Sidney Crosby will not play at the 2012 IIHF World Championships. When it was announced on Tuesday, you could hear the faint cries of “hockey fans” across Canada and the world – if it was a truly international sport.
You could hear the drowned-out voices of folks saying, “If I had that much money and I would play for my country… If that was me… If I were Sidney Crosby…”
You could hear them moan and whine that the best player in the world has refused to suit up in Canadian colours for another year, because the World Championships just aren’t the Olympics, or the World Cup, or even the World Juniors. To Canadians, at least.
And, those people would be right if they weren’t wrong. We should enjoy Crosby not being involved, as much as he should enjoy the break. I mean, really, shouldn’t this be a nice break from him? From watching him, hearing about him, or caring about him?
This is a chance to showcase the players that make Canada not just the best Olympic team, but the best hockey country. Period. No, Canada’s not number one right now, but regardless of their standing they will always be the team to beat.
And, besides, the World Championships is chicken fodder for NHL players. This year, because their teams have already been eliminated or may be soon, the Canadians could realistically start Roberto Luongo, Martin Brodeur, and Marc-Andre Fleury in goal – the same three who started for Canada in Vancouver in 2010.
Martin St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier, and Steven Stamkos could be their own line. Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins and Gagner could all play together, too. You could see Thornton, Heatley, and Marleau reunited.
Some of them might. Not all will. Not all should.
If the Senators lose tonight, all seven Canadian clubs could throw their Canadian stars into it, too.
But, who cares?
Sidney Crosby doesn’t want to go and he shouldn’t, anyway. Any player who rushes back to beat a concussion that has plagued his being for over 12 months shouldn’t go through another two weeks of contact hockey in across foreign waters.
We’re upset that star players are tossing this game off their whiteboard because we’re upset that they’re taking for granted what we all wish we could do.
But, really, we all take things for granted. We all avoid calls from our parents sometimes, even if we’re free to talk. We all hit the snooze button some morning, even if it might make us late for work. We all risk relationships by forgetting anniversaries, birthdays, or not noticing hair cuts.
And yet, there are people out there who have no parents, or who have no job to sleep through, or who aren’t in a relationship who resent those things.
So, yes, Sidney Crosby is a professional hockey player, and we all wish we were in his shoes. We all wish we could play in the World Championships. We may even say that we would “play the game for free” if we could (which isn’t really true).
But, would it be a shock if Sidney Crosby never attends another World Championship? He did once, in 2006, after his rookie season. Would it be a big deal if the same guy who skipped his CHL Top Prospects Game in 2005 skipped another run-of-the-mill hockey tournament that only mattered to Slovakians, Czechs, and Norwegians?
Of course not. We’ll make it one. But, it’s not.
Heck, even the guys who play in this thing every year they can don’t sound to jacked.
“Really, I don’t have a choice,” said Russia’s Evgeni Malkin.
Yes, you have a duty to represent your country. But, at the same, Sid’s done his due dilligence. He’s been there before. He plays his heart out, even if some have criticized his on-ice antics.
He’s not the only one who will skip it, but he may be the most noticeable.
In the end, maybe we should be happy that we can watch someone else have a chance at the spotlight.
White Cover Staff
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