NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sidney Crosby walked over to Casey Mittelstadt in a cramped hallway below Bridgestone Arena on Monday and extended his hand.

Mittelstadt, poised to be a top-10 pick in the NHL draft later this month, could barely contain a smile while exchanging pleasantries with the best hockey player on the planet. He didn’t want Crosby to know that the Penguins superstar has long been his favorite player or that he watches dozens of Penguins games each year because of him.