With another hockey season just around the corner, TSN.ca looks back at the most unforgettable moments of 2009-10; from Stanley Cup overtime to Canadian Olympic gold and everything in between; join us as TSN.ca revisits Hockey's Unforgettable Moments from the last 12 months. Game on!
For Canadians, Sidney Crosby’s Golden Goal will forever be remembered as the perfect capper to a Golden Olympics.
In fact, if a Canadian had been given a book with blank pages and asked to write a storybook ending, this is pretty much exactly how it would have gone: overtime against the U.S. and Crosby scoring the thrilling winner to give Canada the most gold medals ever by a country at the Winter Olympics. Yeah, that sounds about right.
There had been unbelievable pressure on the Canadian men’s hockey squad heading into the Games. That’s always the case, of course, but this time it was heightened. The red and white’s underwhelming showing in Turin in 2006 was still weighing on the minds of hockey fans across the nation. The Vancouver Olympics would be the perfect showcase for a country that had to prove it was still the best on the ice.
Nothing less than gold would be accepted.
With a very successful overall Olympic performance coming to an end, Canada was to face the USA in the gold medal final; the last event in what had been a whirlwind couple of weeks out West.
Canada’s amateur athletes had taken home an impressive haul of medals and had made the country proud. But there was one more matter to settle, and it was a rather large one to boot.
With the game winding down, Mike Babcock’s squad was leading the USA 2-1. Canucks everywhere could taste victory and it was going to be oh-so-sweet.
That is until, with 24 seconds to go, USA sniper Zach Parise picked up a rebound off Team Canada goaltender Roberto Luongo and buried it. About 34 million people north of the border had their hearts drop into their stomachs. As the rest of the game played out and the buzzer sounded, sudden-death overtime loomed.
After a nerve-wracking 15-minute intermission, the extra frame began. Each rush back and forth brought a wave of almost unbearable emotion; each and every shot on net was either a massive, Canada-wide party or a soul-crushing buzz kill waiting to happen.
And then, at the seven minute and 40 second mark of overtime, it happened.
Crossing the blue line, Crosby tried to split the USA defence and was only able to muster a soft shot on Team USA goaltender Ryan Miller, who played the puck to the corner. #87 himself picked it up and then fed the puck to linemate Jarome Iginla along the boards. Amid double coverage, Iginla fed a pass back out to Crosby. The goal wasn’t particularly pretty, but it didn’t matter. Crosby fired one through Miller and an entire country rejoiced.
"I was sitting next to (commentator) Chris Cuthbert when Crosby scored," says TSN hockey analyst Ray Ferraro. "We were across the ice, had a great view. There didn't appear to be great danger, but Crosby covered the 15 feet or so he needed so quickly, and the puck was in almost suddenly. It was one of the best games I have ever seen live, and given the build-up, it matched all my expectations."
"That's Sid for you," said Olympic teammate Ryan Getzlaf. "There's a reason he's the best player in the world. He always shows up in those big moments and scores those big goals."
"It's like the hockey gods were watching the game and watching on Sid," said teammate Maxime Talbot. "He's the face of Hockey Canada. It just seems perfect.”
For Dave Hodge of TSN’s the Reporters, one thing still lingers when watching the replay of the goal.
"I still wonder why Miller played the puck to the corner instead of freezing it," says Hodge. "USA defenders were not in a position to play the puck and Crosby's attack was simply kept alive when it could have been halted."
Like most Canadians, TSN reporter John Lu has his own special memories of that incredible day, when it seemed there was a tangible buzz in the air from coast to coast.
"The ‘Golden Goal’ will always be special to me because the moment that Crosby scored, my wife and I jumped off the couch and yelled, hooted and hollered," Lu says. "My two dogs went crazy. Six months later the elder dog was killed by a hit and run driver. I don't think he cared for hockey, but he always reacted to my excitement when we would watch games together."
Imagining, for just a moment, that there had been a different ending to that game, it's hard to comprehend the blow that the nation's collective morale would have taken if, say, Phil Kessel had rocketed a slapshot into the top corner behind Roberto Luongo in OT, sending Team USA into hysterics in front of a stunned and silent crowd at GM Place and a distraught nation watching at home.
Had that happened, it would have created an entirely different sporting history, an alternate cultural reality to look back on. Some people would probably still be getting over it. But that's not how things went down. When it mattered most, Canada came out on top. That's how the story was written, and that's how it will always read.
Because of that, Crosby's goal will forever hold a special place in that elite echelon of the greatest Canadian sporting moments - right up there with Paul Henderson’s Summit Series marker - in the nation's sporting subconscious. Every Canadian remembers where they were; it was a truly unforgettable moment.
"It's a dream come true," Crosby said after the game. "To have a chance to score in overtime, here in Canada, it doesn't get much better than that."
That just about says it all.
We hope you enjoyed TSN.ca's review of the most Unforgettable Hockey Moments from the past 12 months. Like you, we can't wait for more unforgettable moments from the upcoming season.
What are your own personal memories from the day that Crosby scored and Canada won gold? Where did you watch the game? How did you celebrate? Let us know with the Your Call feature below!