The Sidney Crosby vs Alex Ovechkin debate never seems to die. Is one player truly better than the other?
Crosby and Ovechkin both entered the NHL in 2005 and have played 17 seasons in the league. Ovechkin was drafted first overall by Washington in 2004, while Crosby was drafted first overall by Pittsburgh in 2005. Both players have gone on to achieve tremendous success.
Ovechkin has become one of the greatest goalscorers of all time, while Crosby has become one of the NHL’s best all-around players. Crosby has won three Stanley Cups with the Penguins, while Ovechkin has won one Stanley Cup with the Capitals.
Ovechkin has scored significantly more goals than Crosby while recording an equal number of points. Crosby has missed significant time due to injury, however, which makes the Crosby vs Ovechkin debate harder to analyze.
In this article, we’ll look at the career stats, playoff stats and head-to-head stats of each player to determine if one of Crosby and Ovechkin is truly better than the other.
Sidney Crosby vs Alex Ovechkin Stats
|Sidney Crosby||NHL Stats||Alex Ovechkin|
|1.26||Points Per Game||1.10|
|3,797||Shots On Goal||6,355|
Stats last updated October 13th, 2023.
Sidney Crosby vs Alex Ovechkin Playoff Stats
|Sidney Crosby||NHL Playoffs Stats||Alex Ovechkin|
|1.1||Points Per Game||0.97|
|536||Shots On Goal||630|
Crosby vs Ovechkin Head-to-Head Stats
|Sidney Crosby||Head-to-Head Stats||Alex Ovechkin|
|1.3||Points Per Game||1.1|
|214||Shots On Goal||330|
The Case for Alex Ovechkin
There’s a good argument to be made that Alex Ovechkin is the greatest hockey goalscorer of all time. Ovechkin sits second on the NHL’s all-time goals list and is closing in on Wayne Gretzky’s legendary record. Nobody in the NHL, including Sidney Crosby, can shoot the puck like Ovechkin. If the Crosby vs Ovechkin debate simply came down to goalscoring, it’s no secret who would come out on top.
Wayne Gretzky (894), Gordie Howe (801) and now Alex Ovechkin (767). pic.twitter.com/lSXPSxw8AW
— NHL (@NHL) March 16, 2022
Ovechkin’s physicality and durability also give him the edge in the Crosby vs Ovechkin debate. The fact Ovechkin has dished out almost 2,000 more hits than Crosby is simply mind-blowing. What makes Ovechkin’s physical game even more impressive is that he’s only missed 47 NHL games in his entire career. That’s basically unheard of for a forward who is averaging around five hits per game.
The Case for Sidney Crosby
Sidney Crosby is one of the most complete NHL players of all time. Sid might not have the elite shot that Ovi possesses, but there’s no denying he’s the more well-rounded player. Crosby is an incredible playmaker with elite vision, ridiculous edgework and hockey intelligence. Crosby makes plays that only a handful of hockey players can make. Ovechkin can shoot the puck better, but you won’t see him setting up his teammates to the extent of Crosby.
Crosby has also won three Stanley Cups compared to Ovechkin’s one. Sure Stanley Cups are more indicative of a team’s skill, but both Ovechkin and Crosby have made an equal number of postseason appearances. What really bolsters Crosby’s case is his ability to make his teammates better. Crosby helped turn mediocre forwards such as Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Conor Sheary and Bryan Rust into premium goalscorers. Ovechkin, meanwhile, spent almost the entirety of his NHL career playing on a line with elite playmaker Nicklas Backstrom. Backstrom has recorded over 700 assists and set up Ovechkin with countless premium passes.
Sidney Crosby vs Alex Ovechkin Verdict
The stats don’t lie in the Crosby vs Ovechkin debate. Ovechkin is clearly the superior goalscorer, but Crosby is the better all-around player. Crosby has just as many points as Ovechkin despite playing 100 fewer games. Sid the Kid also has two more Stanley Cups than Ovechkin and has proven to be incredibly clutch. Cups aren’t a great measure of individual skill, but they speak to leadership. Crosby’s skill-set is the type that makes the players around him better. That’s the best compliment any hockey player can receive.
Ovechkin gets points in the Crosby vs Ovechkin debate for his physicality and durability. While Ovi can change the game with a big hit, Crosby can change a game with a spectacular play at either end of the ice. Ovechkin’s shot is harder to stop, but it’s not like Crosby struggles in the goal-scoring department. Sid’s release and deceptive shooting has helped him pot over 500 goals in the NHL.
Crosby and Ovechkin are both incredible players for very different reasons. If a GM is hypothetically building a hockey team and gets to choose between the two stars, it would come down to need. If he needs a goalscorer to compliment an elite playmaker, he’s obviously selecting Ovechkin. If he needs an all-around superstar to build a franchise around, he’s likely taking Crosby. So who’s ultimately better between Crosby and Ovechkin? The numbers suggest Crosby is the better player overall, but Ovechkin is the superior goalscorer.