Team Canada has won all three of their games so far in Sochi, so naturally, everybody is panicking. The biggest concern: Sidney Crosby has yet to score all the goals and all the points, which makes no sense, since we built him to do exactly that.
Crosby was initially supposed to be paired with Chris Kunitz in this tournament, since Kunitz came pre-loaded with chemistry, but it didn’t work, and when it became apparent that Kunitz was only a star player when he wasn’t surrounded by other star players, he was bumped down the depth chart in favour of Patrice Bergeron and Jamie Benn. It still produced nothing.
Fortunately, Drew Doughty’s star turn was enough for Canada to get past Finland, but the nation is concerned that it won’t be enough going forward. Getting Sidney Crosby back to form is priority one, and that means finding him linemates with whom he clicks.
Why is this so difficult, though? Why does the best player in the world appear to struggle playing with others? Does he smell? Is it just a matter of small sample size? Is it luck, since Crosby is still generating a tonne of chances? Both B and C? (Probably.) But what if it’s something else? Here are 20 theories:
1. Crosby only plays well with Nova Scotians. Next Olympics, his linemates should be Nathan MacKinnon and that hockey-playing lion.
2. Turns out he’s only good if he’s wearing a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey. It is, thus, extremely lucky that he was drafted by Pittsburgh.
3. Crosby forces all potential linemates to undergo rigorous, Bachelor-esque challenges to earn shifts with him. It’s very emotionally exhausting.
4. Before they jump over the boards, Crosby taps both of his linemates on the shoulder and says, “Just remember which one of us is a f***ing champion.”
5. The shutdown power of Patrice Bergeron is an unstoppable force. If he’s within 100 yards, Crosby goes completely quiet.
6. His linemates are sick of hearing him ask, “Does this ice make my ass look small?”
7. He won’t stop mocking his linemates for being inferior hockey players. “Hahahah!” he often shouts, arrogantly. “You call that a pass? Hardly. Let the Cros show you how it’s done.”
8. He misses Evgeni Malkin.
9. He misses Tanner Glass.
10. With so much space to make plays, Crosby is agonizing over his characters’ motivations and trying to get the dialogue in Act II just right.
11. Crosby can’t do anything unless Dan Bylsma tells him to do it. “Crosby. Put puck in net,” Bylsma usually says, and Crosby replies, “Commencing score sequence”.
12. It’s those damn asymmetrical armbands. Crosby can feel it. Don’t ask how. He just can.
13. Drew Doughty is Rogue.
14. When he was invited to Sochi, he thought it was for ice dancing. He’s trying to play through the disappointment, but his heart’s just not in it.
15. When he sleeps, a vent in his room releases a dangerous gas. When queried about it, a Russian official said, “Oh, it’s definitely poison.”
16. He refuses to play well until everyone stops calling him The Kid. “I’m a man!” he shouts in the locker room while lying on his stomach, kicking his legs and pounding the floor with his fists. “A MAN!”
17. He thought he was going to have all of Canada on the ice with him. Instead it’s just five other guys.
18. Coaches keep telling potential linemates that they only have to worry about shooting when they’re on a line with Crosby, so they always just stand in place at centre ice after the faceoff, waiting for an opportunity to do the one thing they’ve been asked to do.
19. He’s purposefully playing poorly to force Babcock to put him with his preferred linemates: Jarome Iginla and Bill McCreary.
20. Someone told him the Russian word for water is “vodka”. He is so drunk.