Penguins C SIDNEY CROSBY on his selection Wednesday morning by Hockey Canada to the Canadian men’s ice hockey roster for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics:
Q: What was it like to get that call?
A: It was pretty exciting. We were actually in a meeting so I missed the first call. I was happy to get it, and I’m very excited.
Q: Was much said on the call?
A: No, not a lot. I’m sure things are pretty busy. It was just congratulations. He told me I was on the team and that people would be in touch. It was really nice to get that call.
Q: What are your overall thoughts on being named to the team?
A: From here on in it’s going to be a pretty popular subject, not that it wasn’t already. To be able to put faces on the team; I think everyone is getting more and more excited for it, and this is the next step in that process.
It’s going to be neat to see the amount of talent and skill players that are going to be part of that group.
Q: Do you feel your role in the Penguins’ recent success will allow you to be a leader among the younger players on the team?
A: You always want to lead by example, and you try to use your experiences the best you can to try and prepare yourself. For any of the younger guys we’ve got some pretty unbelievable leaders in that room. Look at (Scott) Niedermayer, (Jarome) Iginla and (Chris) Pronger — these guys have been in this situation and we can learn a lot from them. As a young guy, you need to just lead with your game and do the best that you can. We haven’t been through an Olympics like these guys have; they know what to expect and are prepared for it. A lot of us will be just following the great example they have (set).
Q: With all the pressure on Canada, will it be possible to have any fun?
A: You have to. It’s an exciting time and certainly there is pressure, but that’s something … you deal with in those situations. It’s also why you love to play those games and it’s a challenge you look forward to.
There’s no doubt people have high expectations in Canada, but it’s always been that way. That’s what we’ve gotten used to, and it’s because people care. You get used to that; but yeah, you enjoy it, and you do your best to beat those expectations.
Q: Was (Steve) Yzerman the one that called you?
A: Yeah. That was someone I grew up watching a lot and was a role model for me. To receive the call from him was pretty special.
Q: Do you care who is team captain?
A: No. It’s an honor to be on the team. That’s the main thing. I’ve said it before, but there are a lot of guys who are more than capable of being the captain. I don’t look at myself as being the captain. That’s not going to happen. There are so many guys that have played in more Olympics, more Stanley Cup Finals and things like that. There’s a lot of experience. I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Q: Have you seen (Mario Lemieux’s) gold medal?
A: No. I haven’t seen it.
Q: Is that by design?
A: No, I just haven’t, uh … I know he has one. I don’t need to see it. (laughs)
Q: What does it mean to wear Canada’s colors at the Olympics?
A: This is something you grow up watching. I remember watching (the) Salt Lake (City Games in 2002) and really wanting to be a part of the Olympics. It’s more than just hockey; you’re talking about a celebration of sports around the world, and representing Canada; being a hockey player, a sport that is so important to Canada; having it in Canada. I feel really lucky to have that opportunity.
Q: How much trash talking has there been between you and Evgeni Malkin?
A: None. It’s probably something we don’t really want to joke about. We realize the rivalry there goes way beyond me and him, and goes back before him and I were even born. As we get closer maybe there will be a little bit, but I think we both realize that’s an intense rivalry. Nothing needs to be said. We both know where that stands. I don’t think it’s something that’s going to be discussed a whole lot.
Q: Would you understand Geno’s trash talk?
A: (laughs) Not all of it probably, but he’d probably like it better that way.
Q: Are you pretty proud to be a Canadian today?
A: Yeah. I always am; but definitely today is special. You dream of this. To get that call is pretty amazing.
Q: Have you had a chance to take in everything you’ve accomplished in five years?
A: I feel pretty lucky. I know that I’ve worked hard. I’ve worked really hard, but there’s been a lot of guys that have worked really hard for their first five years in the league and haven’t had the luck of having that happen to them. I feel pretty fortunate … to have a lot of these opportunities at a young age. There are a lot of guys who have worked just as hard and maybe haven’t had those things happen for them.
It’s nice, but I don’t really think about those things a whole lot. It’s something that when things are all said and done might be nice to look back; but you’re always looking ahead and what’s left to be accomplished.
Q: What do you expect the next month or so to be like for the Penguins who are going to the Olympics?
A: It’s important just to worry about doing what we have to do here. That’s the best way to handle things. As long as you are focusing on your game here and getting it to where it needs to be, hopefully what will help our team.
This is something we’ve all kind of dealt with in different scenarios. You learn how to handle that and how to approach it. Guys are pretty mature like that. I don’t see that really being a distraction or changing anything.