From Rival To Teammate

Photo: Don Wright-USA Today

By Victor Cabrera

In the last Stanley Cup Final Joe “Jumbo” Thornton and Sidney “Sid The Kid” Crosby were bitter rivals as the Sharks and Penguins battled it out in a 6 game series that the Pittsburgh Penguins won. While Crosby hoisted Lord Stanley for the 2nd time as the captain in his young career, Thornton had finally reached the Finals in his 19th season. Their encounter did not go well in Game 2 of the series in which Crosby attempted a check and Thornton responded aggressively by punching Crosby’s helmet off and then cross-checking him. The series loss would definitely be a Thorn for Joe and the rest of the Shark’s organization. However, it would be only a few short weeks in which that had to be left behind.

Both Thornton and Crosby would be selected to represent Canada in the World Cup of Hockey. Crosby would be chosen as Captain and these two players would have to set aside the previous altercation they had during the Stanley Cup Final. The differences would be settled as Crosby would assist Thornton in his first goal of the World Cup against the Czech Republic, a game that Canada would win 6-0. Canada would continue a hot streak and go undefeated to reach the World Cup Finals where they would face Team Europe in a best of 3 series.

Canada’s undefeated streak was on the line needing to only win 2 more games to be crowned champions. Both Sidney Crosby and Joe Thornton along were playing in consecutive finals (Stanley Cup and World Cup) but this time they could both win or both lose. Canada would win game 1 by the final score of 3-1. However, game 2 become a very dramatic game as if Canada won they were champions and undefeated. Game 2 started with the Veteran Zdeno Chara of the Bruins scoring in the 1st period putting Canada behind on the scoreboard. Canada was unable to find an answer in the remainder of the 1st and 2nd period. Till late in the 3rd period on the power play Patrice Bergeron was able to tie the game. It looked like Game 2 was going to result in overtime. But, Drew Doughty would take a penalty and leave Canada short-handed late in the 3rd. During the penalty kill on an offensive rush the unthinkable occurred Jonathan Toews was able to skate through the offensive zone and force the defenders to follow, where he was able to give a drop pass to the oncoming Brad Marchand who shot stick side and beat Halak in net for the game-winning goal with 44 seconds remaining in the game.

Game 2 would end in that dramatic scene and would ultimately allow Crosby the captain to hoist the cup.  The World Cup of Hockey resulted in an accolade for Crosby and Thornton in their spectacular careers. This final wasn’t for the team but national pride and to bring the home fans another glorious achievement. With the differences set aside that occur from NHL teams, Canada was able to accomplish the hope of being the 2016 World Cup Champions.

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