Updated:SOCHI, Russia —
To point out that hockey lovers will be watching Sidney Crosby at these Olympics is perilously close to redundancy: They're always watching the Penguins' captain.
Even if it means following him halfway around the globe.
So when the standard crush of Canadian media descended on him after that country's first practice on Monday at Bolshoy Ice Dome, he greeted the group wearily after a long flight that day but with his usual, unmistakable smile.
What will it be like, having scored the golden goal in Vancouver four years ago, to be Canada's captain this time?
“I don't feel any different, really, other than knowing a lot more guys and maybe being familiar with what's going on at an Olympics, what to expect,” Crosby said. “You're maybe at ease a little more. Other than that, I think there are so many leaders on this team you don't really have to try to do too much.”
Did he sleep on the 10-hour National Hockey League charter flight?
“A little bit; not much. I'd been trying to set my sleeping patterns for the time here.”
What does he think of the Los Angeles Kings' Jeff Carter, the sharpshooting linemate he and the Penguins' Chris Kunitz were assigned for practice?
“The things that stick out are his speed and his shot. But really, anybody you play with on this team, it isn't going to be a problem.”
And what about the Russians' heavily buzzed concoction of Evgeni Malkin, the Washington Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin and the Carolina Hurricanes' Alexander Semin?
“I think you're going to see a lot of good ones here, but yeah, that's pretty dangerous.”
With Canada opening on Thursday against Norway, what has him most excited?
He laughed slightly: “I'm excited to get to bed tonight.”
(Dejan Kovacevic is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @Dejan_Kovacevic.)