Battle of the wunderkinds: McDavid and Crosby set to face off in Oilers-Penguins matchup

Two of the Nationwide Hockey League’s greatest stars are set to face off Thursday evening when the Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins meet at PPG Paints Enviornment.

Ever since Wayne Gretzky, aptly referred to as ‘The Nice One,’ retired from the NHL over 20 years in the past, followers of the sport have patiently awaited one other expertise that may so clearly dominate the league compared to his friends, and in such a means that nobody may contest the title of the following best participant on the earth.

Whereas the league has seen numerous different phenoms cross by means of over time who’ve muddled the controversy over time, Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid had been two younger Canadian youngsters who excited the hockey group early on, even incomes themselves the moniker, “The Subsequent One,” previous to their skilled days.

Crosby finally ended up as the primary total decide on the 2005 NHL Draft and McDavid the identical, simply ten years later.

Quick ahead a number of years from their particular person adolescent achievements and at current, we’ve got a 35-year-old Crosby and 26-year-old McDavid who’re arguably nonetheless thought of the generational expertise — of their respective generations.

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Crosby, maybe finest identified to today for his ‘Golden Purpose’ on the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, is a two-time Olympic gold-medalist, three-time Stanley Cup champion, two-time Stanley Cup MVP and five-time NHL All-Star. He’s gained the Hart Trophy twice, the Artwork Ross Trophy twice, the Conn Smythe Trophy twice, the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy twice and the Ted Lindsay Award 3 times.

McDavid, like Crosby, has been extraordinarily profitable up to now in his profession —in the case of private success. He’s a six-time NHL All-Star and has additionally gained the Hart Trophy twice and the Ted Lindsay Award 3 times, however has double the Artwork Ross Trophy wins that Crosby does.

On the subject of team-level success, nonetheless, McDavid has but to expertise among the most prestigious achievements obtainable to a hockey participant. As NHL gamers haven’t participated within the Olympics since 2014, McDavid has not but had the chance to signify Canada on the world’s greatest stage, and on the NHL aspect of issues, the Oilers haven’t gained a Stanley Cup since 1990 (years earlier than McDavid was even born).

private information, Crosby met three huge profession milestones final season, etching his title within the NHL historical past books. He joined Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin as the one lively NHL gamers to attain 500 targets, turned the twenty second participant in league historical past to report 1,400 factors (the seventh-fastest to take action), and earned his two hundredth post-season level (solely the sixth participant to achieve the milestone).

McDavid then again met a milestone of his personal simply this previous Tuesday, changing into the fifth quickest and fifth youngest participant in NHL historical past to report 800 profession factors (besting Crosby’s report by 26 video games). Again in November, McDavid performed his five hundredth sport, and his 724 factors on the time had been the second-most by means of 500 video games amongst gamers chosen No. 1 within the NHL Draft, behind solely Mario Lemieux. He’s the sixth participant in NHL historical past to achieve each the 700 and 800-point milestones inside the similar season.

Whereas the pair of captains every boast numerous different awards, information, and private accomplishments that we may spend far too lengthy itemizing off and evaluating to find out which participant has an edge, the purpose right here is that this: we’re at present witnessing two franchise gamers play some darn good hockey.

Heading into Thursday’s sport, McDavid leads the league with 105 factors in 58 video games this season. When requested in regards to the feat on Wednesday, Crosby had nothing however shining issues to say about his peer.

“I feel 120 [points] appeared like a loopy quantity at one level. Now it seems to be like he’s going to cruise to that,” said Crosby. “He’s discovering a means yearly to get higher whenever you don’t suppose it’s doable. That’s not a knock on him. He’s simply setting the bar actually excessive. He continues to push it.”  

When requested which space of McDavid’s sport he finds significantly efficient, Crosby clarified there was “a couple of.”

“I’d say his velocity, however there are quite a lot of guys which have velocity. It’s the way in which he makes use of it. It’s his hockey sense, his capability to make performs, shoot the puck. I imply, he’s scoring a ton of targets this 12 months, so you may inform that he’s centered on taking pictures the puck as properly. He’s harmful in quite a lot of other ways.”

In 10 profession matchups towards each other, McDavid has 18 factors (5 targets, 13 assists) whereas Crosby has six (three targets, three assists). The Oilers are 4-3-3 in these 10 conferences, with wins within the final 4 straight.

You possibly can catch McDavid and Crosby going head-to-head on Sportsnet at 7 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. MT.

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