OTTAWA -- Welcome to the NHL, Sidney Crosby.
As expected, the Pittsburgh Penguins took the teenage phenom from Canada with the No. 1 pick on Saturday.
"This is amazing," Crosby said. "I'm just really relieved. It's unbelievable. I'm so happy right now."
The arrival of the young superstar, whose already been compared to Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, is just what the NHL needed after the lockout that erased the 2004-05 season. For Crosby, the waiting is finally over.
Crosby, who turns 18 next week, is a 5-foot-10, 193-pound forward with surprising strength and masterful vision on the ice. A prolific scorer, Crosby won nearly every trophy the last two seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
He had 66 goals and 102 assists in 62 games, after a rookie campaign that featured 54 goals and 81 assists in 59 games, and was the Canadian major junior player of the year both seasons.
"He creates a lot of excitement," said Lemieux, Crosby's boss and possible linemate with the Penguins. "He has all the tools to be a great player. He sees the ice well, he's a great skater. He says he needs to work on his shot, but it looks pretty good to me."
Crosby will share the spotlight in Pittsburgh with Lemieux, the No. 1 pick in 1984, and will be looked upon to rescue the franchise that hasn't made the playoffs since 2001 and desperately needs a new arena in which to play.
Pittsburgh's luck is already changing as the Penguins won last week's draft lottery that determined the picking order of the first round.
"I'm not really thinking about it right now," Crosby said of the expectations. "I want to come and play in the NHL next year. That's my goal, that's my focus right now. I'm going to put everything into that and try to move on from there."