Winter Games Athletes
The best player in the world in the eyes of many, Crosby also provided perhaps the signature moment of the most recent Winter Olympics. Seven minutes into overtime in the gold medal game, Crosby slipped a wrist shot past Ryan Miller to give Canada a 3-2 win over the United States for its second gold in the past three Games. That capped a seven-point, four-goal tournament for Crosby, who will head to Sochi in the midst of an NHL season that has him considered the frontrunner for his second Hart Trophy. After missing 53 percent of Pittsburgh’s games the past three seasons, largely because of concussions, Crosby has put up NHL highs of 50 assists and 78 points in 2013-14 while guiding the Penguins to the top record in the Eastern Conference. Questions lingered in the Vancouver Games about Crosby finding chemistry with linemates after cycling through Rick Nash, Patrice Bergeron, Mike Richards, Jonathan Toews, Jarome Iginla and Eric Staal, but the only issue in Sochi should be finding Crosby a second winger. That’s because he’ll certainly find himself on a line that includes Penguins teammate Chris Kunitz. Crosby’s vision is unparalleled, but he’s become consistently better on faceoffs over the past four seasons and remains one of the game’s most difficult players to move off the puck despite hardly being a towering physical presence. Crosby is coach Mike Babcock’s choice as Canada’s captain after Scott Niedermayer wore the ‘C’ in the 2010 Games. Crosby shed much of the pressure on himself and his country with the golden goal in Vancouver, and with his favorite linemate along for the ride in Sochi, the face of hockey appears poised to have an even better tournament in 2014.