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Crosby youngest captain in NHL history, while Sakic in 15th year in role

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The captain's "C" is looking as if it belongs on Sidney Crosby's chest.

At age 20, he's the youngest captain in NHL history and should revel in the role with the Pittsburgh Penguins. "I'm looking forward to it," he says. "It's an honour to be captain.

"I don't think my focus or mindset changes though. I'm going to keep everything the same. I've always tried to lead by example. I've always played with emotion, and I need to keep playing like that."

After what Crosby accomplished, winning the scoring title and the league MVP award, it was a given that he'd get the "C" on his sweater. The Penguins didn't have a captain last season, choosing not to heap too much responsibility on a teen. Now he's ready.

"I don't think he'll put more pressure on himself," says defenceman Darryl Sydor, a new teammate. "He's very mature.

"There's going to be a lot of help from other veterans and other people on the team. It won't just be on Sid's shoulders. It's going to be a team effort."

The first regular-season game in which Crosby will serve as captain will be the Penguins' season opener on the road against Carolina on Friday.

About one-third of the NHL's 30 teams will begin the new season with a player wearing the "C" that wasn't on his chest a year ago.

Defenceman Jason Smith, previously captain in Edmonton, was named captain in Philadelphia on Monday.

Chris Pronger is the new captain of the Anaheim Ducks, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Scott Niedermayer.

"I'm just going to pick up where he left off and use the other leaders we have in the room to further develop as a group and try to repeat or play as well as we can," said the 32-year-old defenceman.

Pronger expects to be more assertive than he was as captain in St. Louis from 1997 to 2002.

"I was a little wet behind the ears then and now I have more experience in this league and more experience with this team," said Pronger.

Los Angeles named Rob Blake to replace the traded Mattias Norstrom. The 37-year-old defenceman was captain from 1996 to 2001 during his previous stint with the Kings.

Big centre Jason Arnott takes over as captain of the Predators from Peter Forsberg, who remains a free agent without a team.

The New York Islanders named 36-year-old forward Bill Guerin captain to replace Alexei Yashin, who banked a huge buyout and returned to Russia to skate.

Patrik Elias was captain in New Jersey last season but new coach Brent Sutter is mulling over a possible change.

Edmonton, Buffalo, Atlanta, St. Louis and Chicago had not named a captain as of Monday.

The Oilers have had a vacancy since Smith was traded to Philadelphia.

The Sabres' two co-captains from last season, Chris Drury and Daniel Briere, both became free agents and left.

Atlanta has been without a captain since Scott Mellanby retired, St. Louis lost its captain when Dallas Drake moved to Detroit, and Chicago has to replace Adrian Aucoin, who took the free-agent route to Calgary.

Joe Sakic is the longest-serving leader. The 38-year-old centre was named captain of the Quebec Nordiques in 1992, and has continued to lead the team since it moved to Denver and became the Colorado Avalanche in 1995.

Mats Sundin, Toronto's 36-year-old leader, has the second-longest tenure having captained the Maple Leafs since 1997.

Montreal's Saku Koivu, 32, and Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson, 34, have worn a "C" since 1999, while Vancouver's Markus Naslund, 34, took on the role in 2000.

Calgary's Jarome Iginla, 30, and Phoenix' Shane Doan, 30, were named captains in 2003.

Incumbents named since 2004: Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom, the Rangers' Jaromir Jagr, San Jose's Patrick Marleau, Carolina's Rod Brind'Amour, Columbus' Adam Foote, Boston's Zdeno Chara, Florida's Olli Jokinen, Tampa Bay's Tim Taylor, New Jersey's Patrik Elias and Washington's Chris Clark.

Minnesota will continue to name a different player each month.

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