Penguins' Crosby, Coyotes' Balsillie: Most Popular Canucks Since Gretzky

Martin AverySenior Writer IMay 14, 2009

PITTSBURGH - MAY 11: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins ties the score at 4-4 late in the third period against the Washington Capitals during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinal  Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Mellon Arena on May 11, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Capitals defeated the Penguins 5-4 in overtime. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

It's hockey icon night and day in Canada, thanks to Sidney Crosby and Jim Balsillie.

Sidney Crosby, captain and leading scorer of the Pittsburgh Penguins, is enormously popular in Canada, and his popularity is soaring after his performance in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Crosby scored two goals, aded an assist, and his Penguins beat Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals 6-2. They chased rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov form the Caps net.

The Penguins are enormously popular in Pittsburgh these days, too, but a few years ago the franchise was in trouble and Jim Basillie offered to buy the team and move the Penguins to Canada.

To think it might be Sidney Crosby and the Hamilton Penguins heading for the Stanley Cup finals this year—and last year, too.

Now Balsillie is about s popular as Crosby in Canada for trying to move another NHL team north of the border. An incredible outpouring of support has met his attempt to turn the Phoenix Coyotes into the Hamilton Tigers.

Balsillie wants to bring Wayne Gretzky back to Canada, as the coach of the franchise, and re-name the Hamilton arena after another Canadian icon, the coach's father, Walter Gretzky.

When Sidney Crosby and the Penguin's play Wayne Gretzky's Hamilton Tigers at the Walter Gretzky arena, it will definitely be hockey icon night in Canada.

If that happens, Balsillie could not be more popular in Canada if he gave everybody in the country a free BlackBerry.