Penguins Notebook: Crosby's Olympic-winning goal still hot topic
March 28, 2010 8:00 AM
Peter Diana / Post-Gazette
Chris Kunitz's goal late in the first period pulled the Penguins even with the Flyers.
By Shelly Anderson Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Maybe in years to come, the description will get embellished -- but not likely by Sidney Crosby.
Hyperbole is not in Crosby's nature. Scoring goals is, and the one he potted four weeks ago, Feb. 28, will be talked about for decades.
The Penguins captain was on loan to Team Canada when he beat American goaltender Ryan Miller at 7:40 of overtime for a 3-2 win in the gold-medal game of the Vancouver Olympics, securing the tournament championship for the host nation.
It's a safe bet that Crosby will be asked about that play for the rest of his days.
"That's not a terrible thing," Crosby said Saturday after he had three assists in the Penguins' 4-1 win against Philadelphia at Mellon Arena.
Matchup: Penguins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, 5:08 p.m. today, Mellon Arena.
TV, radio: FSN Pittsburgh, WXDX-FM (105.9).
Probable goaltenders: Brent Johnson for Penguins. J.S. Giguere for Maple Leafs.
Penguins: Are 3-3-2 in past eight games. ... Max Talbot is one game shy of 300 for career. ... Are 8-5-1 in second half of back-to-back games.
Maple Leafs: Had won seven of past nine before playing New York Rangers last night. ... Were 5-9-2 vs. Atlantic Division. ... Are 5-9-1 in second of back-to-back games.
Hidden stat: Alexei Ponikarovsky has two goals, seven points in 11 games since being traded from Toronto to the Penguins; Luca Caputi had one goal, five points in 11 games for Maple Leafs before last night since being part of same trade.
His monumental Olympic goal has been likened to the one scored by Paul Henderson in 1972 to give Canada a win against the Soviet Union in the Summit Series, and to the one scored by Penguins Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux in the 1987 Canada Cup as Team Canada beat the Soviets.
"It's pretty neat," Crosby said. "I wasn't born when Paul Henderson scored. My birth year, Mario scored a big one in the Canada Cup. I remember watching in 2002 when Canada won [the Olympic gold medal] in Salt Lake.
"Those are things that I always remember, and maybe kids that are the same age as I was will remember this one."
One month afterward, this is Crosby's simple description of the goal:
"I was on the rush and tried to go around the [defensemen]. The puck ended up going in the corner. It kind of got caught up in the corner. [Linemate Jarome] Iginla won the puck out of the corner and kind of pushed it to me. I just tried to shoot it quickly and beat him five-hole."
Celebrating the arena
Players Ken Schinkel, Les Binkley, Gene Ubriaco and Andy Bathgate, coach Red Sullivan and general manager Jack Riley were part of the first Penguins' game at what was then called the Civic Arena, a 2-1 loss to Montreal Oct. 11, 1967. They will be back April 8 as part of a celebration for the final regular-season game at Mellon Arena. The Penguins are playing the New York Islanders.
Also among the more than 50 former Penguins who will be part of the fanfare will be Hall of Famers Lemieux, Paul Coffey, Bryan Trottier, Craig Patrick, Larry Murphy and Bathgate; and former stars Jean Pronovost, Syl Apps, Dave Burrows, Bryan Watson and Ron Schock.
It will be the 1,667th regular-season game at the arena. The Penguins are moving across the street to the Consol Energy Center next season.
In a change from tradition, the Penguins will have their annual team awards ceremony before the Saturday afternoon game that weekend against Atlanta rather than before the final regular-season home game.
Beware of last-place team
Thoughts of Crosby's rookie year, 2005-06, when the Penguins did not make the playoffs, are enough to convince him the Penguins should be wary of Toronto, a team in last place in the Eastern Conference as it comes to Mellon Arena tonight.
"We were in this position a few years ago and we were trying to play spoiler," Crosby said.
"We were looking at the games and counting it down and trying to leave everything out there.
"We've got more than enough motivation with what's going on with our team -- standings and things like that -- so there shouldn't be [any letdown]. We'll expect to have that same intensity [today]."
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury got his first assist this season but could not recall getting the puck to Jordan Leopold, whose rebound was put in by Chris Kunitz. Fleury learned about the assist "when I heard my name." ... In something of a surprise given the heated nature of the teams' rivalry, enforcers Eric Godard of the Penguins and Riley Cote of the Flyers were healthy scratches. ... Flyers goaltender Johan Backlund, a 28-year-old who spent his career in Sweden before signing as a free agent a year ago, made his NHL debut, but tweaked a groin injury and was replaced after the second period by Brian Boucher.