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Penguins' Crosby playing it cool

There is a reason Sidney Crosby hasn't addressed the harsh words directed his way last week by Washington Capitals winger Alexander Semin.

"Nobody asked me," Crosby said Tuesday after an intense Penguins' practice at Southpointe. "I'd be better off keeping my opinion to myself.

"He can say what he wants."

Semin certainly did last week, asking "what's so special about Sidney Crosby?" in an interview with yahoosports.com.

"I don't see anything special there," Semin said. "Yes, he does skate well, has a good head, good pass. But there's nothing else."

Semin added: "If you take any player, even if he is dead wood, and start promoting him, you'll get a star."

Washington owner Ted Leonsis told ESPN.com on Monday that "something was lost in translation" when Semin, a Russian, spoke via a translator to a Yahoo! Sports reporter.

Crosby, who won the individual scoring championship and MVP after his last full season in 2006-07, yesterday called Semin "a good player" with "great hands."

He also lamented the likelihood of future discussions pertaining to this subject. The Capitals and Penguins have three meetings remaining this season, the next game Jan. 14 at Mellon Arena.

A rivalry already exists between Washington right wing Alexander Ovechkin, who succeeded Crosby as scoring champion and MVP last season, and Penguins' center Evgeni Malkin. The young Russian stars finished 1-2 in the scoring race and MVP voting last season, and Ovechkin has upped the physical ante against Malkin in recent games between the teams.

Crosby said yesterday that individual rivalries are "healthy for hockey," agreeing they help promote the sport in the United States.

"I don't think there's ever a problem with that," Crosby said.

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