PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jarome Iginla as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh?
Milan Lucic thinks so.
To that, Crosby says thank you very much.
Lucic, the Boston Bruins power forward, told reporters this weekend he views the Pittsburgh Penguins as the equivalent of the NBA's Miami Heat.
Led by James, Wade and Bosh, the Heat are two wins away from their third consecutive Eastern Conference title and can play for their second straight NBA championship after that.
"We appreciate the compliment," Crosby said. "I'm sure he won't have too many once we start playing. I think it's a compliment."
The Penguins have three former NHL scoring champions on their roster, Crosby, Malkin and Iginla, in addition to recent 40-goal scorer James Neal, Norris Trophy finalist Kris Letang, the League's seventh-leading regular-season scorer this season Chris Kunitz, and the playoffs goals leader (tied with Crosby) Pascal Dupuis.
Star-studded, yes. But guaranteed to win the Stanley Cup? Hardly. Not in the anything-can-happen Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"I think we want to be confident and know we are a good team, but I don't think there's anyone in here with big egos or expecting anything's going to be given to us because of who we are," forward Brenden Morrow said when asked about Lucic's Heat comparison.
Morrow, like Iginla, was a longtime captain who waived a no-trade clause to join the Penguins as the NHL Trade Deadline approached. Their experiences were reminiscent of the way James and Bosh joined the Heat as free agents three years ago. The Heat, it should be noted, lost in the NBA Finals the first season the trio was together.
Crosby said there likely was some gamesmanship in what Lucic said. Crosby also pointed out the Bruins also have a deep roster littered with big names and Boston has claimed the Stanley Cup more recently than Pittsburgh has.
"I don't know how much is meant by it, but at this point I don't think it really matters what we're classified as or what we're like on paper," Crosby said. "There's always going to be comments and things like that said, but at the end of the day, we've got to go out there and play."