It’s Ovechkin vs Crosby tonight in D.C. Rob Rossi of the Tribune-Review polled some NHL writers to find out which of the two they considered the MVP.
There are good points made for both players but I thought the best case for Crosby was made by Ken Campbell of The Hockey News:
• KEN CAMPBELL, THE HOCKEY NEWS: I would submit that Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin have been equally brilliant this year, so I think this season it should go to the true MVP of the league, the player who has been adjudged to be most valuable to his team. And I would submit that player has been Sidney Crosby in 2009-10. Largely because Crosby has decided to add a lethal scoring touch to his arsenal, his presence on the Pittsburgh Penguins has had more of an impact than Ovechkin’s on the Washington Capitals. I would also submit that when it comes to producing offense, Ovechkin is blessed with a far superior supporting cast. As of this writing, Crosby has scored the all-important first goal of the game 12 times, Ovechkin 11. Including shootout goals, Crosby has scored 24 goals that have put his team ahead in games, while Ovechkin has just 15. But where I think Crosby gets the nod most is in the much maligned shootout. Aside from the fact that Crosby has one OT goal compared to zero for Ovechkin, Crosby has six shootout goals in eight tries this season, while Ovechkin has just one in seven. Three of Crosby’s goals were also game-deciding goals. Also, Crosby has missed only one game to injury this season, thus being more available to his team than Ovechkin, who has missed 11 contests with a combination of injuries and suspensions.
Campbell’s best point is that Crosby has scored more important goals. He didn’t mention a pretty important goal that he scored in Vancouver a couple of weeks ago.
The best hockey players in the world were gathered there for two weeks and when it came down to the last second and the last goal that was going to decide the whole thing it was Crosby who scored it.
And the play started with him beating Brian Raflski in a battle for the puck along the boards.
You really have to watch Crosby game in and game out to appreciate him. Ovechkin is going to produce more spectacular highlights and more goals, but Crosby has two appearances in the Stanely Cup Finals, a Stanley Cup ring and a gold medal. Ovechkin has better highlights and more goals.
Damian Cox of the Toronto Star made the best case for Ovechkin:
• DAMIAN COX, TORONTO STAR: “He is the best player on the best team. It’s not a vote on last year’s playoffs or this year’s Olympics. It’s this regular season. Both Ovechkin and Crosby have been superb, Ovechkin slightly better with a team still establishing itself. He also took on a new role of captain seamlessly.”
If Ovechkin is on the bettee team, that makes Crsoby more valuable to his team.
I’m surprised that none of the writers mentioned face offs. Crosby is one of the best face off guys in the league and face offs are HUGE in the playoffs.
Crosby is also the best in the league and the best I’ve ever seen at winning battles for the puck along the boards. The Penguins game is predicated on contstant, relentless pressure in the offensive zone. Crosby makes those offensive possessions last longer by refusing to allow opposing players to take possession and clear the zone. That doesn’t show up on the stat sheet but it has a lot to do with winning championships and gold medals.
It’s universally understood that Ovechkin is the more physical player, but I don’t necessarily agree with that. Ovechkin makes the spectacular open ice hits that might make Sportscenter but Crosby is ever bit as physical. He just does the dirty work in the corners that doesn’t get noticed.
The temptation is to say that it doesn’t get any better than Crosby vs Ovechkin, but that wouldn’t be true.
There’s still the possibility of Crosby vs Ovechkin in the playoffs.
I’ve heard a lot of fans say that they hope the Penguins can avoid playing Washington in the playoffs.
Sorry. I understand wanting the easiest road to another Cup, but I hope they play each other again and I hope it goes seven games. It definitely doesn’t get any better than that.