This story was originally published by Sportsnet.
Sidney Crosby has to think about it but only for two seconds.
The only player to captain all three national teams on his Triple Gold Club membership card, Crosby takes just a moment when we ask him at Gatorade’s GCamp to name the most exciting newcomer to Canada’s squad for September’s World Cup of Hockey.
“That’s tough,” he says. Then a smile creeps across his two-time Stanley-Cup-sipping, two-time Olympic-gold-biting mouth. “An interesting one for me is Brad Marchand.”
Rat Fink. Honey Badger. The Little Ball of Hate. If Marchand isn’t getting under your skin, he’s clawing on top of it, lingering like tattoo regret.
Crosby, 29, and Marchand, 28, have had their share of NHL run-ins, both literally and rhetorically.
“You’re so used to playing against him, you know the way he plays,” Crosby chuckles.
“Having him on your team is going to be so much more enjoyable than having to play against him. Having a local guy, someone who’s from the same area, I think that’s pretty special to be competing for Team Canada with someone like that.”
A bond is forming between the two Nova Scotian stars, who frequently skate together in the summer alongside other local guys like Nathan MacKinnon, though Crosby admits that Marchand has a wicked knack for ticking him off during Bruins-Penguins tilts.
Marchand won back-to-back gold medals representing Canada at the 2007 and 2008 world juniors, and his game has steadily improved as a pro. Failing to make the cut for the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Games, Marchand won a late-addition spot on the 2016 World Cup roster with his career-best 37-goal, 60-point campaign in 2015-16. Helping Canada defend world championship gold in May (seven points in 10 games) didn’t hurt, either.
“You look at the season he had—he’s proven he can be a lot more than just an agitator. He’s a really good player, but part of his game is playing a tough brand [of hockey]. Playing right on that edge,” Crosby says. “He’s had a tremendous career so far. I think that’ll be someone fun to join up with.”
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