Rivalry Night: Jonathan Toews vs Sidney Crosby

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.

Toews Crosby

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.

13 thoughts on “Rivalry Night: Jonathan Toews vs Sidney Crosby

  • January 5, 2016 at 7:49 am

    I don’t see Crosby and Toews as “rivals” perse. If they both played in the same conference and their teams were primary combatants nearly every season in the conference finals, then sure. But fact is Crosby and Toews have very rarely gone head to head in games, and certainly for little more than 2 points in the twice a season pitting of a Western versus Eastern conference team.

    They aren’t benchmarks for one another. Rather they both have their own pages in the history of the NHL.

  • January 5, 2016 at 8:21 am

    From my point of view, 19 makes the players around him better. 87 not so much…

    I will give 87 the edge in the offensive part of the game, but overall 19 is the clear “complete” player every team longs for.

  • January 5, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Good article, good videos, informational, entertaining reading!

    But let’s face it, we all know who the better player is!

    Who made the cover of Sports Illustrated after the last Olympics?

    Who do they choose to be on the cover of NHL 2016?


  • January 5, 2016 at 10:01 am

    I have said this before. Crosby is “probably” the better player. BUT, Toews is the better Captain BY FAR. Babcock gave Toews (not Crosby) the ultimate compliment by saying whoever is playing with Toews are the best players on the ice. That is what a Captain is supposed to do. Crosby is still a big whiner. I don’t know how you whine on the ice then face your team in the locker room. Toews did his share of whining too, but has long grown out of that.

    So I take that back…..Toews is the better player

  • January 5, 2016 at 10:37 am

    noun: rival; plural noun: rivals
    1. a person or thing competing with another for the same objective or for superiority in the same field of activity.
    “he has no serious rival for the job”

    synonyms: opponent, challenger, competitor, contender; More
    adversary, antagonist, enemy;

    informalfrenemy; literaryfoe

    “his rival for the nomination”

    antonyms: ally

    •a person or thing that equals another in quality.
    “she has no rivals as a female rock singer”

    synonyms: equal, match, peer, equivalent, counterpart, like
    “the tool has no rival”


    verb: rival; 3rd person present: rivals; past tense: rivalled; past participle: rivalled; gerund or present participle: rivalling; past tense: rivaled; past participle: rivaled; gerund or present participle: rivaling

    1. compete for superiority with; be or seem to be equal or comparable to.
    “the efficiency of the Bavarians rivals that of the Viennese”

    synonyms: match, compare with, compete with, vie with, equal, measure up to, be in the same league as, be on a par with, touch, challenge; informalhold a candle to
    “few countries can rival ours for natural resources”

    Source: Google

    Sorry RTF

  • January 5, 2016 at 11:23 am

    As a Canadian I am tired of hearing this debate/comparison. For as pointless as it is it occurs far too often; and to no ones surprise fans of the respective teams side with their Captain.

    To boot: Kane is a more dangerous player than either. If I recall correctly leads the NHL in points in the playoffs since 2009; somewhere around the pace of 1 PPB. Kane suffers from being a winger, non-Captain, polarizing, and American. Not that being American is a bad thing – but it is far less sexy than being from the country that drives the bulk of hockey conversation around the NHL.

  • January 5, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Both are not as good as they used to be, at least not this season. Maybe it’s just a bit of a slump for them both and they’ll get back to being the dominant force they have been in the past … we’ll see. Neither are over the hill by any stretch and at 27/28 they should have some very good years left … maybe just not as good as they once were. There’s a lot of wear and tear on both of them and with all the high intensity playoff games they’ve played it would be unusual if it didn’t take a toll, especially Toews who plays a very physical game with all the board and crease scrums he’s in every game.

  • January 5, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Excellent write up Tab, completely glossed over those two headliners this morning and was looking at Crows numbers vs Pens which are pretty amazing. Those two aren’t rivals just like the Sox and Cubs aren’t rivals in the city of Chicago. Pretty obvious who winning these days on the diamond.

    Anyways, YES they are rivals in the simple fact that they are the face of the game. Its funny if you didn’t watch TSN broadcasting you wouldn’t necessarily see how big of a rockstar Toews is in Canada. I believe Toews is very under appreciated in Chicago because he is not a stat filler like Kane. Without questions Sid is the more gifter playmaker but Toews might be the better overall talent. Both are generational talents. Still remember how pissed I was when the Hawks missed out on Sid and Ovie and had to settle for Toews the following year. In hindsight that was the best thing that ever happened to them. Sticktap for Cam Baker and Jack Skille!

  • January 5, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Tab, thank you for putting this together – informative, and it’s appreciated.

  • January 5, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    This should be a question for those kids at the ‘I want moar. I want moar’ table. One guy is a better Pre Madonna. One guy is a better pond hockey. Who is who.

  • January 5, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    I love Sidney Crosby and Johhny Toews, but let’s be honest, Johhny is winning the ring contest 3-1. But when it all shakes out, would Sidney Crosby be a better player on the Hawks? Absolutely!!

  • January 5, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    I don’t give a crap about statistics… and regular season accolades.

    It’s all about winning and Toews does it consistently.

    He is the best captain in the NHL and arguably all of pro sports.

  • January 5, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    2 classy pros, Dream team givens.Hockey pool top picks.,.,.Canadian boys with good values. Large rings that shine and Gold medals,.,.,nuff said.

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