Alex Ovechkin Stanley Cup Win Could Help Re-Spark Debate

That Alex Ovechkin-Sidney Crosby debate has gotten a tad stale over the last few years with Washington’s inability to win. Following the acquisition of Kevin Shattenkirk, the Caps are now a legitimate Cup threat, and you’ve got to wonder if a Cup win for Ovie might re-spark that old debate of who is better/more valuable.

Alex Ovechkin was selected first overall back in 2004 by the Washington Capitals. A year later, Pittsburgh were able to select Sidney Crosby in the same spot. Coming out of the 2004-05 lockout, a rivalry/debate began to brew regarding who was/would be the more dominant player.

For many years, you could have made strong arguments for either individual. Both were among league leaders in scoring and both managed to rack up a wealth of hardware.

But then came a Cup victory.

Feb 17, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The Blue Jackets won 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh defeated Detroit in 2009, Evgeni Malkin was named Conn Smythe Winner, and Sidney Crosby racked up 31 points in 24 games. For the years that followed, that Cup ring became top argument to settle the debate.

Fast forward to 2016, the Pittsburgh Penguins win a second Stanley Cup and defeat Washington along the way. Sidney Crosby winds up being named Conn Smythe winner after an unbelievable season/playoffs (that was rather ugly to start). All of a sudden, it seemed the debate was all but dead.

Not so fast.

With the recent acquisition of Kevin Shattenkirk, the Washington Capitals finally look poised to win a Stanley Cup, and you’ve got to wonder what it could mean to a debate that has lost its luster over the past few years.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Sidney Crosby has 372 goals, 633 assists (1005 points) in 761 regular season games. Alex Ovechkin has 552 goals, 468 assists (1020 points) in 900 contests. Crosby has 49 goals, 88 assists (137 points) in 124 post-season match-ups. Ovie has 41 goals, 41 assists (82 points) in 84 playoff games.

Crosby has topped 100 points in five different seasons. Ovechkin has attained the feat a total four times, with both having racked up north of 100 in their rookie campaign back in 2005-06.

Sidney is a two-time Art Ross Trophy (most points) winner (2006-07 and 2013-14), two-time Hart Trophy (MVP) winner (2006-07 and 2013-14), three-time Ted Lindsay Award winner (2006-07, 2012-13, and 2013-14), Maurice “Rocket” Richard (most goals) winner (2009-10), and Conn Smythe winner (2015-16).

Alex Ovechkin beat out Sid in Calder Voting during their rookie season. He has only won the Art Ross Trophy (most points) once in his career (2007-08), but is a six-time Maurice “Rocket” Richard (most goals) winner, including four straight dating back to 2012-13. Ovie is also a three-time Ted Lindsay Award winner (2007-08, 2008-09, and 2009-10), but has an edge on Crosby with three Hart Trophies (MVP) (2007-08, 2008-09, and 2012-13).

By the numbers, one could argue that Alex Ovechkin might be more accomplished. Unfortunately, we don’t base things merely on numbers. In the end, all that really matters is winning championships.

Which brings me back to my original question. If Washington can get over that elusive hump and win a Stanley Cup, does Ovie finally have a leg to stand on in the Crosby-Ovechkin debate? If not, what do you think it would take for Alex Ovechkin to close the gap?

Personally, I think Ovechkin supporters would have a strong argument in the case if Washington can win. Sure, the Caps have had some great teams over the years, but it’s nothing like having Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin locked in at 1-2 up the middle.

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