Sidney Crosby helped spark the golden age of Canadian junior hockey. In 2005, the Pittsburgh Penguins captain and his teammates ended a seven-year gold-medal drought at the world junior championship, which began a stretch of five straight titles.That sets the standard pretty high, Crosby said. Its pretty tough to do that. Its what we try for every year, its what we expect.Lately, the results havent been there. Canada has two silvers and one bronze to show for the past five tournaments, including two at home.Connor McDavid was 12 the last time Canada won gold at the junior level, and hockeys Next One is tired of all the losing.I know people are starting to doubt Canada and they dont really believe anymore, McDavid said. Its annoying a little bit. You see how past people did and how past teams did and how great they were and everything like that. People just dont expect that out of us anymore.They expect us to lose. Thats just not how it should be for Canada.McDavid and his current teammates are out to change all that. The tournament is back in Canada in Montreal and Toronto, and the host nation has an older team and is justifiably favoured to win gold.The past, defenceman Darnell Nurse insists, isnt on his mind or those of his teammates. But Canadas recent past defines its present, and its not pretty.In 2014 and 2013, Canada came away from tournaments in Malmo, Sweden, and Ufa, Russia without medals. Before 2012 bronze, Canada fell short to the U.S. in 2011 and coughed up a three-goal lead to Russia in 2010.To Hockey Canada director of player personnel Ryan Jankowski, the past two years werent good enough, but the previous five years, which included two gold medals in 2008 and 2009 — couldve gone either way. Jankowski pointed out how Canada needed a shootout to beat the U.S. and overtime to beat Sweden and Russia to make it five.We got the bounces for three straight years, we didnt get the bounces for two, and then the last two we havent been as good as we should be, Jankowski said. It is frustrating, but its also how tight international hockey is now.Parity is at the core of Canadas gold medal drought. It feels like an eternity since a run of nine golds in 13 years from 1985 through 1997.Theres so much parity and I think its a good thing for hockey, obviously, said Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds, who was on the 2008 champion Canadian team. Youre getting great players coming from every country. I think its huge for the game. Its building it up, its making it more popular and its just spreading the game worldwide.Having young talent around the world add up to gold medals is great for junior hockey. Russia won with Evgeny Kuznetsov in 2011, Sweden with Filip Forsberg in 2012, the United States with Seth Jones in 2013 and Finland with Teuvo Teravainen in 2014.Canadas last team to win it included John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, P.K. Subban and Alex Pietrangelo. Current junior winger Jake Virtanen fondly remembers that group.The last time I remember was Eberle, Tavares and those guys when they were unbelievable, Virtanen said. That kind of brings back good memories in my family, and we were pretty happy when Canada won gold.The past handful of teams arent remembered as anything special, even though they had plenty of star players. Nathan MacKinnon, the No. 1 NHL pick in 2013, knows the down side of parity in international hockey.Its good and bad. You always want hockey to be as successful as it can be worldwide, said MacKinnon, who was on the 2013 team that finished off the medal table. But being a homer, you hate to lose and I hated losing there. I think its only a matter time before we kind of get that back.I dont know if we have to adjust and kind of play differently — maybe were playing a little bit too old-school, Im not really sure.MacKinnon expects coach Benoit Groulx to do a good job with this years team, which is headlined by McDavid, Nurse, 2014 No. 2 pick Sam Reinhart and New York Rangers right-winger Anthony Duclair.The online sportsbook Bodog has installed Canada as the 3-to-2 favourite to win the gold medal. And while Nurse said of the pressure of playing at home that at the end of the day, its just hockey, history shows it adds a different element.Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was part of the 2003 team that lost in the gold-medal game to Russia in Halifax, N.S. Fleury loved his time playing for Canada at that tournament but understands theres always more intense pressure on home ice.The guys know it, and they all want to win, Fleury said. You know theres people outside (who) expect you to win. Its not like you dont put it on yourself to win. I think all the guys are accountable to get it done.One of the tough parts of international hockey, as Crosby and MacKinnon pointed out, is that its a one-and-done circumstance come the quarter-finals.Anything can happen, Crosby said. Its not easy.It wont be easy for McDavids Canadian team to get the job done either, but the 17-year-old embraces the opportunity to end the countrys gold-medal drought.With it being on our soil and with the home crowd behind us and stuff like that, I dont see any reason why this cant be the year for Canada, McDavid said. Its our game, hockeys our game and its our pride, its our joy and its our job to put the belief back into Canadians.---Follow @SWhyno on Twitter Yeezy 350 v2 Zebra 2019 .com) - Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James will sit out Thursdays game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with left knee soreness. Fake Yeezys For Sale . 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"What can I say to that?" Rose said. Then, after a long pause, he added, "You could be a fool if you want to. Dead serious. I know Im going to be all right." In fact, hes not quite ruling out a return this season. The superstar point guard left the door slightly open for a comeback in the playoffs if his surgically repaired right knee is healed -- even though the team has said he will miss the rest of the year. Rose tore the medial meniscus in his right knee in a game at Portland on Nov. 22. He had surgery in Chicago three days later, cutting short his comeback after he sat out last season recuperating from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. "If Im healthy and the situation is right, I will be back playing," Rose said Thursday when asked if he might return for the playoffs. "If Im healthy and my meniscus is fully healed, of course Ill be out there playing. But if its something totally different and the outcome is not how I would want it to be, theres no need." That comment aside, the odds of a comeback this season appear to be just about nil given that the team has ruled him out. "Right now, its been determined that hes out for the season," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "So thats the way were going to approach. If something changes later on, well adjust then." The bigger issue remains how effective Rose will be whenever he makes his next return. The MVP in 2011, he tore the ACL in his left knee in the playoff opener against Philadelphia the following year, sending top-seeded Chicago to a first-round exit. The Bulls relived their nightmare last month in Portland when Rose lost his footing while turning to get back on defence. Rose limped across the court, unable to put any weight on his knee, a huge blow for a team that thought it would challenge Miami in the Eastern Conference. Rose is in an all-too-familiar spot, trying to recuperate. He has played in just 50 NBA games -- 49 in the regular season and that lone playoff game -- since the Bulls run to the conference finals during his MVP season, but he felt as if he was returning to form just as he went dowwn again.dddddddddddd Rose was averaging 15.9 points and was shooting just over 35 per cent. But he looked a little better in his final two games with 19 points in a loss at Denver and 20 against Portland. "I was catching a rhythm of how I used to play," he said. "I think I was getting in condition more than anything for this season. For this one to happen, just from me turning and running back down the court, theres nothing I can say about it, nothing I can do about it, but just take it, be strong." Rose wondered how it could happen to him again after everything he went through. But he was also relieved he didnt suffer an ACL tear. Even so, he knew the injury was serious when he was being examined in Portland. He said his leg was "catching on the meniscus side, on the inside." "I started thinking about, Why me? and all that stuff the day after the surgery," Rose said. He said meniscus tear was a "freak accident." "(The doctors) look at the tape, look at the film," Rose said. "The first one (the ACL tear) could have been I put too much pressure or I put too much weight on that leg at that time. This one ... I didnt buckle me knee or anything. I paused for a second. I was able to still run a few steps before I couldnt walk. It just happened." Now, hes going for therapy every day. Hes incorporating yoga and swimming into his rehab routine and is able to put pressure on his leg. He said he might try to land a spot on the U.S. world championship team next summer if hes ready, but he still wont be playing in any pickup games. He also said hes not about to start recruiting players to Chicago -- something he hasnt done in the past -- even though the Bulls core could have a different look. Luol Deng has an expiring contract and Carlos Boozer is a candidate to be amnestied. But Rose said he hasnt thought about possible changes. "Theres a chance I could come back so Im just cheering them on," he said. For now, the Bulls are in a difficult spot. They were third in the Central division at 7-9 entering Thursdays game against Miami, one that looked like a marquee matchup when the schedule came out. Since then, it has lost that shine. Rose insisted hes not finished. "I believe that Im a special player. I think people love the way that I just play. I dont try to impress anyone while Im playing or anything. Ive just got a feel for the game. I know my story is far from done." ' ' '