Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford doesn't buy the recent criticism of captain Sidney Crosby, who's second in the NHL in points.

"It's total nitpicking because there's nothing wrong with him," Rutherford said Monday at the general managers meeting. "His play, to me, has been as good as it's ever been."

Crosby leads the Penguins with 71 points (23 goals, 48 assists).

A season after winning the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP and Art Ross Trophy with the most points (104), Crosby's goals and points per game are down from his career average. He's still at 1.11 points a game and is one back of the New York Islanders' John Tavares for the NHL lead despite playing in seven fewer games.

Crosby said last week that he was healthy and wouldn't change anything about his game. From Rutherford's perspective, Crosby has already changed, but in a good way, by getting more accustomed to playing to coach Mike Johnston's style.

"From an overall team point of view, and what's needed to be done to be successful, he's made that adjustment and done it very well," Rutherford said. "It's coming back into your own end, playing both ends of the rink. No cheating. Playing the game the way it should be played. And he's bought into that."