Confident Crosby older, wiser

Jim Bender -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:14 AM ET

He arrived at last year's camp as a fresh-faced rookie of only 16 years not really knowing what to expect at a camp where he was surrounded by older junior stars. This go-round, Sid Crosby is another year older and maybe three years' more mature.

"I have a little more confidence and feel a little bit more comfortable out there because last year was such a big step," said Crosby, who turned 17 in August. "The level of play was so much higher than what I was used to at 16. That's a big jump to play with 18- and 19-year-olds who are the best in the country so, it wasn't as big a surprise to reach that level when I got here.

"Any time you're 16, your role is a little smaller. You know, you're a rookie in junior and your getting selected to a team like this doesn't happen a lot. For sure, I feel a little bit better and know all of the guys here and played with some of them last year. So, I feel a lot more comfortable in the room and everything's going well right now."

Crosby was only the fifth 16-year-old to ever play for Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship and was the first 16-year-old to score a goal in the prestigious tourney. In fact, the 5-foot-10, 193-pound forward scored two goals and six points last year.

Cracking the Team Canada squad again, and likely playing a bigger role this time, is just a natural progression for the Cole Harbour, N.S., native, who many have compared to Wayne Gretzky. In fact, Crosby is just as accommodating as Gretzky was off the ice. But, like Gretzky, Crosby had encountered jealous parents of other players and some resentment as his tremendous talent materialized.

"Probably moreso when I was in minor hockey and stuff," Crosby conceded. "But those aren't the things I remember from minor hockey. I was lucky to play with a great team. We won every year and I had a lot of great experiences so, I look back and those are the things I'm going to remember. That stuff happens and it happens to a lot of guys. It's going to be the championships and the people I meet along the way. So I didn't have any bad experiences that I look back on."


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