SUN Hockey Pool

Crosby needs time to develop

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 1:28 PM ET

What if Sidney Crosby fails?

It is a question no one wants to deal with, not the National Hockey League, not the Pittsburgh Penguins, not NBC, not anyone who has hitched his wagon to this kid who has yet to play a professional game.

The position the hockey world has placed Crosby in borders on the unfair, basing so much of its future in so many ways on a talented young guy, who is just a young guy.

He may be the next this or the next that. But the league and the Penguins already interpret him as having saviour status, which doesn't give him any time or space -- elements young hockey players need most -- to find his way.

It is hard enough for any No. 1 pick to make an impact in any professional sport. But this time, the parameters are extreme. This time, Crosby is expected to become a star, save a franchise, get a building built, sell luxury boxes, smile for the cameras, and lead the league in scoring.

The best thing Crosby has going for him is having Mario Lemieux alongside for the ride. Lemieux, having lived with similar expectations as a player, can be a guiding force.

Here is hoping he can provide the necessary insulation to give Crosby the proper time to develop.

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