The Washington Times - May 30, 2009, 07:16PM

Pittsburgh owner Mario Lemieux doesn’t talk to the media often, but he just answered questions here at Joe Louis Arena for about 15 minutes. Lots of questions about his team and the difference between being an owner and a player, but here’s what he had to say when someone asked him to compare himself as a 21-year-old to Sidney Crosby at the same age:

“I think he’s a lot more mature than I was at 21,” Lemieux said. “He was a lot more mature at 18. He’s a special kid. He’s a better player than I was at the same age for sure. There are so many things he does on the ice — his strength, his skating ability is incredible, his passion for the game and his will to be the best each and every shift and his work ethic — he’s got it all.”

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He was also asked about the current state of the game since the rule changes were made coming out of the lockout. Lemieux was a proimnent crtic of the holding-and-hooking era in the 1990s.

“It is great to see the game the way it has turned out to be — not much clutching and grabbing,” he said. “The speed of the game, the size of the player — it is a totally different game than when I played. … I think it is a lot more enjoyable for the hockey fans to watch these games than what we watched years ago, and I enjoy it a lot more.”