Sidney Crosby has a lot of fans. Not a lot of NHL defencemen would be among them. Sheldon Souray of the Montreal Canadiens is one exception.
"I haven't seen anyone who competes harder than him," Souray said. "When you play against him, you don't think 'here's Sidney Crosby, 19-year-old.' You don't think like that. You can't intimidate him. For me, being a big, physical guy, he just shrugs it off and the next time the puck gets dumped in your corner, he's the first guy in there to run you. That just goes with his character. I have a lot of respect for that, his passion."
Souray is 6-foot-4 and 223 pounds. Crosby is listed at 5-11, 200 pounds. Souray is still incredulous how Crosby has delivered and perhaps even exceeded the hype.
"There's a lot of pressure when you're being hailed as the next Wayne Gretzky. For me, it was trying to be the next Ken Daneyko. The pressure from that was big enough," Souray says. "You look at the maturity he has. The poise with which he handles himself. Everyone wants a piece of his time and he's able to accommodate that. It shows you the kind of person he is.
"I was really impressed that he never quits. For a young guy as talented as he is ... it's funny to say, but I'm sure a lot of the older guys are in awe of him sometimes.
"He doesn't like to lose, not even a battle for the puck. You don't reach that. Either a kid has it or he doesn't and he has it."