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Sidney Crosby disappointed he's not in Olympics on Team Canada

Jerry DiPaola
| Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, 7:36 p.m.
Sidney Crosby (middle) waits with coach Mike Babcock (left) for a team photo before a training session for the 2014 Winter Olympics on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Sidney Crosby (middle) waits with coach Mike Babcock (left) for a team photo before a training session for the 2014 Winter Olympics on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.

Just as you would expect from a two-time gold medal winner, Sidney Crosby said he's disappointed NHL players aren't participating in the Winter Olympics.

But that hasn't dulled his national fervor for all Canadians competing in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

“Once you find out you're not going, you're disappointed,” he said Monday after Penguins practice in Cranberry. “But you're anticipating the hockey starting and follow it like you would the Summer Olympics when you're watching at home cheering for Canada.”

Crosby helped Canada win gold in 2010 and '14 in Vancouver and Sochi, Russia. He scored the winning goal in overtime in the gold-medal game in Vancouver, so he can't help but wish he could join his fellow Canadians in South Korea.

“Once you start watching a hockey game, I'm sure it will sink in a bit more and the competitive side of you will want to be over there competing,” he said. “It's a little different watching, having participated in the past couple.

“If that's the way it is, just turn the page and become a fan and start cheering. Hopefully, that changes for the next one.”

Crosby said he watches all the events, not just hockey.

“Literally, I could watch for hours. It doesn't matter what it is,” he said, noting he watched the moguls Monday morning before practice.

As an athlete, he said would like to try skiing but after his NHL career.

“It's probably not the safest thing to do at this point,” he said. “Maybe when I'm done, I'll give it a shot.”

Sullivan was there, too

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan was an assistant coach on then-U.S. men's team at the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy.

“Would we all like to part of it? For sure,” he said. “I think if you ask anybody associated with the game, the Olympics is a unique opportunity. It's a unique experience. It was such an honor to represent your nation.”

He said he will watch the hockey when he has time.

“I've got my hands full,” he said. “I watch a fair amount of Penguins hockey. In my spare time, I'll certainly be watching the other stuff.”

Asked about Crosby not playing for Canada, he said, “Well, I think it gives the U.S. a better chance to win. I'll promise you that.”

Tight race

The Penguins, who play the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday at PPG Paints Arena, have won 12 of 17 games since Jan. 1. But they are only seven points ahead of the eighth-place Carolina Hurricanes, who hold the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

“We're getting points, but we're not really moving that much,” Crosby said. “That tells you how tight and competitive everything is.”

Ryan Reaves, who played for the St. Louis Blues last season, said he is accustomed to tight races.

“I was hoping coming into this division, it would be little bit easier,” he said. “The Central (Division in the Western Conference) seemed to be jammed like this every year, too. Every team just seems to be keeping up with us.”

Injury update

Tom Kuhnhackl and Patric Hornqvist, who are nursing lower-body injuries, did not practice. Sullivan said Carter Rowney took a maintenance day and also didn't practice.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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