Winners, losers in Sidney Crosby’s decision to play in IIHF worlds

Winners, losers in Sidney Crosby’s decision to play in IIHF worlds

Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins announced on Saturday that he’s headed to the IIHF world championships in Prague.

It’s a bit of a surprise, given that Crosby hasn’t appeared in one since 2006 and given that Team Canada has said it wanted to go younger. But, um, we imagine they’ll make an exception here.

Here are some winners and losers in this rather momentous decision for Sid…

WINNER: The IIHF world championships

This tournament means a whole lot to the rest of the world but doesn’t resonate in North America. It’s like the NIT to the Stanley Cup’s March Madness. But having Sidney Crosby in this tournament for the first time since 2006 – when he posted 16 points in nine games – gives this thing a jolt for Canadian and American fans that it otherwise wouldn't have gotten. And by that we mean American fans might try to actually find the games on their cable systems.

LOSER: NHL’s World Cup Of Hockey

One of the novelties of the World Cup was seeing Crosby do something he rarely does: Play in all-star games and tournaments. One year before the World Cup, Sid will skate with some of Canada’s best and brightest in a tournament the NHL is trying to usurp with its own international ventures. (And let’s not forget that, come Monday, we could have Crosby AND Alex Ovechkin in the IIHF world championships. You think a few people might tune in for that Canada vs. Russia game?)

WINNER: TSN

Pierre LeBrun was super happy for Crosby’s decision, which we’re sure has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that TSN can now promote the face of the NHL as the face if its IIHF world championship coverage, which begins on Friday against Latvia and can be seen live on TSN1, TSN3, TSN4 and TSN5 starting at 10am et/7am pt. Not a bad little consolation prize for TSN’s first postseason without the NHL after the Rogers deal.

LOSER: Sportsnet

Not only do they not have Crosby and the Penguins in the postseason any longer, but it’s not like they can ignore a Crosby-led Team Canada team that can only be seen on a rival network.

WINNER: Sidney Crosby

There are 25 players who have won “triple gold” in hockey, i.e. an Olympic gold, a Stanley Cup and an IIHF world championship. Sid has two of those checked off but didn’t win gold back in 2006 (that was Sweden). Considering the Penguins don’t make it a habit of leaving the playoffs this early, his chances at this don’t come annually. So now Sid has a shot at joining contemporaries like Patrice Bergeron, Eric Staal and Jonathan Toews as triple-gold Canadians.

LOSER: City of Columbus

Just a reminder that Crosby couldn’t travel from Pittsburgh to Columbus for a non-skating cameo appearance for the fans at an all-star game to which he was selected, but will fly to Prague after 87 games this season to play in an exhibition tournament.

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