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Teammates call Crosby hockey's best player

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby seems almost embarrassed by all
the praise.

A night after Crosby took over the NHL scoring lead with a
six-point game, Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien called the
19-year-old star the best player in the NHL. And teammate
Mark Recchi compared him to current and future Hall of Famers.

Yet, Crosby was decidedly modest after scoring a goal and adding
five assists in the Penguins' 8-4 win over Philadelphia on
Wednesday night.

"That's up to other people to decide," Crosby said after
practice Thursday. "Obviously my coach, he's probably on my side.
But I don't put pressure on myself to be that guy. I want to be my
best, and that's all I try to do."

Crosby, who became the youngest player ever to reach 100 points
when he had 102 last season, has 15 goals and 32 assists this
season for 47 points -- three ahead of Jaromir Jagr of the Rangers,
who has played in four more games.

Wednesday night was just the latest in a string of strong
efforts for Crosby, who has 15 points in his last six games. Crosby
has a goal in six straight games and has 15 assists in his last 10
outings.

Statistically speaking, Crosby is making a case as the best
player in hockey.

"There's no doubt in my mind," Therrien said. "There's a lot
of good players in this league, but right now, the way that young
man is playing on the ice and focusing and the way he concentrates,
it's phenomenal. In my mind, he's the best player in the NHL right
now."

Recchi is the Penguins' elder statesman at 38, and is currently
playing on a line with Crosby. He was a rookie with Pittsburgh in
1988-89, when Hall of Fame forward -- and current Penguins owner --
Mario Lemieux was 23 and in his fifth season.

Crosby is currently living in Lemieux's house. Lemieux had at
least 100 points in his first six seasons.

Drawing comparisons between the two is natural -- particularly in
terms of vision and passing skills -- even if Lemieux was a much
larger player.

Recchi even sounded as if he might believe Crosby could be an
even better player than Lemieux, who won six scoring titles.

"Obviously, Sid is doing to the game what Mario did," Recchi
said. "A lot of focus is going to him, and deservingly so. But the
dynamic of them playing-wise is really different. ... Sid's in a
world of his own."