Crosby, Kunitz share Canada's golden view
By Dejan Kovacevic
Published: Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, 5:36 p.m.
SOCHI, Russia — Sidney Crosby is going for another Olympic gold while trying not to think about his first.
“Really, Vancouver is Vancouver,” Crosby said Saturday at Bolshoy Ice Dome. “This is the here and now, and this is where my mind is.”
Chris Kunitz, meanwhile, is just trying to think straight.
“Honestly, I'm just trying to wrap my head around everything right now,” Kunitz said. “It's all going so fast.”
Two weeks after it began, the Olympic men's hockey tournament concludes Sunday with Crosby, Kunitz and Canada against Sweden for the championship at Bolshoy. Faceoff is 7 a.m. Pittsburgh time.
Crosby is Captain Canada, of course, the scorer of the Golden Goal in Vancouver four years ago and the man universally expected in his country to deliver the sequel. But he has been adamant throughout these Games that living off the past won't help the present, his or the team's, and that stance isn't about to change no matter how many times the topic has been raised by the heavy Canadian media element here.
“We have a great opportunity right in front of us,” Crosby said. “I think it can help to have been in Vancouver, to an extent, for the guys who were there. But this game here, this is the one this group has worked for. We're just trying to make sure we've gotten better every game and peak when it matters the most.”
Crosby remains without a goal, as that same media element has pounded relentlessly here and in print. He has only two assists to show for his five games. At the same time, he has been Canada's most dynamic player in the medal round, and the consensus is he's on the verge of one of those types of performances Pittsburghers know better than anyone.
“Sid's just getting there,” forward Rick Nash said. “You look at what he's creating right now, and you can see it.”
Kunitz's numbers are even worse — zero points — but, coincidence or not, once he finally got going in the 1-0 semifinal win Friday over the United States, Crosby looked that much better, as well. Patrice Bergeron has been a good fit, too, taking care of most of the defense.
“We're playing with more speed,” Kunitz said. “It's just a matter of finding our lanes like we've started to, keep getting our chances and maybe have them start going in.”
He smiled with that, yet another sign that his Olympic rookie's nerves are passing. He and Crosby have found solace in the defensive responsibilities they and most of Canada's forwards have handled superbly, which might help explain that.
“That's something you're seeing with our whole team: Everybody taking care of business first,” Kunitz said.
“We trust our game,” Crosby said. “Now we just need to find that next level.”
Dejan Kovacevic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Dejan_Kovacevic.
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