Ask any Pittsburgh Penguins fan, “Who is the greatest Penguins player of all time?”, and everyone will say Mario Lemieux. He is the guy that brought the Stanley Cup to Pittsburgh, saved the team more than once, and who has the statue of himself outside the Consol Energy Center.
On Saturday, the Penguins are taking on the Florida Panthers. After a month that saw Evgeni Malkin put up huge point numbers and Sidney Crosby tally his 700th point in his career, I thought it would be fun doing a little comparison. So, who is better?
Malkin is better because…
Have you ever watched the man the Pens’ fans call “Geno” play? Malkin skates with such power and strength that he reminds people of Lemieux. If you get a chance, go to YouTube and check out the goal that Malkin scored against future Hall-of-Famer Martin Brodeur.
Historically, Malkin has the hardware to prove that he is better. Geno won the Calder Trophy for being the NHL’s rookie of the year, something Crosby did not win over Alexander Ovechkin. Malkin has been named to four All-Star teams. Geno also won both the Ted Lindsay and Hart Trophies in 2012. If that were not enough, Malkin has won one thing that Crosby has never won — the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Stanley Cup Playoffs MVP.
Yes, Malkin started off very slow this season. However, he has really come on in the month of November. In 27 games played, Malkin has tallied 31 points and is currently five points behind Crosby in the scoring race. Malkin leads the NHL in assists. He has only six goals this season, but he is setting others up to score — and isn’t that what the team wants?
Crosby is better because…
Sidney Crosby is everything you want in a hockey player. Crosby has the grit of a third-line player and is not afraid to get into people’s faces and score in the dirty spots on the ice. Crosby has the best backhand of anyone to ever play in the NHL. If that were not enough, Sid has the offensive playmaking ability that any GM in the league would love to start a team around.
Historically, Sidney Crosby has been one of the top players in the NHL every season that he played. His one downfall has been his injury issues. Crosby missed many games in the past two and a half seasons due to these injuries. Can you imagine if Crosby were healthy during these times — how many more MVP awards and scoring titles he could have won?
Crosby has his own laundry list of awards. Like Malkin, Crosby has won one Stanley Cup trophy in 2009 and became the youngest captain to ever hoist the Cup. Crosby was also the youngest player in North American history to ever win a scoring title. He has been elected to four All-Star games, won one scoring title, one “Rocket” Richard Trophy for being the league leader in goals, two MVP awards (players’ vote) and one NHL MVP award.
If that were not enough to say that he is better than Malkin, Crosby scored the game-winning goal in overtime to help Team Canada win the Gold Medal in hockey in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Malkin has won no Olympic medals as of yet.
This season, Crosby is on pace to win yet another scoring title. As of Saturday’s game, he has a five-point lead in the scoring race. Crosby does not lead the league in goals or assists, but still leads the league in scoring. He has been clutch in both areas this year, not just one.
So who is better right now, Malkin or Crosby? I feel it is Crosby. However, you just cannot compare the two players. They are both great in their own ways. If you are a Penguins fan, you can debate this until you are blue in the face. The most important thing you need to remember is this: your favorite team has both of these players. Be happy and thankful they are on this team and not another.