'Sid the Kid' ready to be the man in Sochi

Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:00pm EST
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By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - For Canadians Sidney Crosby is an ice hockey God.

A superhero with a hockey stick wearing the Maple Leaf on his chest who came to the hockey mad country's rescue four years ago at the Vancouver Winter Games by scoring the golden goal against the United States that crowned Canada Olympic champions.

'Sid the Kid', the all-Canadian boy from tiny Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia with impeccable politeness and magical talent, was the toast of the Great White North.

A once in a generation player who would carry the Canadian flag and hockey hopes of his country for years to come, Crosby's future seemed as bright as the shiny gold medal that hung around his neck.

But the architect of one of the greatest moments in Canadian sporting history would spend a good portion of the next two years not in the spotlight but sitting in the dark, his brilliance dimmed by sport's latest scourge - concussions.

Just 23 years old when he was flattened by a David Steckel shoulder on New Year's day 2011, there were concerns Crosby might never again grace NHL arenas. If he did return, concussion experts warned the Pittsburgh Penguins captain may never be the same dynamic force he was.

But after a long, tedious recovery Crosby heads to Russia once again at the peak of his powers.

When Canada announced its Olympic lineup to the usual scrutiny and fanfare on January 7, Crosby's name was back at the top of the NHL scoring table with 65 points on 24 goals and 41 assists.   Continued...

Oct 17, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) celebrates his goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center. The Penguins defeated the Flyers, 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports