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Crosby would be 'terrific coach,' Sullivan says of Penguins captain

Center not retiring anytime soon but is 'such a student of the game'

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

Sidney Crosby's NHL career is far from over, but when the Pittsburgh Penguins center does retire as a player, he could end up as a coach.

"If he wanted to be a coach, I think he would be a terrific coach because he is such a student of the game," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told "Hockey Central at Noon" on Wednesday. "That's something that I think would be a personal decision from his standpoint, but if he does choose to go down that path, I think he would be terrific at it. … I could see him staying involved in the game in some capacity because he loves it so much, he has such a passion for it."

Sullivan also told Sportsnet what makes the three-time Stanley Cup champion (2009, 2016, 2017), who was selected as one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in 2017, special.

"He for me epitomizes an athlete that controls everything within his power to be his very best," Sullivan said. "And when you have a guy like that on your team and he's your captain and the best player in the game, it certainly makes the coach's job a whole lot easier. … He's fun to coach, I learn as much about the game from him as he does from us.

"It's quite an honor, I'd have to say. He's a privilege to coach. … It makes my job easy when our best player and the best player of his generation is the hardest-working guy and the most driven guy on the ice, and off the ice for that matter."

Crosby, the No. 1 pick in the 2005 NHL Draft by the Penguins, has 1,263 points (462 goals, 801 assists) in 984 regular-season games in 15 seasons and is Pittsburgh's leader in games played. He ranks second in goals, assists and points behind Mario Lemieux in each category.

Video: WSH@PIT: Crosby finishes off the feed from Sheary

Crosby has 186 points (66 goals, 120 assists) in 164 Stanley Cup Playoff games and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2016 and 2017. The Penguins have made the playoffs in each of the past 13 seasons.

Sullivan said he doesn't anticipate Crosby being done playing in the near future.

"It wouldn't surprise me one bit when Sid's done playing the game somewhere down the line, but I don't see that happening anytime soon because he loves the game as much as he does," Sullivan said. 

Crosby, who turns 33 in August, won the Hart Trophy voted as NHL MVP in 2006-07 and 2013-14, and the Ted Lindsay Award as most outstanding player voted by the players in those two seasons and in 2012-13. Crosby led the NHL in scoring in 2006-07 and 2013-14, and was the leading goal-scorer twice (2009-10, 2016-17).

The Penguins (40-23-6) are in third place in the Metropolitan Division, three points behind the Philadelphia Flyers and four points behind the Washington Capitals with the NHL season paused since March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

"We're trying to do everything we can under difficult circumstances to try and stay prepared," Sullivan said. "I know our strength coaches have had personal conversations with every guy and taken an inventory of what they have at their disposal in their respective homes and then building individual programs for these guys that they can continue to do on a daily basis to try to stay fit and keep themselves ready in the event that we get on the other side of this. We are doing what we can to stay ready, but obviously the priority is on the health and well-being of everybody first and foremost."

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