PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby’s determination helps set him apart from the majority of players in the National Hockey League, never mind his skills and instincts.
But Maple Leafs coach Sheldon wasn’t going to narrow his preparation down to dealing with just the 32-year-old superstar when the Leafs and Penguins meet on Tuesday.
“Not just him, but their whole team, that’s what they do — they compete very hard and play with a lot of pace and competitiveness,” Keefe said. “We will be challenged in that sense.”
Crosby has been sharp since returning on Jan. 14 after missing two months following surgery for a sports hernia. In 12 games, he has six goals and 13 assists.
No matter whether the Leafs have success in handling Crosby, they won’t have to wait long to make adjustments if required, as the teams meet again on Thursday in Toronto.
“It’s going to tell us a lot about our team and where we’re at,” Leafs captain John Tavares said of the two-game set. “(The Penguins) are as proven a team as there is. They are playing really good hockey, have really found their game. They have a lot of experience. They’re very driven, they play hard. It’s a crucial couple of games.”