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A cloud was hovering over Sidney Crosby?this time last year.The Pittsburgh Penguins captain had six goals and 13 assists for 19 points through the first 28 games of the 2015-16 season, an uncharacteristically slow start. Whispers circulated that his elite talent level was fading. Was he on the downswing of his career?When the Penguins fired coach Mike Johnston and replaced him with Mike Sullivan on Dec. 12, 2015, they were ninth in the Eastern Conference.And Crosby was reborn.He kicked it down and finished the regular season with 36 goals and 49 assists for 85 points in 80 games -- which means he had 30 goals and 66 points in his final 52 games. He led the Penguins to a Stanley Cup, earning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. He celebrated briefly during the summer in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, before preparing to represent Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey -- which he also won, earning tournament MVP honors as captain.Two championships, two awards as the best player in those championships.Unparalleled, a Western Conference GM said of the accomplishment.At the start of this season with the Penguins, he suffered a concussion and missed the first six games -- but hes still leading the league in goals. He has 21 goals and 13 assists for 34 points in 26 games. He had the most goals by an NHL player in his first 23 games in the last 20 seasons.You could say he has silenced the critics and responded with one of the best calendar years by any pro athlete. And there are no signs of him slowing down.When he is skating and hes determined, you cant stop him, a Western Conference scout said.He is the greatest hockey player in the world today.My whole time here, I drive home at night and say, Im glad hes on our bench, Sullivan said. Im glad hes on our team, because hes one inspiring guy when he plays the game the right way. Hes got a whole nother level. Hes been dynamic.Crosby, 29, is smiling a lot these days. He wants to win it all again, and the Penguins are in the race for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Hes not one to focus on the past, but he should be proud of what hes accomplished.Its been fun, Crosby said with a smile. You work hard, and you hope to be in those situations and be rewarded. As a team, to win last year and then to be part of the World Cup and finish that off the way we did, yeah, its fun when you win. Theres not a lot of time when you think about that, necessarily, but looking back quick at it, its been fun to be able to do that.Humility is also one of his stronger qualities. When asked if hes playing the best hockey of his career, Crosby shied away from the notion.I dont know. I feel good, he said. Its hard to compare, because certain things change. Ultimately, we won, and thats probably the biggest difference. Theres still a lot of season left. You look at last year, the first few months, it can change pretty quickly, so you cant sit on anything. Youve got to make sure you continue to improve.Crosby is focused and committed to playing the game the right way. And his peers notice.Hes the best player in the world, theres no question about that, said Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand, who was Crosbys linemate during the World Cup.When Crosby was injured, his teammates got a taste of what its like to play against opposing teams best players, which is something Crosby faces every game. It was further reinforcement to those around him -- and those watching from afar, too -- as to how focused and committed he is this season.What I always go back to is his work ethic, Sullivan said. He is a tireless worker. Hes the hardest-working player I have ever been around, and Ive been around a lot of players. He, without a doubt, has the highest work ethic that Ive seen. ... Hes not as good as he is by accident. Hes a very talented player, but his work ethic is tremendous. Its relentless.Crosby is on an amazing run. His body of work and practice habits make him this good. And defensively, theres no reason Crosby shouldnt be considered for the Selke Trophy. His defense, which tends to go unnoticed, is just as good as his offense.Most elite players tend to lean towards the one-dimensional side, Sullivan said. If you go through the league of superstars, the challenge for coaching staffs is to get those guys to be a little bit more committed away from the puck. I dont have that conversation with Sid.During the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs, he wasnt on the score sheet every game, but he was a beast every single night and had a huge impact on the teams ability to win. Thats why he won the Conn Smythe.Hes one of those guys that wants to be better, wants to improve his game, wants to be the best at all times, and that speaks volumes, said Bruins forward and Team Canada linemate Patrice Bergeron. Last year, a lot of people were talking about him struggling. Then after Christmas he goes on a tear and brings his team to win a Stanley Cup. Its amazing to see. Hes definitely the face of the league, and this year hes even more lethal. Its always a huge challenge to play him, and I cant say enough about Sid.So how does the best player in the world get better?Simple: practice.Crosby spends time before and after practice every day shooting as many as 80 extra pucks.During the summer in Cole Harbour, he worked out with Bergeron, Marchand and the Colorado Avalanches Nathan MacKinnon. Bergeron said Crosby is always thinking the game and trying to find ways to improve his game, both on and off the ice.Hes a brilliant hockey mind, Bergeron said.In the Cup finals against the San Jose Sharks, for example, he had winger Conor Sheary move so Crosby could win the draw back to defenseman Kris Letang, who was to pass to Sheary for the scoring chance. The play was completely drawn up on the fly, and it worked to perfection, largely because the Sharks hadnt seen it before.When the World Cup began, Bruins coach Claude Julien, who served as an associate coach under Mike Babcock for Team Canada, learned firsthand what its like to coach the best player in the world.It was pretty awesome, Julien said. This time around, I saw him at his best. Hes been one of the best players for a long, long time, but in my opinion, the fact that hes had some concussion issues has covered how good this guy is, because you didnt always see him at his best. And when he is healthy and at his best, you can see how dominant a player he is, and theres no doubt hes the best player in the world right now.Julien is also quick to point out that Crosby seemingly doesnt have any weaknesses.He has everything you would want out of a player -- from the skill level, his shot, his vision, his skating, hes strong, creative and hes everything you would ever want in a player. I dont think he lacks anything right now, Julien said. The thing that makes him great is his love for the game. He loves the game. Hes not looking to cut corners. He loves coming to the rink. He loves being on the ice.After winning his Cup, a weight seems to have been lifted off his shoulders. But you just know the fire still burns.Im thrilled for him, and hes deserving of everything hes got, Sullivan said. This kids been on a whole nother level. Cheap New Orleans Saints Jerseys . LOUIS -- Attorneys for the St. Cheap Chicago Bears Jerseys . "I dont know that were close," said general manager Alex Anthopoulos. "I just think, right now, the acquisition cost just doesnt work for us right now. I dont know if I can quantify how far off or things like that that they might be but I would say we continue to have dialogue. http://www.cheapoutletnfljerseys.com/?tag=cheap-new-england-patriots-jerseys .Y. -- Knicks coach Mike Woodson said Wednesday that J. Cheap Oakland Raiders Jerseys . - Chris Tierney snapped a tie with a power-play goal late in the third period as the London Knights rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Erie Otters 5-3 in Ontario Hockey League action on Wednesday. Cheap New York Giants Jerseys . Listen to the game live on TSN Radio 1050 at 7pm et. The Raptors traded Rudy Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray to the Sacramento Kings on Monday, in exchange for Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes. College football is almost upon us, which means the 2017 NFL draft will be here before you know it. Those of us at Scouts Inc. -- Kevin Weidl, Steve Muench and I -- spent the summer scouring tape and ranking the top players at each position from a draft perspective.Here is our preseason evaluation of the best players at every position. Click the links below to jump ahead to a specific position.Note: Underclassmen are marked with an asterisk.QB | RB | WR | OL | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | SQUARTERBACK1. Deshaun Watson, Clemson*Grade: 88A dynamic playmaker, Watson has the ability to throw from the pocket and extend plays with his mobility. He played his best football down the stretch of 2015, throwing for 405 yards and four touchdowns in Clemsons 45-40 losss to Alabama in the?College Football Playoff National Championship.dddddddddddd At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Watson lacks ideal size and will need to adjust to a pro-style system, but he has the tools to develop into a good starter in the NFL if developed and used properly.2. Brad Kaaya, Miami*Grade: 87Kaaya is listed at 6-4, 215 pounds, so hell need to add some bulk and strength to his frame. But he can really excel in a precision/timing-based offense. Decisive with his full-field reads, Kaaya showed very good accuracy on short-to-intermediate throws and consistently made good pre-snap decisions.3. C.J. 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