Sidney Crosby has been given a lot of credit, both for the rebirth of hockey in Pittsburgh and the NHL rebounding after the ugly labor stoppage during the 2004-05 season.
Jonathan Toews wasn’t the top pick in his draft class. He didn’t win the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in the NHL. And he still hasn’t been named captain of Canada’s team at the Winter Olympics.
The two have played together on two Olympic teams, and won gold both times.
Crosby won the Stanley Cup in 2009, posting 31 points in 24 playoff games that year. Evgeni Malkin won the Conn Smythe, however. And the Penguins haven’t been back to the Cup Final since 2009.
Toews led the Blackhawks back to the playoffs in 2009 as a 21 year old. The following year, he won the Conn Smythe as the Blackhawks captured the Stanley Cup after registering 29 points in 22 games.
In their postseason careers, Toews has played 117 games while Crosby has played 100 games.
Toews has won 56.7 percent of 2,495 faceoffs in his playoff career. He has also been credited with 105 takeaways and 56 blocked shots. Toews has won one Selke Trophy.
Crosby has won 52.3 percent of 2,237 faceoffs in his playoff career. Pittsburgh’s captain has been credited with 73 takeaways and 46 blocked shots. Crosby has won two Hart Trophies, two Ted Lindsay Awards, two Art Ross Trophies and one Rocket Richard Trophy.
Both players have won a Mark Messier Leadership Award.
The two are rivals.
Since the 2012 lockout, the numbers don’t overwhelmingly favor Crosby as much as they did earlier in the two superstars’ careers.
Crosby continues to be a point-per-game player, but his production hasn’t been as dominant since the NHL returned to the ice in 2013.
In 230 regular season games since the last work stoppage, Crosby has scored 90 goals. He has averaged 1.19 points per game over that span.
In 244 regular season games since 2013, Toews has scored 92 goals. Chicago’s captain has average .85 points per game over that span.
The biggest difference between the two has come after the regular season, though.
Since the lockout, Crosby has scored 10 goals and posted 18 assists for 28 points in 32 postseason games. He hasn’t played more than 14 games in a single postseason, and his point-per-game performance has dipped to .88 points per game.
Toews, on the other hand, has scored 22 goals and added 30 assists for 52 points in 65 playoff games – and has won two more Stanley Cups. Toews point-per-game average has also come down, but to .80 points per night.
On the rare occasion that Crosby has been healthy enough to dress and face Toews, the two haven’t avoided each other on the ice.
Most NHL executives and coaches would name one of these two bright stars when asked who they would start a franchise with today. Check Kevin Weekes’ response to the money question (starting at 2:07):
Wayne Gretzky lists them as numbers one and two on his list.