After his recent Eastern Conference Final win earned him a ticket to a second straight Stanley Cup, the question begs: Where does Crosby rank among the NHL’s greats?
“Crosby could be the leader of the first team to win back-to-back Cups in the cap era and it would be his third Stanley Cup overall,” said Dan Riccio, on Sportsnet’s Hot Stove. “He is, at least, starting to chisel his face into the Mount Rushmore of NHL Players.
“On that Mount Rushmore would be Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux and probably Gordie Howe. Is Crosby there yet?”
Crosby, who is still only 29 years old, has already compiled an outstanding NHL career.
In just 782 career regular-season games, he has recorded 1,027 points composed of 382 goals and 645 assists, good enough for 77th all-time. His points-per-game is off the charts — especially considering that he is doing it in an era when scoring is generally down — at 1.31, good enough for sixth most in the history of the league.
The only real knock on Crosby is that he only has two Stanley Cup rings, which are not even the most championships of a player in this current era.
“There is a camp who says that he is the best player, but [Jonathan] Toews is probably the best winner,” said Donnovan Bennett. “But if he wins back-to-back and they have the same number of Cups then I think that there’s no conversation. Crosby is No. 1 and Toews is fighting for second.”
During his time in the NHL, Crosby has picked up just about every trophy there is to win. He’s won the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe, the Hart Trophy, the Ted Lindsay Award, the Art Ross Trophy and many more, but the list gets even more impressive from an international standpoint. He has two gold medals at the Olympics and one each at the World Juniors, the world championship and the World Cup — where he also won the MVP.
But maybe the expectations were too high for Crosby. Are people weighing Stanley Cup wins too heavily?
“I think we expected so much from Sidney Crosby early on and, he, through no fault of his own, didn’t win nearly as much,” said Craig Battle. “When he won his first Cup it felt like it was the beginning of the Crosby-Cup era and we were going to see him do this five or six times.
“Instead of Crosby taking his place right away, he had that one win and then his Cup credibility kind of faded. But last year, and this year has gone a long way in saying that he is the player that we all knew he was and he just had incredible competition. The fact that he didn’t win Cups in a landslide isn’t a knock on him as a career, it’s a team game.”