Sidney Crosby seems almost embarrassed by all the praise coming from his own Pittsburgh Penguins locker room a day after he took over as the NHL's leading scorer.
Coach Michel Therrien called Crosby the best player in the NHL. And teammate Mark Recchi compared him favorably to current and future Hall of Famers.
Yet the 19-year-old was decidedly modest after collecting a career-high six points in an 8-4 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
"That's up to other people to decide," Crosby said after practice on Thursday. "Obviously my coach, he's probably on my side. But I don't put pressure on myself to be that guy. I want to be my best, and that's all I try to do."
Crosby, who became the youngest player ever to reach 100 points when he had 102 last season, has 15 goals and 32 assists this season. His 47 points are three ahead of Jaromir Jagr of the New York Rangers, who has played in four more games.
Wednesday's game was just the latest in a string of strong efforts for Crosby, who has 15 points in his last six games. Crosby has a goal in six straight games and has 15 assists in his last 10 outings.
Statistically speaking, Crosby is making a case as the best player in the NHL.
"There's no doubt in my mind," Therrien said. "There's a lot of good players in this league, but right now, the way that young man is playing on the ice and focusing and the way he concentrates, it's phenomenal. In my mind, he's the best player in the NHL right now."
Recchi is the Penguins' elder statesman at 38, and is currently playing on a line with Crosby. He was a rookie with Pittsburgh in 1988-89, when Hall of Fame forward and current Penguins owner Mario Lemieux was 23 and in his fifth season.
Crosby is currently living in Lemieux's house. Lemieux had at least 100 points in his first six seasons, reports AP.
Drawing comparisons between the two is natural particularly in terms of vision and passing skills even if Lemieux was a much larger player.
Recchi even sounded as if he might believe Crosby could be an even better player than Lemieux, who won six scoring titles.
"Obviously, Sid is doing to the game what Mario did," Recchi said. "A lot of focus is going to him, and deservingly so. But the dynamic of them playing-wise is really different. ... Sid's in a world of his own."
The Americans came to realise that they would have to either leave the region or weaken their presence there. It is Russia that is filling the vacuum now