May 13, 2010, 6:00 PM EDT
To little surprise, Sidney Crosby turned down an invitation to play for Team Canada in the 2010 IIHF World Championships. Here’s the Associated Press story.
Crosby, who played in all but one of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 95 games this season, including playoffs, turned down the invitation on Thursday after being asked to replace the injured Ryan Smyth (ankle).
Crosby was invited a few hours after the reigning Stanley Cup champion Penguins lost 5-2 to Montreal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Penguins played in the Stanley Cup finals the last two seasons and have had only two calendar months off – July and August of last year – since the 2008-09 season started in October 2008.
On some level, I’m kind of surprised so many players go to that tournament year after year. Especially this summer, after many of them played a full schedule plus those pressure-packed Olympic games.
Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings who played in both Stanley Cup Finals should be given an even bigger pass because they’ve played an unbelievable amount of hockey the past three seasons. When you consider the wear-and-tear endured from an 82-game regular season alone, the elite level condition pro players are in in really smacks you in the face.
Perhaps a few people will be angry that Crosby decided to finally take a breather, but most should look at his 2010 Vancouver Olympics gold medal and let him be. At least on this issue.
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