Pittsburgh May Be Seeing NHL's Next Best Player on Tuesday

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Edmonton Oilers have a rich history of having generational talents wear their sweaters. It is certainly no different now, as Pittsburgh has been blessed with Sidney Crosby, the two-time Stanley Cup and Hart Memorial Trophy winner and Edmonton with up-and-coming phenom Connor McDavid.

On Tuesday night, the two will meet on the same ice for the first time in an NHL game when the Oilers travel to PPG Paints Arena.

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Jason Gregor of TSN 1260 and columnist for the Edmonton Journal joined “The Fan Morning Show” on Tuesday to tell Edmonton’s side of the Crosby-McDavid matchup.

Gregor reminds that on Nov. 6, 1984, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky met on the ice for the first time together and it was on an election night, no less. He believes Connor McDavid is the NHL’s next great player.

“He’s easily the fastest player in the NHL right now,” said Gregor. “When you watch him [Tuesday], I think you will be amazed at his speed, his ability to pull away from NHL players and also his ability to stick handle the puck at high speeds. It’s not something I see very often, a combination of guys who can do both of it. The only negative is that Crosby and McDavid are 10 years apart, Gretzky and Lemieux were only five, so we saw them kind of in their prime for a lot longer, whereas McDavid and Crosby have probably only got about a five-year window.”

McDavid is obviously well beyond his years in talent and ability, finding success in the league at only 19 years old. Crosby, though, may find the young star starstruck.

“[Crosby] might be one of the few guys that you might see McDavid potentially glance over at at times,” said Gregor. “He has faced other guys, you know Ovechkin is a pretty big star name, but Crosby is the reigning best player. The thing about McDavid is, and this generation even going back to Crosby, they’re wired at such a young age, there’s so much focus and attention on him that we really haven’t seen a lot of that.”

Gregor does say there may be a chink in the armor of McDavid’s game that opposing teams could expose.

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“The one thing you might be able to do if you’re Pittsburgh that Toronto had success with, is get on him and be very physical,” Gregor said. “Just like Crosby has had to endure his entire career. Toronto had their way with McDavid earlier this week and I wonder if Pittsburgh will try to do the same thing. If you get him engaged a little bit more physically, that might have him off his game.”

Gregor says that he has seen a real change in McDavid’s maturity and leadership this season as compared to last.

“He just seems a lot more calmed and relaxed,” said Gregor. “He said that when he came to the NHL last year, he didn’t know anybody [on Edmonton]. He’s a naturally shy person by nature, so he was very quiet last season and he’s never going to be a big stand-up ‘rah-rah’ guy, that’s more [Milan] Lucic on this team, but McDavid just seems a lot more comfortable in this setting this year. And there’s no doubt, he’s got the captaincy, just like Crosby did early on in his career, and McDavid is the guy who makes them go.”

You can hear the entire “Fan Morning Show” interview with Jason Gregor, including his thoughts on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang and Toronto’s head coach Mike Babcock below.

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