In case anyone is skeptical of why Sidney Crosby sees something of himself in Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters, there's this.
Resistance to the hero-making machinery seems useless when the 15-year-old McDavid delivers a bit of brilliance like the goal he scored in his Ontario Hockey League home debut against the London Knights back on Oct. 5. Since the game was in Erie and not televised in Ontario it was just Internet legend, only to languish with 778 views since the Otters posted it to YouTube last week. Maybe it seemed like a low-percentage play to go 1-on-2 against two high draft picks belonging to Crosby's Pittsburgh Penguins -- 18-year-old first-rounder Olli Määttä and 19-year-old Scott Harrington, who's perhaps the most sound defender in the OHL. But McDavid reached MACH-1 as he swooped around Harrington to score a beauty goal on London's Kevin Bailie.
Only another two years and eight months until McDavid will become NHL draft eligible. The hype is already peaking.
As for Crosby, normally the NHL's best player wouldn't be making comment on a junior, but with not much to do these days due to the big-league lockout, Crosby has paid attention.
From Josh Yohe:
Crosby is blown away by 15-year-old Connor McDavid, whose reputation as a wunderkind during his formative years outside of Toronto is being fortified in Erie. Too young to drive, McDavid is taking the Ontario Hockey League by storm.
"He looks like he's got it all," Crosby said. "When I watched him play, he reminded me of myself."
... McDavid seems to possess that rare ability to always locate the open player, his passes during the Otters' home opener Friday in Erie throwing the crowd into a frenzy on multiple occasions.
"I like the way he distributes the puck," Crosby said. "He seems to have all the tools."
McDavid stands 5-foot-11, just like Crosby, and showcases the ability to accelerate through the neutral zone at warp speed like the Penguins' captain.
"He's so good," Brampton Battalion forward Derek Froats said. "And he's only 15. Wow." (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
(Wait, isn't Nathan MacKinnon the next Crosby since they are both from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, and both attended the same prep school in Minnesota? But if Crosby says differently ... ah, my head hurts.)
He is the league's leading rookie scorer with 11 points in nine games. Only one 16-year-old drafted last spring, Kingston Frontenacs right wing Spencer Watson, is scoring at a point-per-game pace so far. He has conveyed that he is special here in the early stages of the OHL season; keep in mind the grind of playing a nearly NHL length schedule catches up to boys whose bodies are still developing.
Wiser junior hockey watchers might try to keep the expectations of McDavid realistic, but endorsements from Crosby and goals such as that one are making it exceedingly difficult.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.