Elliotte Friedman’s 32 thoughts blog is back, and there was only one Penguin related note, but it was a doozy.
10.Nathan MacKinnon confirmed a good little rumour — that Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid skated as linemates at a Montreal camp; some pre-Olympic practice. MacKinnon half-joked he didn’t like it, because they won every game. “Way to keep it fair,” he laughed. The Avalanche forward, by the way, spent a lot of time on a line with Mitch Marner.
For many, many years in competitions from World Juniors to multiple Olympics and the World Cup of Hockey, Crosby has been typically on a line with Patrice Bergeron, and later Brad Marchand. That’s been a tremendously successful line, as Canada has won practically every major competition with that duo (Crosby-Bergeron) and then trio.
Bergeron remains one of the most productive forwards in the world, and Bergeron as a seemingly perennial Selke nominee or winner is no slouch himself, but the idea of change at the national level for Crosby is an exciting thought.
Right now, Connor McDavid is in his absolute prime and just demolishing the competition. He scored 105 points last year, only his Edmonton teammate Leon Draisaitl (84) was even remotely in McDavid’s area code. McDavid has won the scoring title in three of the five last NHL seasons, finishing in second place in the two years he hasn’t won it.
All this material gives Canada an embarrassment of riches to configure their lines. They could always shift back to the tried and true Marchand-Crosby-Bergeron line deep in the tournament if they need to do so. But they can also create the super line of the best player of the 2000’s and 2010’s in Crosby, and now the best player of the 2020’s in McDavid to present offensive muscle that will be incredibly difficult to compete with.
Will Crosby and McDavid find themselves working together in Beijing this February? It looks like a real possibility. That’s something that might keep Team USA coach Mike Sullivan up at night, as he will have to go up against Sid for the first time in his coaching career.