Kenny Albert: Overall Package, How Hard He Works Most Impressive

Sidney Crosby is one of the best players in the NHL, and he’s won a Stanley Cup. But for some reason, he’s not necessarily one of the most beloved players in the game.

Why not?

“Well, I think those so-called detractors are probably fans of other teams who he’s had success against,” NBC Sports Radio and Westwood One play-by-play announcer Kenny Albert said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Do folks in Cleveland love Steph Curry? No. Do folks in Golden State love LeBron James? No. Sidney Crosby is a guy we all started hearing about when he was 13 or 14 years of age. He had great success early getting to the Finals twice early in his career in ’08 an ’09 (and won) a Cup in ’09. Then he went through his injuries with concussions and the Penguins underachieved for a couple of years. Maybe early in his career, people thought he would complain to the officials too much and whine a bit, but he’s really matured in that respect. All you have to do is look when he skated away from Joe Thornton the other night in Game 2, when Thornton knocked his helmet off and then cross-checked him. Skated right away. That would not have happened earlier in his career. But if you’re on his team, you love the guy.”

The Penguins’ coaches and executives love him, too.

“They can’t say enough good things about him,” Albert said. “Mike Sullivan gushes about the four or five months he’s spent with Crosby. He said of all the superstars he’s ever been around, nobody has worked as hard as Sidney Crosby. He’s in the corners, he’s in the trenches and you don’t always see that from the top players. So if you’re a fan of the New York Rangers or the Washington Capitals or the Tampa Bay Lightning, sure, you’re not going to like Sidney Crosby. But if he were on your team, you’d go out and buy his jersey.”

Crosby, who has six goals and 11 assists in the playoffs, has led the Penguins to a 2-1 series lead over San Jose. Game 4 is Monday at 8 p.m. ET.

Asked what about Crosby impresses him the most, Albert said “the overall package.”

“Obviously he puts up the goals and the points,” Albert said, “but it’s how hard he works. If you’re watching the game, sometimes it’s hard to look at stuff away from the puck. But if you just watch how hard he works along the boards and in the corners and on face-offs, that’s probably the thing that stands out the most about him. Then there will be those couple of plays a game where he just dazzles you. So it’s probably not one thing. With Crosby, it’s more the total package.”

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