He’s 22. He won a Stanley Cup and scored the gold-medal winning goal on home ice. Say what you want about the hype, but he is now a legend.

Fuck. Now I have to love Crosby.

I’ve been weird about him since the beginning and could never really explain why. I’ve always disclaimed my hatred because I know it’s irrational, I know. I don’t like hype at the best of times, but Sidney Crosby was a whole new level. Besides, he plays for Pittsburgh; it was easy to hate.

But over the course of these Olympics, I’ve found that hate harder and harder to sustain. It wasn’t the goal that did it for me, but his interview afterwards. When asked to describe his winning shot, Crosby said he couldn’t remember. Maybe it went five-hole (it did), but he couldn’t remember. We’ve never been more Canadian than in these seventeen days, and Sidney Crosby was never more Canadian than when he casually tossed off an analysis both humble and correct.

I’m suspicious of too much talent too young, but then, I missed Gretzky when he was young and brilliant, too. I missed all those times before when Canada proved itself, so Crosby had to make that goal. He had to prove Canada again for a generation that didn’t quite believe.