Ontario Hockey League star McDavid has skills to become next Crosby
ST. CATHARINES, Ontario — Jay McKee’s perspective is different than anyone else’s. The former veteran NHL defenseman is the only person to play with Penguins star Sidney Crosby and coach Connor McDavid, the 17-year-old who is producing points at an otherworldly rate for Erie in the Ontario Hockey League.
McKee said he believes Crosby might have company someday soon atop his perch.
“I think the comparison between Sid and Connor is valid,” McKee said. “I think it’s very valid.”
McKee played one season with Crosby, and it was a signature season for the Penguins captain. During the 2009-10 season, Crosby eclipsed the 50-goal mark for the only time in his career.
McKee observed Crosby closely that season and said he believes McDavid, 10 years younger than Crosby, might be the closest thing the NHL sees anytime soon to another player of Crosby’s caliber.
McDavid has produced 49 points in 17 games to lead the OHL in scoring. He long has been considered the No. 1 pick of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and is receiving more hype than any player since Crosby.
“They’re just so similar in so many ways,” McKee said, noting that McDavid’s polite, personable demeanor reminds him of Crosby. “They both have that work ethic, and they’re both such good people. It’s clear that they were both raised the right way.
“It’s pretty evident in everything that they do.”
McDavid’s reputation for being humble is similar to Crosby’s.
“I know I need to get a lot better in a lot of different ways,” McDavid said. “There’s so much to work on for me.”
There is more to the comparison than similar personalities, McKee said.
Crosby told the Tribune-Review in 2012 that McDavid “reminds me of myself,” and McKee noted the on-ice parallels mirror the off-ice similarities.
“The thing I notice most about Connor and Sid is that explosive speed,” McKee said. “A lot of players turn in the corner and beat a guy. But when you spin and beat the guy, it’s only natural that you lose a little bit of speed. Sid and Connor do that same spin move down low around defensemen. And when they’re done with that move, they’re actually skating with more speed than when they started the move.
“That’s just something they share and something no one else does. There is something different about those two, something in their genetics and the way they were built. They’re different than everyone else.”
Crosby said he rarely sees McDavid play because of his schedule this time of year but that, “I know he’s having a great year.”
Crosby welcomes the buzz McDavid is receiving.
“It’s fun when a guy creates that kind of excitement,” Crosby said. “It’s good for hockey.”
He also was remindful that being gifted brings a burden.
“I feel for him in a way,” Crosby said. “There’s going to be a lot of pressure. But I’m excited for him, too.”
Notes: The Penguins were off Sunday and resume practice Monday at Southpointe. They play Tuesday at the New York Rangers. … The Penguins have reassigned defenseman Scott Harrington to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Harrington had two assists in seven AHL games prior to the Baby Pens hosting the Syracuse Crunch on Sunday.