VANCOUVER — If someone had forecast that Canada would reach the gold-medal game with seven players producing as many or more points than Sidney Crosby, that someone would have to be named Kreskin.
It’s not as though Crosby has had a poor tournament.
As Canadian head coach Mike Babcock said Saturday, Crosby didn’t score a lot in the Stanley Cup final, but still helped his Pittsburgh Penguins beat Babcock’s Detroit Red Wings.
Team play, sharing goals, sharing glory, has been a particular theme for Canada, as it prepares to face the United States on Sunday for the ultimate in team glory — the gold medal in men’s hockey.
Crosby has three goals and three assists in six games.
Dany Heatley and Jonathan Toews lead Canada with seven points each. Defencemen Shea Weber and Dan Boyle, and forwards Ryan Getzlaf, Jarome Iginla, Eric Staal are tied with Crosby at six points. Four others have five points.
“We had that mentality coming in that we were going to be a close team,” said Getlaf, who emerged as a force in the quarter-final against Russia. “We definitely didn’t want to be a one-line team, or rely on one guy.
“The tournament at this stage, you need it from everywhere. Playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs, it’s the same way. You need it from unexpected guys.
“Everybody here has scored on their team back home. So why can’t we do it here?”
Scott Niedermayer, Getzlaf’s veteran teammate on the Anaheim Ducks, is the captain in Anaheim and the captain of Canada.
Some might consider this his team, but Niedermayer is a quiet leader, and others will call it Crosby’s team. The players themselves don’t seem to care, leadership is provided from a variety of sources.
Early on, the focus was finding a winger for Crosby.
As the tournament emerged, other teams worried more about the tenacious presence of players like Nash, Brenden Morrow, Getzlaf and even Mike Richards.
Niedermayer says the concept is to park egos and think about the greater good.
“That’s exactly been our focus all along,” Niedermayer said. “I think everybody realizes that — whether you score a big goal, block a shot, no one’s real worried about who’s getting credit. Any team I’ve been on that’s had success has had that feeling.”
The Americans can’t just worry about stopping Crosby on Sunday.
And yet, as they try to handle all of Canada’s power up front, Crosby might yet be their biggest nightmare.
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