Sportsnet.ca.
Canada has advanced to the quarter-final stage of the tournament, and will play either Switzerland or Latvia in that game. The winner of the quarter-final advances to the semifinal and a possible – emphasis on possible – date with the U.S.
Yet there is hardly a level of satisfaction in Canada, or with the nation’s media. Canada went 3-0 in the preliminary round, outscoring the opposition 11-2. Two of those wins came against lesser opponents, in Norway and Austria.
And don’t forget the expectations on this team, which is looking to become the first nation in the men’s hockey competition to successfully defend the gold since NHL players began competing at the Olympics in 1998.
In two of their three contests so far, the Canadians have faced opposing teams keen to try and shut them down, playing a stringent defensive style in hopes of keeping the game as close as possible.
“You definitely have to find ways to get to that net and compete for every inch of the ice out there,” said Crosby, as per the Toronto Sun. “I think that’s just kind of the nature of playing teams who have done that for a long time.”
Judging by external reaction alone, it seems the results to this point have been underwhelming.
And when the offence up front isn’t as dynamic – only five of Canada’s 11 goals have come from forwards – as one would think with a roster that includes the likes of Crosby and Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry and Matt Duchene and John Tavares, the criticism starts to come out.
“No one ever seems to be happy with us,” said Babcock.