Crosby, Kunitz focused on gold, not goals
TribLIVE Sports Videos
SOCHI, Russia — Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz have combined for zero goals, have been criticized back in Canada more than any athletes here, and be very sure, they couldn't care less about either right now.
They're going for gold.
And so are the other seven forwards without a goal — Jonathan Toews, Corey Perry, Martin St. Louis, Patrice Bergeron, Rick Nash, Patrick Marleau and Matt Duchene — who instead contributed to a brilliant two-way effort in eliminating the United States, 1-0, in the Olympic semifinal Friday at Bolshoy Ice Dome.
Next: Sweden on Sunday.
“I think guys trust that the puck's going to go in and, if it's not, they're going to do the right things away from it,” Crosby said. “You don't change the way you play. There's a right way to play the game.”
It's hard to imagine Canada could have done much more right, other than score. But it just might be that the captain's example of not pouting has set the tone for an entire collection of forwards who could be squeezing their sticks to sawdust right about now.
“Our focus is on one thing, and that's winning,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Would we like more goals? Yes. Do we believe they're going to come if we keep creating chances like this? Absolutely. In the meantime, you keep playing.”
The lone goal in this game came early in the second period from Jamie Benn, his second of the Olympics, on what essentially was a give-and-go with Jay Bouwmeester at the left point, followed by a Benn redirect past Jonathan Quick.
There could have been many others, including by Crosby, who had four shots, and Kunitz, who had two excellent chances, one shot wide, the other thwarted by an exceptional Quick save.
Most important, per Crosby, was that every minute of attacking-zone time – whether resulting in goals or not – contributed to the cause against this particular opponent.
“I think we had really good puck possession,” Crosby said. “We've got some big forwards, and we were able to hold the puck down low for 20 seconds at a time in shifts. That hopefully would take away some of their offensive energy.”
The line Crosby was singling out was Benn-Corey Perry-Ryan Getzlaf, a talented group of tall trees. But the Patrick Marleau-Jonathan Toews-Jeff Carter line also created offense and shut down the Americans' top threat, Phil Kessel.
Crosby's line remains “a work in progress,” as Kunitz described it, but progress was seen. Patrice Bergeron took care of most defensive duties, and Crosby and Kunitz looked more like their Pittsburgh selves in springing quick offense through the neutral zone.
That might help explain why Kunitz seemed more at ease during and after this game than at any point in the Olympics. At one point in the second period, he took advantage of the quiet crowd and screamed “Hey Sid!” to call for a pass.
Having fun yet?
“Yeah, I think so,” Kunitz said, offering a seldom-seen smile. “Things are starting to work out a little better for all of us right now. As long as we stick to taking care of business, we believe good things will happen.”
And the criticism?
“I don't worry about that. The only people whose opinions count for me are in our locker room.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hays ‘eagle cams’ reinstalled for 2015 nesting season
- Penguins’ Crosby details his mumps experience
- Starkey: Pederson had to go at Pitt
- West Virginia offensive coordinator takes job with Kentucky
- Steelers, young and old, thirst for opportunity to reach the postseason
- Arnold Stop-n-Go robbed
- Ligonier man’s sentences for slayings upheld
- Judge dismisses littering charge against City Council president Kraus
- Chryst returns home, named football coach at Wisconsin
- Auditions for Broadway’s Carole King musical coming to Pittsburgh
- Developer reveals Buncher plans for 400 Strip District apartments, townhomes