Sidney Crosby has little, if anything, left to prove, though he hopes he gets another chance to take the biggest international stage in hockey.
Standing in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Penguins captain fit right in; his career accomplishments to date are already worthy of induction.
He was there along with Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and general manager Jim Rutherford as the Penguins' 2017 Stanley Cup ring was added to a display celebrating current and past champions. It marked Crosby's third trip to Toronto for this purpose, having previously won the Cup in 2009 and 2016.
The championships represent just a portion of Crosby's achievements. He's also collected a bevy of individual awards - including the Art Ross, Maurice Richard, Ted Lindsay, Hart, and Conn Smythe trophies - and shone in international play. He won a pair of Olympic gold medals with Canada, highlighted by the famous "golden goal" at the Vancouver Games in 2010.
But as the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea draw near, the hockey world is still coming to terms with the reality that NHL players won't participate for the first time since 1998, meaning Crosby won't get the chance to add a third gold medal to his three Cup rings.
He said it's not top of mind at the moment, but the disappointment will become more pronounced as the opening ceremony approaches.
"It's something you probably don't think about as much now, but I think as it starts to approach and you start talking about it a little more, it's something you probably think about," Crosby told theScore. "It's too bad, it's unfortunate, but maybe the next time. Hopefully it works out that we get there another time."
The next Olympics are scheduled for 2022 in Beijing, China, a location that would make sense for the NHL. The league played a pair of preseason games in China this year, and exposing top-tier NHL talent to a vast, untapped market would help grow the game on a global stage. Crosby will be 34 then, and ideally he'll have plenty of hockey left.
In lieu of making the trip to South Korea, he'll join a throng of Canadians who'll tune in from afar, cheering on whoever takes the ice for his country.
"Oh absolutely, yeah," Crosby said when asked if he'll be watching. "I'll be glued to obviously hockey, but all the events. You're pulling for your country and pulling for everyone to do well there."
In the meantime, Crosby will try to help the Penguins improve upon a 13-10-3 start - a record that has them clinging to a wild-card playoff spot - with a view to returning to the Hall of Fame this time next year as a three-time defending Cup champion.