Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby said Thursday he knows what top prospect Connor McDavid is going through.
The Erie Otters' forward is out up to six weeks after fracturing his right pinky finger in a fight during an Ontario Hockey League game Tuesday.
"I'm sure he's got a target on his back," Crosby told The Canadian Press. "It's not easy sometimes. It's one of those fluky things. But no matter how many times you've done it, even if you talk to guys who have fought for years, anything can happen in a fight and you really do have to be careful."
McDavid's right hand hit the boards during a fight with Mississauga forward Bryson Cianfrone.
McDavid's availability to play for Canada in the World Junior Championship next month is in doubt. Canada will hold its camp Dec. 11-15 and its roster must be submitted Dec. 25, one day before its first game against Slovakia.
Erie Otters general manager Sherry Bassin said Thursday he is "fully convinced" McDavid will be able to play in the tournament.
"I think you just try to kind of take care of the present instead of thinking about too much down the road," Crosby said. "It's easier said than done sometimes."
McDavid leads the Ontario Hockey League with 51 points (16 goals and 35 assists) in 18 games. He is likely to be one of the top two picks in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Crosby told the CP he could not remember having a fight while playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for Rimouski Oceanic. He has five fighting majors during the NHL regular season and one in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"Sometimes emotion and things get the best of you and things happen," Crosby said. "I'm sure that his teammates and his coaches will be telling him to keep his gloves on if he can."