PPG PAINTS ARENA JUNE 8, 2017
LOVE HIM OR hate him – and those two camps seem to be fairly equal in size – there is no disputing Sidney Crosby was put on Earth to play hockey. He lives for big moments and, more often than not, he delivers. That was without a doubt the case in Game 5 when Crosby, from his first spectacular shift of the game, took his teammates on his back and willed them to a 6-0 win. He had three assists in the game, and we were once again left marveling at his capabilities. “I don’t know that I’ve been around an athlete, not just a hockey player but an athlete, that is as driven as Sid is,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan. “I think Sid really understands the opportunity that this team has, and he’s not taking anything for granted.” It seemed Crosby, who was by far the Penguins’ best player in their Game 4 loss, was insistent upon putting his fingerprints on every aspect of the game. Late in the first period when he and P.K. Subban got tangled up behind the Penguins net, Crosby took Subban down and drilled his head into the ice no fewer than half a dozen times, with referee Brad Meier standing feet away and watching the whole thing before giving each player a minor penalty. Crosby and his teammates were one win away from becoming the first back-toback champions in almost two decades. But they faced a huge challenge trying to win in Nashville, where the locals wanted the Country Music Awards to be the only baubles given out there that weekend. Of the Penguins’ four Stanley Cups, none had come on home ice. That set them up well for Game 6, but with the way these playoffs had played out it was best not to expect anything conventional.