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by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

Sidney Crosby can’t wait for Oct. 5.

After all, that’s when the Penguins open their season against the Flyers at Mellon Arena.

“I think the attitude coming into this season is that a lot of guys want to prove we’re a better team this year than we were last year,” he said. “We all have high expectations. We know we’re young. I think the attitude we have is right.”

And, Crosby’s excited at the possibility of playing on the same ice as Penguins prospect Evgeni Malkin.

Malkin is currently in Los Angeles with his agents and has said he is hopeful of playing with the Penguins this season.

“I can’t wait,” Crosby said. “I played against him [at the World Junior Championships and the most recent World Championships] and have seen him play a lot. I am just looking forward to getting out there and hopefully learning from him, too. He is a great player and you can always learn things. I want to learn from him. Hopefully we can build some chemistry and make some things happen out there.”

Crosby has followed Malkin’s journey from Russia to the United States closely since they are both represented by the same agency.

“It’s a pretty amazing story. I have been following it like everyone else. With him being so close to [agent] Pat [Brisson] and hearing what he went through is pretty unbelievable,” Crosby said. “He showed a lot of guts to go through that and come over here. I think everyone is just looking forward to having him here and make him feel as comfortable as possible.

“For anyone who has a dream to play [pro hockey] and the passion to play, this is the league you want to be in. For him, I think when you get that opportunity, you’ll do whatever it takes and take those risks to get here,” he continued. “It shows that he wants to be here. He went through a lot of adversity to get here, so when he does come, I think he is going to want it bad and want to play well and expect a lot out of himself. It’s only going to make everyone else around him better.”

NHL observers believe Crosby and Malkin would form a devastating 1-2 punch at center.

“If we’re both at our best and both lines are at their best, we’re going to be tough. It’s always hard to play against teams who have a different couple of lines who can play against you,” Crosby said. “With the guys we brought in over the course of the summer as well, we’re going to be a deeper team and a harder team to play against. There’s no doubt that having two lines that can come at other teams is going to be nice.”

In addition, Crosby is looking forward to playing with Mark Recchi again this season.

“We’re here on the same team together with one main goal and that’s to win,” he said. “That hasn’t changed and that’s the way it’s got to be. We all just need to make sure we move forward – that’s the most-important thing.”

Crosby is ready to work hard during training camp, which begins Sept. 14.

“The focus and the attitude is on having a good training camp and making sure we start well,” he said. “You have to erase last year no matter if you have a winning season or a losing season. Anytime you start a new one, you have to erase the year before. I think that’s what I am going to do and I think that’s what we all should do.”



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