First it was Kawhi Leonard nailing an improbable buzzer-beater, then Mark Stone scored a power-play game-winner with 1.8 seconds left to beat Slovakia. Needless to say, it was a pretty good 24 hours for Canadian sports. (And, not a bad birthday for #61.)
— Team Canada Men (@HC_Men) May 13, 2019
That line had been pretty quiet. They really had been. The power play had clicked through the early going of this tournament with Stone and Marchessault. -Darren Dreger, TSN
TSN reporter Darren Dreger is in Slovakia for the IIHF World Championship tournament and got a chance to speak intimately with Stone about an array of topics, including Game 7, Canadian pride, and leadership.
We had high expectations for us. As an organization, we want to be deemed as one of the best teams in the league and we felt like we had one of the best teams in the league. We’re going to move on and get better from this. There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re going to be a competitive team going forward for a long time in Vegas. -Mark Stone
Dreger points out that Team Canada has an awful lot of critics and Stone’s veteran, star power presence has helped keep an untested Canadian men’s hockey team focused.
He’s a man that just oozes character, and on top of that he’s a gifted hockey player. The character he brought over and into this lineup was vastly needed given the inexperience of Team Canada. Add to that they lose John Tavares and things could’ve gone sideways… He most definitely, Mark Stone is the primary leader. -Dreger
The TSN reporter was impressed with Stone’s poise discussing the career-changing trade, controversial Game 7 finish, and the pride he has playing for Team Canada. Dreger asked Stone about being an “identified leader” and the pressure it carries.
If you come to play for Team Canada you’re expected to win gold. Even on a personal level, you expect to win. For us, we came here with one intention and that’s to win. We pride ourselves as being the best hockey country in the world. The amount of star power we put on the ice is impressive. -Stone
Call me old school, call me Don Cherry, call me an idiot, I don’t mind admitting that I’m a fan of a team captain. Vegas will have one at some point, and the team would have to consider Stone as their first. The 27-year-old shows emotion but crafts the right message. Beyond his high-level skill, respect around the league and his paycheck, it’s easy to spot the qualities Dreger spotlights.
At the end of Dreger’s Cafe, Stone dropped his summer plans after the World Championship tournament and possibly hinted that one of his teammates speculated to be traded this offseason won’t be going anywhere. After all, Stone’s voice is pretty loud in the front office.
Cody Eakin has been bugging me to spend the month of August up at the cottage… and skate with him and a bunch of guys. (Jonathan) Toews is running something up there and they’ve been bugging me for years so I think I’m going to do it this year. -Stone
We’ll have to wait to see what Vegas does with their lettering in 2019-2020, but either way, it’s good to know outsiders recognize Stone as an identified leader. If it’s the Golden Knights or Team Canada the forward makes the team around him better and is focused solely on winning.
Oh, and one other leadership quality Stone possesses is admitting to not watching a minute of playoff hockey since Game 7. As if the fanbase and the franchise didn’t like him enough.