How things have changed for key U.S., Canadian players since Sidney Crosby’s golden goal

Sidney Crosby
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A simple, quick shot from Sidney Crosby won gold for Canada in men’s hockey in Vancouver, earning an iconic triumph for the host country.

It also (understandably) wiped away the memory of U.S. forward Zach Parise’s timely tying goal, which sent that gold medal game to overtime on Feb. 28, 2010.

For those who watch most (if not all) of their hockey during the Olympics, the question might be: “What has happened since then?” Olympic Talk takes a look back at those goals and how life has changed for some of the key figures involved.

CROSBY ENTERS PRIME, FACES TURMOIL

source: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

Along with Paul Henderson, Crosby cemented himself as a legend among many Canadian fans for scoring that goal. He recounted his spotty memory of that moment in an oral history from NHL.com:

“I just remember just little snapshots. I don’t even remember necessarily scoring. Just right before it, kind of the anticipation. Knowing that there was some space and [being] kind of all alone in front. That’s kind of what I remember, that kind of desperation to hopefully get the puck there and put it in. Everything after that is kind of a blur.”

With that goal, Crosby already had a Stanley Cup ring and gold medal on his resume at age 22. He’s dealt with some peaks and valleys since then, as concussion issues and playoff disappointments are accompanied by his still-blistering NHL scoring.

Now, if he could just generate more offense in the Olympics …

Jarome Iginla – the man who sent the pass to Crosby; the player who prompted the Canadian star to yell “Iggy!” – is currently playing for the Boston Bruins after a brief spell with Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins. He didn’t make the Canadian Olympic team this time around.

ZACH PARISE MOVES, PATRICK KANE RISES

source: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

Zach Parise has an interesting perspective on that situation. He’s the guy who buried the goal that sent the game to OT (after some great work by Patrick Kane), but was also on the ice for Crosby’s game-winning tally. He admitted to NHL.com that those moments follow him even as he left the New Jersey Devils for the Minnesota Wild.

“To this day we get reminded of it all the time and you get asked about what it felt like to come that close. So it never really goes away. Two days later you have to go back and start up your NHL season but you never really completely block it out of your mind. You never forget how it felt to lose that game.”

One could argue that Kane is the player with the highest highs and lowest lows following this tournament. There have been off-the-ice troubles, yet the crafty winger won two Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks since that silver medal run and continues to climb the ranks of the league’s elite scorers.

RYAN MILLER’S UPS AND DOWNS

source: Reuters
Credit: Reuters

Ryan Miller was the U.S. goalie who allowed that goal, which is something he dealt with some time, even if he doesn’t beat himself up about it any longer.

Immediately following that performance, the silver medalist received deserved credit for outstanding work throughout the Olympics. He was named the tournament MVP. A Pittsburgh crowd booed its own star Crosby and cheered him in a game right after that run. Miller carried that Olympic momentum into the remainder of that NHL season to win his only Vezina trophy for best goalie.

Things haven’t been so great since that 2009-10 season, however, as he’s struggled – at least in the standings – with the Buffalo Sabres. He’s also backing up Jonathan Quick, so Miller attempting to thwart Crosby this time around may be a bad sign (being that Quick would either get pulled or injured in that situation).

ROBERTO LUONGO’S STRANGE JOURNEY

source: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

Much like Miller, Canadian goalie Roberto Luongo made his team’s roster but hasn’t been chosen as the No. 1 guy. Despite that gold medal on his resume, Luongo finds himself as Carey Price’s backup.

Goalie controversies are nothing new to Luongo, who has faced turmoil despite being the go-to goalie for 2010 host city Vancouver’s Canucks. He suffered a painful loss against the Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, dealt with a soap opera in the competition he faced with former Canucks backup Cory Schneider and is cast as a frequent scapegoat in the city despite that gold medal.

Luongo has shown a great sense of humor via Twitter and took the situation in stride, as Canada.com reports.

“That’s what I enjoy the most, just being part of the Olympics and the Olympic experience,” Luongo said. “Obviously, hockey’s there but if you can’t enjoy the whole experience, you’re not here for the right reasons.”

***

For Canadians in particular, Crosby’s golden goal will live on for a long, long time. As you can see, some of the main characters in that exciting game show that it’s far from a final act, however.

The two teams are likely to stage some unforgettable scenes on Friday, too … even if a few characters are missing.

In a tie, Wendy Holdener puts to rest a remarkable stat in Alpine skiing

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Swiss Wendy Holdener ended one of the most remarkable victory droughts in sports by tying for the win with Swede Anna Swenn Larsson in a World Cup slalom in Killington, Vermont, on Sunday.

Holdener, after 15 second-place finishes and 15 third-place finishes in her career, stood on the top step of a World Cup slalom podium for the first time. She shared it with Swenn Larsson, who had six World Cup slalom podiums before Sunday and also earned her first win.

They beat Austrian Katharina Truppe by .22 of a second combining times from two runs.

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Holdener, 29, previously won three World Cups in other disciplines, plus two world championships in the combined and Olympic and world titles in the team event.

“To be tied first when I came into the finish was such a relief,” Holdener said while shoulder to shoulder with Swenn Larsson. “On the end, it’s perfect, because now we can share our first win together.”

Mikaela Shiffrin had the best first-run time but lost her lead midway through the second run and finished fifth. Shiffrin, who won the first two slaloms this season last weekend, was bidding for a 50th World Cup slalom victory and a sixth win in six slaloms in Killington.

“I fought. I think some spots I got a little bit off my timing, but I was pushing, and that’s slalom,” she said before turning her attention to Holdener and Swenn Larsson. “It’s a pretty special day, actually.”

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup moves next weekend to Lake Louise, Alberta, with two downhills and a super-G.

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Injured Ilia Malinin wins Grand Prix Finland, qualifies for Grand Prix Final

Ilia Malinin
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Ilia Malinin, competing “a little bit injured” this week, still won Grand Prix Finland and goes into the Grand Prix Final in two weeks as the world’s top-ranked male singles skater.

Malinin, who was second after Friday’s short program, landed four clean quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate to overtake Frenchman Kevin Aymoz.

Malinin, who landed a quad flip in competition for the first time, according to SkatingScores.com, also attempted a quad Axel to open his program, but spun out of the landing and put his hand down on the ice.

Malinin also won his previous two starts this season in come-from-behind fashion. The 17-year-old world junior champion became the first skater to land a clean, fully rotated quad Axel in September, then did it again in October at Skate America, where he posted the world’s top overall score this season.

Next, Malinin can become the second-youngest man to win the Grand Prix Final after Russian Yevgeny Plushenko. His biggest competition is likely to be world champion Shoma Uno of Japan, who like Malinin won both of his Grand Prix starts this fall. Malinin and Uno have not gone head-to-head this season.

Grand Prix Finland highlights air on NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

FIGURE SKATING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Earlier, Japan’s Mai Mihara overtook world silver medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium to become the only woman to win both of her Grand Prix starts this season. Mihara prevailed by .23 of a point. The top three women this season by best total score are Japanese, led by a junior skater, 14-year-old Mao Shimada, who isn’t Olympic age-eligible until 2030.

Mihara and Hendrickx qualified for the Grand Prix Final, joining world champion Kaori Sakamoto and Rinka Watanabe, both of Japan, South Korean Yelim Kim and American Isabeau Levito, the world junior champion.

Italians Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini won both pairs’ programs and qualified for their first Grand Prix Final.

Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara and Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier headline the Final. Both pairs won each of their Grand Prix starts earlier this fall. The Japanese have the world’s two best scores this season. The Americans are reigning world champions.

At least one Russian or Chinese pair made every Grand Prix Final podium — usually pairs from both countries — but neither nation competed in pairs this Grand Prix season. All Russian skaters are banned due to the war in Ukraine. China’s lone entry on the Grand Prix across all disciplines was an ice dance couple.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier improved on their world-leading score for this season in winning the ice dance by 17.03 points over Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker. Both couples qualified for the Grand Prix Final in the absence of all three Olympic medalists this fall.

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