Crosby and Stamkos to lead Team Canada’s offence in Sochi

Crosby and Stamkos

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins. Image Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

In our celebrity obsessed society, it is always interesting when one icon reveals his/her thoughts about another. In Canada, there are few hockey players more popular than Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and on Jan. 20, the former praised the latter.

In an article by Joe Smith of the Tampa Times, Crosby had a lot to say about Stamkos’ status with Team Canada at the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. As you likely already know, Stamkos suffered a broken tibia in early November and has not played since. The Bolts star is well on the road to recovery, and by all indications, hopes to return to his pro club a few games before the NHL breaks for two weeks to participate at the Games. Regarding Stamkos’ availability with Team Canada at Sochi, Crosby told the Times:

“It’d be great. With what he brings, the player he is, especially on that bigger ice, he could be very successful.”

Quote courtesy of the Tampa Times. Read full article here.

Crosby and Stamkos have much in common. They were both drafted first overall: Crosby in 2005 and Stammer in 2008. Both players tied for the league lead in goals back in the 2009-10 season, sharing the title as 2010 Rocket Richard winner. And, both men have experienced long injury absences in their respective careers, Crosby several times over the last four seasons and Stamkos this current campaign with a broken leg. Crosby can identify with Stamkos’ frustration. More from the Times:

“I just saw the clip and I was kind of in a similar position, where you do something and the time frame, you really don’t know what it’s going to be like.

“I just said, ‘Hey, saw what happened. Hope you’re doing okay.’ Didn’t look good at the time, didn’t know what was wrong. Said, ‘Hope you’re better soon and hope to see you back out there.’ Like I said, I was in that position and it’s nice to hear from other guys and encourage you, because it’s not a fun time.”

Quote courtesy of the Tampa Times. Read full article here.

Crosby and Stamkos are arguably Canada’s two best offensive weapons heading to Sochi. Sid is widely accepted as the best player in the world and regularly leads the league in scoring when he’s healthy. Conversely, since 2009-10, no player in the NHL, Canadian or otherwise, has scored more goals than Steven Stamkos.

Despite his injury, Stamkos was selected to Team Canada when the roster was announced on January 7th in Toronto. As to whether he will be able to suit up in Canadian Red less than three weeks from now, that picture is not clear at the moment.

The latest on Steven Stamkos is a five-day-old report by USA Today. Number 91 rejoined his teammates at practice on January 16; a positive sign for the Lightning, Team Canada, Fantasy Hockey managers, and Steven Stamkos. Read more about Stamkos’ return to practice here, courtesy of USA Today.

Expectations are colossal for Team Canada at the Winter Games in Sochi. As winners in two of the last three Olympics, and winners of three of the last four hockey tournaments involving the NHL’s best (including the 2004 World Cup), anything less than a gold medal will be considered a fail for the Canadians.

In order to win gold, Canada will need to overcome several obstacles; one massive hurdle on the road ahead is finding a way to score against the best of the best on international sized ice – a problem Canada experienced at the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy. With all due respect to the group Canada crossed the pond with in ’06, there were no Canadians on the level of Crosby and Stamkos back then. If healthy, Sid and Stammer are explosive players – along with Ovechkin, the best goal scorers in the world. And two out of three ain’t bad, at all.