OTTAWA, Ontario — Sidney Crosby will captain the Canadian hockey team at the Olympics.
After the Pittsburgh Penguins star scored the gold-medal-winning overtime goal against the United States in Vancouver four years ago, he's the natural choice in Sochi. Along with leading the NHL in scoring, the 26-year-old center is the face of the league and hockey in Canada.
The Chicago Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews and the Nashville Predators' Shea Weber will be alternate captains, Hockey Canada announced Sunday.
"Sidney, Jonathan and Shea have been leaders on the international stage in the past, as well as with their NHL teams," coach Mike Babcock said in a statement. "These three players will be at the forefront of our efforts in Sochi, but we are confident we have 25 players on our roster that will lead in their own way and allow our team to be successful."
Crosby was made the youngest captain in NHL history when he got the "C'' for the Penguins 6½ years ago. In 2009, he raised the Stanley Cup as captain.
At the 2010 Olympics, Crosby was an alternate along with Chris Pronger and Jarome Iginla. Veteran defenseman Scott Niedermayer captained that team and said before his Hockey Hall of Fame induction in November that he had no doubt Crosby was ready to assume the role.
Russia has already picked Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings as captain. It's Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins for Slovakia and Tomas Plekanec of the Montreal Canadiens for the Czech Republic.
The United States has yet to announce its captain, though general manager David Poile singled out Ryan Suter, Zach Parise, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan and David Backes as leaders.