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Crosby relieved to return with gold

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POSTED February 27, 2014 12:30 a.m.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Sidney Crosby’s second Olympic experience was less dramatic and just as rewarding. Crosby returned from Sochi, Russia, with his second Olympic gold medal, this one as the captain of the Canadian team. Leading a national team certainly brings a different sense of responsibility, but the same expectation.

“I think everybody feels a sense of pride, but also a sense of relief knowing you were able to do what everybody expected,” Crosby said Wednesday. “It’s not easy to win, but to be able to go in there with the goal of winning and achieve it is a great feeling.”

Now, Crosby and fellow Canadian gold medalist Chris Kunitz are ready for a return to normalcy in the NHL, joining head coach Dan Bylsma and five Olympic teammates, including Russia’s Evgeni Malkin, as the first-place Penguins prepare for a stretch run that features 24 games in 46 days.

“It’s good to get into a routine again,” Crosby said. “Managing rest is something we definitely have to keep in mind.”

Canada steamrolled through Sochi, allowing three goals in six games for its third gold medal in the last four Olympics and record ninth overall.

“Everybody talks about our defense, but I think we were able to control the puck a lot in the offensive zone and when you do that teams don’t get a lot of time or energy to come against you,” Crosby said.

The Canadians, who became the first team to go unbeaten through the Olympic tournament in 30 years, never trailed, a dominating effort that culminated in back-to-back shutouts of the United States and Sweden in the semifinals and gold medal game.

“The last three games, especially, we were at our best, but I think we got better as it went on,” Crosby said.

Once again, Crosby’s shining moment came in the gold medal game, this time during the second period against Sweden when he deked goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to the ice before depositing a backhander across the line.

“We hadn’t had a two-goal lead that often up to that point and with the way we had been playing to get a two-goal lead was nice,” Crosby said. “I think that was going through my mind more than the fact that I hadn’t scored yet.”

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