Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Debate over Crosby vs. Mcdavid

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Debate over Crosby vs. Mcdavid

Article excerpt

Look, it's not easy to make a case for a guy who's 23 points off the NHL scoring lead as the best player in the world.

I'm not looking for easy.

I'm looking for right.

The "best player" question arises because the Edmonton Oilers were in town Wednesday. Which means Connor McDavid was in town (which means your defensemen should probably avoid ill-advised pinches while he's on the ice).

And while NHL scoring leader Nikita Kucherov and a few others could probably qualify as the current "best player," I'm going to narrow it to McDavid and Sidney Crosby, and I'm going to start with a question of my own:

Do you value all 200 feet of ice?

If you do - if you value the defensive side of the sport - then Crosby's your guy. He followed the path of his childhood idol, Steve Yzerman, by radically expanding his game in the 30s phase of his career.

Crosby is killing penalties these days. He has makes a significant difference on the Penguins' kill. He also is a legitimate candidate for the Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward. And he's not exactly slacking on the offensive end. Going into Wednesday's game, he had 24 goals and 65 points in 53 games. He's a hot two weeks away from vaulting himself into the top 10.

Crosby and McDavid didn't fill the scoresheet Wednesday, but each could have if teammates had finished brilliant plays. You saw their respective styles on full display - McDavid's ability to make plays at the speed of light and Crosby's incredible vision and passing ability in the offensive zone.

The two took turns turns puttin' on the ritz, whether it was Crosby dropping a between-the-skates-pass to Kris Letang or McDavid pirouetting at full speed as he received a pass at the Penguins blue line, then nearly scoring on a high-velocity backhander.

McDavid was awarded a penalty shot at 17:25 of the second period - a Crosby turnover set him up - only to see Matt Murray rob him with a glove save. …

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