Crosby vs. Ovechkin: An In-Depth Look
In a clash-of-the-titans battle, fans of either Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin have been definitively decided for years -- both constantly compared to each other over the years. However, it is very difficult to compare the two side-by-side as they both have such similar successes, awards, recognitions, and more -- ultimately, the difference is in the supporting players.
In sheer ice time, records, and raw talent, the two appear very similar in nature. They both are captains and leaders of their team, both in stats and otherwise, both have been in the NHL for a decade now, and both are the only two players in the league to have won multiple Hart Trophies within their reign. However, one of the main differences between the two players is that Crosby is the King of puck distribution, whereas Ovechkin has a burning desire to be the goal scorer and he cultivates them at high volumes.
Their different playing styles is what makes them difficult to compare, most certainly. Through a stats-only comparison, the two are close, however, Crosby works both sides of the puck and Ovechkin is put on the ice for strict offense. Given their current stats and abilities, if the player's teams were reversed, Ovechkin would likely be significantly higher in points totals because Crosby would spend a considerable amount more time in the defensive zone.
Crosby devotes his career to working on his game. He dissects every single piece of his game and then makes a point to find the weakest point and turn it into the strongest point of his game. For example, he was winning less than 50% of his faceoffs and, in turn, devoted months of practice time to working on them. He now is at 52% and continuing to rise -- these minute details are what give him the potential to surpass Ovechkin.
However, Ovechkin is evolving as well with the help of his new coach. Upon being appointed as the Capitals' head coach, Barry Trotz stated that he wanted to improve Ovechkin defensively without sacrificing offense. Within the last year, Ovechkin has matured and has, once again, found himself in contention with Crosby on the score sheet. He hasn't stopped trying to do everything alone, but he appears less frustrated and more willing to share in both success and failure shift-by-shift.
Both the Capitals and Penguins are in the top seven NHL teams at this point in the season and are favorites to make a playoff run. As both players develop in their career, they will need to constantly change and adapt as the NHL now houses incredible, young, and talented players who are looking to shatter both of their records. Although they're neck-and-neck right now, it'll be interesting to see where the argument lands at their retirement ceremonies. It may come down to an argument between team success and individual success, and when it comes to hockey it’s all about the team -- so, for now, the edge goes to Sidney Crosby.