Dale Hunter knows Sidney Crosby.
OK, OK, everybody knows Sidney Crosby. But Hunter’s experience coaching against the Penguins star goes back to 2005, when Crosby was 17 years old.
Hunter’s London Knights faced Crosby’s Rimouski Oceanic in the Memorial Cup, junior hockey’s championship tournament.
That season, Crosby had 66 goals and 102 assists in … 62 games for Rimouski in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He put up six goals and five assists in the five Memorial Cup games, too.
“He was special. We had to put a checking line against him and give him special attention,” Hunter said. “He still scored points or goals. We limited him, anyways.”
Crosby scored once in the round-robin matchup as the Knights won 4-3 in overtime.
“He was so strong on his skates at that age,” Hunter said. “He was 17 and could dominate juniors like he did. To play against, we had an older team, they were 19-year-old kids and right away you knew you had a special player.”
In the final, London put on perhaps a perfect Hunter-esque defensive game, holding Crosby and all of his teammates off the scoreboard to capture the Memorial Cup with a 4-0 victory.
That makes Hunter 2-0 all-time against Crosby, a mark he’ll try to improve on with the Capitals on Thursday night.