The 21st century has spoiled us with many great player rivalries. Manning vs. Brady, Federer vs. Nadal, LeBron vs. the world, and Crosby vs. Ovechkin. Although each is a worthy talking-point, today I’m focusing on the last one.
The two have been linked since Sidney Crosby succeeded Alexander Ovechkin as the first-overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft. In spite of being drafted a year apart, they entered the league at the same time thanks to the NHL’s 2004-05 lockout. The rivalry is so illustrious that it goes beyond just Pittsburgh and Washington. While it is clear that one has enjoyed more team success, their individual stats are quite comparable. Both recently joined the 1,000-point club, joining a prestigious list of 84 others.
We can sit here and banter back-and-forth about the fact that Ovechkin got there first, or that Crosby accomplished the feat in fewer games, but I’d rather take the time to look ahead at what’s next for the two tremendous players. Here are the odds on what they will accomplish in their respective careers, and how long it will take to reach their next milestones.
Crosby vs. Ovechkin: Milestone Odds
Odds to record more career points
Alexander Ovechkin: 9/10
Sidney Crosby: 10/9
It’s hard to imagine Crosby catching Ovechkin in goals and vice versa for assists, but the two are currently separated by just 15 career points, and it could be even closer by the time you read this. With Ovechkin being two years older, it would be reasonable to assume he has fewer years left in the tank. But Crosby’s history of concussions thwarts that thought.
I see Ovechkin playing a little longer and give him the nod here based solely on longevity.
Odds either cracks the top-ten for career points: 1/3
Odds both crack the top-ten for career points: 6/1
The current magic number is 1,591, which would surpass Phil Esposito who currently sits in tenth on the all-time points list. In order for both to make the top-ten, they would have to best Joe Sakic’s 1,641 points.
O/U career games for Crosby to reach 1,100 points: 832.5
Through 757 career games, the Pens captain averages about 1.3 points per game. Following the math, it would take him just over 75 more games to reach 1,100.
O/U career games for Ovechkin to reach 1,100 points: 970.5
Through 895 career games, the captain of the Capitals averages a touch over 1.1 points per game. Currently sitting at 1,017, the math suggests that Ovechkin also needs just over 75 more games to accomplish the feat.
Odds Crosby reaches 600 career goals: 2/3
Crosby currently has 369 career goals. To get to 600, he will need to keep his current pace for nearly six more seasons. At just 29 years old, I like his prospects, injury history notwithstanding.
Odds Ovechkin reaches 750 career goals: 2/3
“The Great Eight” has tallied 551 career goals to this point, and only needs to keep this pace for another four seasons to join the likes of Wayne Gretzky (894), Gordie Howe (801), and Jaromir Jagr (749 and counting).
O/U career games for Crosby to reach 750 career assists: 897.5
“Sid the Kid” only needs another 117 assists for this milestone. At his current pace of 0.84 assists per game, it won’t take Crosby long.
O/U career games for Ovechkin to reach 600 career assists: 1,152.5
Not to suggest he’s a selfish player, but sharing the puck isn’t exactly what Ovechkin is known for. It wouldn’t be that shocking to see him break the 750-goal plateau before 600 assists.
Odds to win a(nother) Stanley Cup
Sidney Crosby: 4/5
Alexander Ovechkin: 7/8
The Capitals have won their division six-times under Ovechkin’s leadership, earning the top-seed in the conference three times. But they’ve never even made it to the conference finals. On the other hand, Crosby has raised the Stanley Cup twice, including last season.
Since entering the NHL in 2005, there have only been four occasions where both the Capitals and Penguins were not in the playoffs. The two are currently neck-and-neck for top spot in the Metropolitan Division and will both be strong Cup contenders this season and next (and probably for years to come).
Ovechkin and the Caps will get the monkey off their backs, eventually. Crosby is still young and dominant and will lead the Pens to another Cup, in all likelihood.
Photo Credit: Michael Miller [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.