Jonathan Toews, World’s Best Hockey Player?

Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby won their 2nd Olympic gold medal as teammates in Sochi.

Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby won their 2nd Olympic gold medal as teammates in Sochi. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

It has become a forgone conclusion that Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby is the best player in the world. From media outlets to social circles, it seems as if anyone who appears to know anything about hockey will agree that Crosby stands alone. But what if I told you that they didn’t know what they were talking about? What if I told you they were completely wrong? Well, that’s exactly what I’m telling you, and here’s why – Jonathan Toews.

Jonathan Toews vs. Sidney Crosby

When comparing Jonathan Toews to Sidney Crosby, one must assess the entire picture. If stacking points is the standard, Crosby runs away in the comparison hands down. But there’s a reason why scoring isn’t the lone standard – because it doesn’t reveal the entire player. For instance, Montreal’s Max Pacioretty is 5th in the NHL with 30 goals, seven more than Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux. No one, however, would ever make the mistake of elevating Pacioretty, a fine player, ahead of Giroux.

Needless to say, Crosby, who has played two seasons longer and 61 more games, edges Toews with a 749-433 regular season point total. Even with a 61 game advantage, the ratio is lopsided. So how can anyone say Jonathan Toews is better? The answer comes in several fashions.

Championships

Both Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby are winners; that’s a given. But of the two, who is the true winner?

Sidney Crosby has a Stanley Cup Championship to his name, along with achievements like the youngest player to record 100 and 200 points, the youngest captain to win a Stanley Cup, and the winner of the Art Ross, Hart Memorial, and Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophies. Clearly, the inner circles know the best player in the world when they see him, right? Not exactly.

While Crosby was the youngest captain to win a Stanley Cup, leading Pittsburgh to a Game Seven against Detroit in 2009, he was on the ice for only 32 seconds of the 3rd period. Although Crosby tallied 31 points throughout the playoffs that year, it was Evgeni Malkin and Max Talbot’s contributions that lifted Pittsburgh to the top.

“Talbot, who had four goals and was plus-four, both series highs, may have been the best player in the finals. But Evgeni Malkin, who led all scorers in the playoffs , was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason most valuable player.

“But it was the 25-year-old Talbot who shone brightest on this night. Soon after a first period in which the Penguins held a 14-8 turnover advantage against a Detroit club clearly back on its heels, Pittsburgh jumped into the lead off another Red Wings giveaway. Under pressure from Talbot and Malkin, defenseman Brad Stuart passed the puck right to Talbot, who fired past Detroit goalie Chris Osgood from 12 feet at 1:13.” — The New York Times

Jonathan Toews, on the other hand, not only won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2010, he did so as the second youngest player at just 22-years-of-age. Crosby’s 31 playoff points in 2009 wasn’t enough to win the award when Pittsburgh hoisted the Cup, but Toews’ 29 were, proving the point that scoring isn’t the sole measuring stick of evaluating who is better than than whom.

Unlike Crosby, Toews added a second Stanley Cup to his trophy collection in 2013, helping the Blackhawks down the Boston Bruins in six games.

“He’s a great player,” said teammate Patrick Kane. “He’s played big in a lot of big games. He won the Conn Smythe our last playoffs [in 2010] and was awesome in that Olympic gold-medal game, and made some big plays tonight, a big goal, a big pass to Bickell to tie it up. He’s just a competitor.

“That’s really all you can say about Jonathan Toews is he’s a competitor, and he leads the team in the right way, and we all follow.”

Olympic Awards

Jonathan Toews has won 2 Olympic gold medals and was named the best forward in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Jonathan Toews has won 2 Olympic gold medals and was named the best forward in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby have now been teammates for Team Canada twice with the conclusion of this year’s games in Sochi. Both have helped their team win the gold medal twice, and both were considered for the captaincy for the Sochi games. And although Canadian head coach Mike Babcock ultimately gave Crosby the nod, it was Toews’ ability and accomplishments that led to Crosby insisting on okaying the decision with Toews beforehand.

Neither Toews nor Crosby stood out statistically in the Sochi games, but both scored goals in Canada’s 3-0 gold medal game against Sweden. In 2010, Crosby netted the game-winning overtime goal to give Canada the gold over Team USA. But it was Toews who left Vancouver with the Best Forward Award.

“In addition to guiding the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup, the 22-year-old Canadian earned an Olympic gold medal in February, becoming the youngest player in history to win a Stanley Cup, Olympic Gold and a World Championship.” — Bauer Hockey

Oh Captain! My Captain!

In 2007, Crosby became the youngest player to be selected as the captain for any NHL franchise. And even at 19-years-of-age, the star forward displayed maturity that is essential in leadership.

“Part of what makes Sidney not your average 19-year-old kid is that he gave it some thought for two or three weeks and came back to us and said he didn’t feel the time was right,” said Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero. “He didn’t really turn it down, he deferred it basically.”

The Penguins haven’t lived to regret that decision, with Crosby blossoming into arguably the league’s best player. But what about Jonathan Toews? The Blackhawks leader may not have been 19-years-old when Chicago named him the 34th captain in franchise history, but at age 20, Toews became the third youngest in NHL history.

“Jonathan deserves this honor, he is a tremendous individual and a wonderful leader on and off the ice,” said Blackhawks GM (at the time) Dale Tallon. “He has experience in captaining teams from his World Junior appearances and guys follow his lead in our locker room.”

With success coming to both young players early and often, the leadership comparison would normally be considered a push. That is, until their most recent match up in the outdoor Stadium Series game in Chicago.

Not only did Toews outshine Crosby with two goals and assist in Chicago’s 5-1 throttling of Pittsburgh, he did so in conditions not conducive for a normal hockey game.

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“The score is 5-1; if it were a straight-up matchup Jonathan (Toews) had two goals and we didn’t match,” said Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma. “I don’t look at it as a straight-up matchup and one-on-one competition. Our team wasn’t good enough. Our team wasn’t at the level we needed to be and they were. You saw that pretty much right from the get-go of this game.”

Toews further exuded his leadership by calling out his former Olympic teammate on what he, and the hometown crowd perceived to be Crosby diving to draw a penalty. As shown in a recent episode of NBC Sports Network’s NHL Revealed, Toews had no issue standing up for his teammates and saying what needed to be said.

“When the puck dropped in Chicago, the Olympics seemed like a distant memory.

‘Stay on your feet there, Sid,’ Toews chirps at Crosby.

He can-opened me!’ Crosby yells back.

‘Wasn’t he just your teammate the last two weeks?’ someone asks Toews on the Blackhawks bench.” — NHL Revealed

Defense Matters Too

Sure, Crosby leads the league in points with 84 in 63 games. But not only is Toews not too far behind with 61 in 64 games, it’s Toews’ defense that adds to his claim to best player in the world. And although Crosby touts a plus-seven rating through 63 games this season, it was his minus-two rating against Toews and the Blackhawks that have all indications pointing to Pittsburgh’s firepower to credit for Crosby’s above average plus-minus on the season.

“Sidney Crosby isn’t a Selke level defensive forward, and is bound to end up on the ice for some goals against just as a function of the heavy amount of minutes he plays plus all the faceoffs in the defensive zone he’s called upon to take. At times there will be a lack of back-checking. The SH goal against last night, Crosby had played 2:49 of a period that only had 5:18 gone. When playing that heavy amount of minutes and several shifts in a row, the energy level (especially in the 3rd period) isn’t always going to be there.

That’s reasonable, but it’s still an excuse. It’s one thing to say that even great players occasionally have bad games, and last night certainly qualified as one of the worst in the celebrated career of Sidney Crosby. But, overall, the Pittsburgh Penguins outscore their opponents while Crosby is one the ice, eating the most minutes and faceoffs of any NHL forward, and battling the other team’s toughest competition. That’s a huge win that helps set the Penguins up to win many of their games.” — SB Nation

Jonathan Toews, however, is not only a Selke level defensive foward, he proved so by winning the award last year. Toews captured the award, beating out Boston’s Patrice Bergeron and Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk, with a plus-28 rating, a league best 56 takeaways, and a 59.9 percent faceoff winning percentage. There’s no reason to believe the Blackhawks captain won’t be in the thick of the race again this year with a current plus-minus of plus-24.

Is Jonathan Toews The Best Player In The World?

Jonathan Toews has surpassed Sidney Crosby in Stanley Cup Championships with 2.

Jonathan Toews has surpassed Sidney Crosby in Stanley Cup Championships with 2.

In comparison to the default answer in Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews has made a bullet proof case for being called the best player in the world. It’s easy to declare Crosby the better of the two when it comes to pure scoring, especially when Toews isn’t even the best scorer on his team (Patrick Kane – 65 points). But Toews is no slouch when it comes to inking the stat sheet. His leadership, defensive play, and championship intangibles make him the clear choice to call the best in the world.

If you don’t believe me, take another’s opinion into consideration:

“One player to choose to start a franchise? You can have Sidney Crosby.

I’m taking Jonathan Toews.

I’m taking the 25-year-old who already has two Stanley Cup rings and two Olympic gold medals, a player who intrinsically seems to comprehend what it takes to win and with a willingness to do whatever it means to get there.” — Steve Simmons, Toronto Sun

Even after Toews won the first of his two Stanley Cups, then team president John McDonough recognized his star center for what he really is.

“He’s one of those once-in-a-generation type of players as far as I’m concerned.”

 

Andy Dudones
Andy is a contributor for The Hockey Writers, covering the Philadelphia Flyers. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Communications from Walsh University. He enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, and reading. He is married with a daughter. You can follow Andy on Twitter @ADudones.
Andy Dudones
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41 Comments

  1. This is coming from a Flyers fan…. The only people to think that toews is better are crosby haters. Crosby is by far the best player in the NHL

  2. What you fail to acknowledge is that while Jon has won 1 more cup than Sid, he has been the benefactor of far greater teammates. While Crosby has had Malkin by his side and Hossa for a small amount of time, Toews has been playing on stacked Blackhawks teams that featured Kane, Ladd, Sharp, Keith, Seabrook, Campbell, Bolland, Hossa, etc. On the pens side Letang and Gonchar are decent D men, but they are nowhere near as good as Seabrook and Keith.

    Can you imagine how many cups Crosby would have won if he had all of these guys playing with him for years? Every year, the Penguins are massively top heavy with an extreme lack of depth which always catches up to them in the playoffs when depth is far more important then superstars. In hockey where your best players only play about one third of the game, a deep and stacked team will be much more successful in best of 7 series, which is why the Blackhawks have won more cups lately, and why you think Toews is better.

    When comparing their trophy cases, let’s be honest, Toews 2 world championship titles mean nothing, because noone cares about that tournament. Toews’ season high in points is 76, while Crosby piled up more than 76 assists in one season (84 in 06-07) and added 36 goals! Sidney Crosby is the best player in the NHL, while Jonathan Toews is surely top 5. Toews has simply been a member of a more complete team for the duration of his career.

  3. James Hanley says:

    Did anybody mention they both played at Shattuck St Mary’s which is located in Faribault Minn. Go Fighting Sioux Hockey

  4. Dude – your article reeks of i-hate-Sid-because-my-boy-Mr-No-Personality-isn’t-the-face-of-the-NHL. Get over it & quit being such a jock-sniffing homer. Also please try to use larger sample sizes (Gm 7,blizzard games) to prove your point.

    • Point taken. I use all feedback, whether I necessarily agree with the premise or not, to improve.

      I believe this is the only article that featured Crosby though. I don’t know where you’re getting the idea that all of my work blasts Crosby. This article itself doesn’t blast Crosby. Quite the opposite.

  5. Dude – I read the hockey writers b/c I like to see articles from true hockey lovers who appreciate the game. However, your article cones off as a Toews-homer – I-dont- like-Sid- because-he gets-more-attention whine fest.I particularly laughed @ your one-game -played-in-absolute-horrible conditions comparison of Sid v Toews. Please take off your Tews sweater and write something tangible.

    • You can add this to the sample size: Toews didn’t get completely shut down by Sean Couturier like Crosby did. Toews was able to muster up an assist against Coots, while Crosby was held pointless in back-to-back games. I particularly laughed at that.

  6. Are you serious he e is not even the best on his team

  7. If toews was really the best in the world this article would have been written by nhl.com and not a Chicago sports writer. I understand he is trying to make a case for his guy but when your comparing 2 active players you should really compare stats and MVPs and other Awards not cups. Stanley Cups are team trophies not individual same with gold medals. They both are young players and they both are on great teams let’s just count championships after their careers are over. Toews gets the nob defensively But sid is very underrated defensively because how great he is on offense. As an offensive player toews is good great hands and almost a point per game player but he doesn’t come close to Crosby in that area. It’s pretty hard to say someone is the best in the world when they’re not even the best offensive player on there team. We all need to just accept the fact that sid is the best right now and and has been for a while not taking anything away from Jonathan he’s definitely in the top five In the the league.

  8. There are a lot of off good point here, and enough to justify the conversation about the best player in the world, but not enough evidence to say definitively that he is

  9. I find it interesting that people are saying that Toews isn’t as good or valuable to his team because his team is much better. Did the Penguins not have similar draft picks to the Blackhawks. They have 2 #1 overall picks in Crosby and Fleury and they had 2 #2 picks in Malkin and Staal. the Blakchawks have a #1 pick in Kane and a #3 pick in Toews and none of the others were high draft picks so realistically Pittsburgh should be the better team but they aren’t and that could have a lot to do with Toews. Sharp was an average player before Toews came along and now over the last few years he’s turned into an elite player and is lighting up the scoresheet. Same with Keith and Seabrook. Keith wasn’t exactly winning Norris trohpies before Toews came around. kane and Toews both turned that team around. Toews held the record for longest point streak to start a career, he scored on his very first shot on his very first shift in the NHL and he is near the top of the league in faceoffs and shootouts every year. he is the kind of player who makes other players want to play better. there is a reason that the year Toews was drafted every player was asked in their draft interview which player they respected the most and every player that had ever come across Toews either as an opponent or a teammate said him. The team plays for him, you will notice that when he gets injured they don’t play as well, I believe Pittsburgh was doing just fine when Crosby went down the last time. Obviously offensively he is not comparable to Crosby but maybe if he wasn’t spending as much time playing defense he would be scoring more. Toews has changed the attitudes of a lot of guys on that team and you have to respect that. There is no other player in the league like him, he is a very special player and I think it would be hard to find a player as talented as him in every area of the game. Not only was the guy the youngest player to make the triple gold club but if he manages to win another World Championship gold he will become possibly the only player to do it twice and he is only 25 . He literally has 2 of everything, including World Junior Gold.

  10. Hey that’s just like your opinion man …

    In all seriousness there is no comparison when it comes to pure production, Sidney Crosby is the most productive player in the world hands down. This puts him on top as far as the “best player in the world” discussion goes. No one is not saying Toews is one of the games top players and you make some good points.

    However think of it like this, until the last few years he was not even in the discussion to begin with. Names have come and gone for who the “best player in the world” debate. Giroux, Ovechken, Tavares, Lindstrom, Datsyuk, The Sedins, Kane and Malkin. All these players at one time had made a case of being the games top player. Players get hot, have big years and some times win the cup. Does it make them great? Yes. Does it make them the best in the world? No.

    However just as Mario before him Crosby has stayed consistent barring injury for his whole career. He has lived up to every expectation and more. He is not only an offensive threat but more of a two way player than he gets credit for. Wayne Gretzky even compared Crosby to more of a Gordie Howe style player than him self. Howe of course being arguably the most complete player of all time.

    Most fans outside of Pittsburgh don’t watch him night in and night out but he is a mucker and grinder. He gets in deep fore checks, kills penalties goes up and down the ice, the things great two way players do. He has a third liner mentality, that is what makes him great.

    People will argue Toews has won more championships but that is completely irrelevant. Henri Richards had won 11 Stanley cups, does that make him better than Gretzky? No. That notion would be laughable, considering the average fan has never even heard of Henri Richards, and Gretzky just like Crosby is a house hold name not only in Canada but the US.

    You have every right to make a case for Toews just as Laviolette did for Giroux. No one is not saying Toews is a great player, hell he may even be the best in the west, but love him or hate him Crosby reigns supreme as the leagues top player, and almost ever expert agrees.

    • Sorry for the SP mistakes, first time poster on here didn’t know I couldn’t edit comments.

      Anyway …

      *Richard … not Richards

      and

      *Ovechkin

      I hope you still take me seriously, I do my best to make coherent post.

  11. I agree with a lot of points made by most people here. Toews is hands down my favorite active player but I also spend most of the year in halifax so I know the love people have for Crosby. They are both incredibly talented players but like people have said it is very hard to compare them because they are stronger in different areas of the game. If we are being accurate there is no arguing that Toews is the best all around player in the league because he does it all but Crosby’s offensive abilities are incomparable to anyone else and his defensive abilities are improving a lot. I agree with what you said about Toews not necessarily getting the respect he deserves. he is a winner in every sense of the word and all these people arguing about one not having won something without their teammates stepping up, well of course that is true for every single player no player takes the win for the whole team but like was said above just because they weren’t scoring or whatever does not mean they were not contributing in different ways to the team. And to the person above who says Crosby is better because he has 2 Hart trophies and Toews has none well its just like these people said he has a lot of talented players around him so that means nothing. If you put him on any other team really he would easily be a candidate for the Hart. Even Crosby recognizes the fact that Toews probably should have been Captain Canada over him. And all the people claiming that Crosby has had so many injuries well why don’t you look at Toews’ games player, he has only once played an entire season because he is hurt quite often as well. I think like people said they are almost impossible to compare because they are different types of players but if I was picking a team I would definitely be picking it around Toews, he is one of the most clucth players out there and he is near the top in faceoffs and shootouts every year. I just think Crosby gets a lot of biase in general because of who he is but he is unlike any player in the game today. I mean look at the 2010 olympics, they went with Crosby twice in the shootout and I am wondering what kind of id*ot puts Crosby in the shootout twice over a guy who is top 5 in career shootouts in the league and who single handedly beat the USA in the shootout in the World Juniors to get Canada to the gold medal game

  12. im gonna start by saying towes is a great player but hes no crosby. your article is pretty biased. you start it out in the worst way. ” I know crosby has harts, an art ross, a rocket richard, stanley cup, olympic gold and every one else thinks hes the best but cmon jonathan towes hes better. I admit defense accounts for good play, towes may be better two way but the offense end of the spectrum is completley lopsided not to mention this season crosby is second among fowards in ice time and has taken the most faceoffs in the leagues out of any player while winning a lil over half its like 50. something so besides one more cup towes doesnt have anything on crosby. if everyone thinks a guys the best he probbaly is, alot like lebron he gets hate but he clearly is the most dominant player in the game, and i tottaly agree with another commenter crosby is leading the league in points this season with chris kunitz and brian gibbons, kunitz is good but he aint doing what hes doing without crosby only crosby can make brian gibbons look good. flip flop towes and crosby’s linemates and towes is not doing anything. towes is a great player but hes not the best crosby is the next one hes 4th on the alltime regular season points per game dudes only 26 in a game where you win off goals im taking the guy whos gonna help get those goals then the other guy. not to mention crosby was the last to wint the ted lindsey an award that has seemed to allude the great towes

  13. It’s a shame that you folks back east don’t get to watch Anze Kopitar. I’m not here to say he’s better than either Crosby or Toews. I’m just saying it’s a shame that he doesn’t exist in your lexicon. Doug Weight was so impressed with Kopitar that he stated he would use the video of Kopitar during the ’11-’12 SC run as exactly how he wanted his centers to learn and play the game (Islanders, Tavares). Again not saying he’s better, just saying whether you built a team around Toews or Kopitar, the differences are slight. Toews is on a high-scoring team, Kopitar is the No. 1 center logging 22+ minutes a night for the best defensive team in the league. Kopitar has led his team in scoring every single season since he was 18. He has sick offensive skills. But because no one stays up to watch him play, he gets reduced to numbers. The wrong ones. He won’t be considered for the Selke or be recognized to be one of the top three centers in the league. It’s a shame.
    My rant for the month.

  14. Mark Wallace Graham says:

    Being the best player is more than just going out and scoring goals. Toews has the complete package, he is a leader on and off the ice. No only is Toews the best captain in the NHL, but, yeah, I’d go as far and say that Toews could very well be the best player out there. If I had to start a team today, Toews would be the first person I’d select.

  15. “By the way, Kunitz was already a star before he ever got to Pittsburgh.” – You did not seriously write that. Wow. How do you argue with that logic?

  16. You may not declare yourself the best but you don’t have to give a name at all- hockey players are kings of the non answer. He named Sid and so have most other players and coaches. You can’t deny that cause its actually fact and not your opinion.
    You can’t really consider Toews “durable” as you put it unless he gets hit the same way in the head and then cause he’s just more durable doesn’t get injured. I guess a puck to the face wouldn’t break his jaw right?
    You’re game 7 argument is ridiculous because if other players hadn’t stepped up during the Detroit series you wouldn’t have made it past the semis let alone to the cup. You credit Toews for all his team accomplishments while discrediting Sid for his.

    • You’re really grasping at straws with the “who said what” in regards to being asked who the best player is. I enjoy the discussion, but that angle needs to be put away.

      And yes, Crosby has endured some hardship as far as injuries go. If I’m not mistaken, I even gave you props for pointing out his injuries in the 1st place. But some people are flat out stronger than others. What may give one person a concussion may not give another. That’s purely speculation when talking about Toews, but his durability cannot be scoffed at. You can’t declare how rough of a game hockey is in one sentence, and in the next, say, “But that doesn’t matter with Toews.”

      The Game 7 argument is valid whether you want to see it or not. I am aware of the fact that Toews went MIA in parts of the playoffs last season, but showed up when it counted most. Crosby wasn’t even on the bench, let alone the ice when that Game 7 was being determined.

      I can assure you that I am not discrediting Sidney Crosby. I feel I gave him his due praise. He is arguably the best in the league/world. I personally feel, objectively, that he is not.

  17. First of all, it is misleading to say that Crosby has played 2 seasons more than Toews has, he has played only 61 more games. Second, you seem to be comparing the teams that they have been on more than the actual players. Just because Toews has 2 Stanley Cups and assorted gold medals does not mean he was the reason that his teams won them. Also, you readily admit that Crosby is a better offensive forward than Toews, but you claim that Toews is a better player because of his superior defensive abilities. How can you say Toews is “clearly” the best in the world because of this, when they each have different strengths? If your argument is that the player who makes their team better around them is the best, then just take a look at Crosby’s assists and faceoff wins. In my opinion Crosby is most likely the best offensive forward in the world, and Toews is probably the best defensive forward, but that’s my opinion. It’s impossible to claim definitively that one is better than the other.

    • When more and more people are stating that it’s a possibility that Toews was Canada’s best player in both Olympic games, it gives me a good indication that Canada may not have won gold. Now, that statement is for the intent of addressing your 1st comment, since ultimately, we’ll never know.

      To say the two have “different strengths” is to allude to the fact that Toews lacks scoring ability, which is simply not true. Yes, their strong suits are different, but not their strengths. Toews can score. He also has the ability to play shut down defense. Crosby, on the other hand, has been silenced by a 21-year-old Sean Couturier.

      I’d love to compare faceoff wins and percentage. Care to provide the data. I’ll warn you though, you’re not going to like what you find.

      And that’s fine if you disagree. That’s what makes this whole experience fun, right? But be careful in calling Crosby the best offensive forward. Ovechkin and Stamkos are right around the corner with valid arguments.

  18. Greg Hughes says:

    Crosby has a Hart trophy, probably two after this season, can Toews say the same? Yeah Toews has two Stanley Cups but he’s on arguably the best team in the league, and this past playoff the Penguins played with their backup goalie.

    No matter, though, because comparing Championships is biased, and saying Malkin and Talbot were solely responsible for the Cup win is the equivalent of saying Crosby is responsible for the gold medal win.

    Bottom line is comparing them to each other individually Crosby is definitely better. He turned Kunitz and Dupuis into first-line players, Toews has Sharp and Hossa on his line. All this being said, I think the only argument needed is the Hart trophy

    • Alex Ovechkin, Corey Perry, and Jose Theodore all have a Hart Trophy. In fact, Ovechkin has 3. Does that mean Ovechkin is better than both Crosby and Toews? No, it doesn’t for obvious reasons.

      I’m dumbfounded that you’re pointing to Toews’ supporting cast. Uh, allow me to remind you that Crosby has a fellow Hart Trophy winner as a teammate. The “The Pens endured the playoffs with a backup goalie” excuse is just that, an excuse. Bylsma rolled with the hot hand – which in fact, was not the reason they got swept by Boston. Furthermore, if it were the reason, they wouldn’t have even made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.

      In 2010, Crosby was responsible for the gold medal win. It states clearly in the article that he scored the game-winning goal. It also reads that Toews, not Crosby, was named the best forward though.

      By the way, Kunitz was already a star before he ever got to Pittsburgh. In fact, he was already a Stanley Cup winner! Oh, and Hossa? Crosby had him too – and lost.

      Next!

  19. Sid’s been in the NHL two years longer but you seem to conveniently have forgotten that Sid was out with a concussion. Sid doesn’t have 2 seasons on Toews he has 61 games on him. When someone wants to compare scoring they usually compare points per game but you didn’t do that because Sid blows Toews out of the water. To say that Sid isn’t responsible for winning the cup because he wasn’t the best player in game 7 is beyond ignorant as this is not the olympics and it takes a series to win not one game. Kudos on finding one reporter who agrees with your theory. You know who doesn’t? JONATHAN TOEWS and the majority of players and coaches in the NHL.

    • You do realize that nobody is going to declare themself the best, right? That’s PR suicide and even the dullest bulbs in the box know that.

      You do bring up a good point that I actually had not considered – the concussions. And yes, you’re right, that adds to Crosby’s case in regard to scoring. However, that also adds to Toews’ case in that he’s more durable. I’m sure you’d be alright with calling that a push.

      And I don’t know what’s so hard to understand about what I’m conveying when I brought up Game 7 against Detroit. I was taking nothing away from his contributions throughout the playoffs, and even throughout that series. But if Malkin and Talbot don’t show up in Game 7, Toews has 2 Cups to Crosby’s 0. That’s a fact. Sorry.

  20. hi Andy. Thanks for the article. You bring a great perspective to this subject. I agree with you that Toews has elevated his game to new heights and shown that he is a complete hockey player. I would say after watching the Sochi games that Toews has lifted himself past Sydney as the world’s elite hockey player. His intangible’s are incredible! Being down 3-2 in the third period I would for sure want Toews on my team! He is exciting to watch. Take Care.

  21. Ignacio Narbona says:

    Now, mind, my tenure in hockey fandom has been relatively short. I’m a chilean who came over to the states and eventually ended up in Chicago. A chilean who missed watching futbol and his friends, through a very difficult uphill battle, finally got him into hockey a few years ago. It’s like futbol on ice! (but not really!)

    Anyway. I sometimes balk at the idea of declaring “best players” because it really is quite a relative thing, very entrenched in what you consider to be factors that play into it. As much as I’d love to spit at the back of Crosby’s head, the kid can score. He definitely is the best scorer in the world. He doesn’t seem to hold very well under pressure, however. I mean, he might as well have been absent from last year’s playoffs for all the impact he had on the results. I kind of feel bad for him in a way. There’s gotta be a good number of fans and haters alike who will go for his throat every time he chokes and the team can’t fill the void his lack of production could leave.

    Enter Jonathan Toews. I don’t know if you could call him the best in the world. Again, I’m not fond of the title. But I sure as sh*t would call him the ideal player. I love me some Captain Serious and it has nothing to do with scoring, plus-minus, or any other stats. It’s the attitude. He’s hard-working, level-headed, and dedicated to his team. He takes the game seriously but finds his joy in it, both on and off the ice. That’s the kind of person players can rally behind. Someone commented earlier that Toews had little to do with our most recent Finals series victory, that if it weren’t for the team stepping up, if it weren’t for guys like Kaner, Bick, Seabs… any of the guys who had big moments through the playoffs and the finals… we would not have won it. To which I can only shake my head and say “no f**king duh!” and move on to ask one very simple question: Does anybody think that the Blackhawks would have come ready to win had Jonathan Toews not been leading them?

    Maybe. But I can guarantee you that the passion that drove them to play through broken bones and torn ligaments and who knows what else was certainly part the desire to win, but also part dedication to a team and to an ideal that can only come from having someone like Jonathan Toews out in front leading you.

    He could go a whole season without scoring and I still think he’d have a major and positive impact on his team.

    Crosby is a great player. Lord knows that, once you get through my considerable hatred for his team (part of what carried over from my futbol days is my staunch and near-hooliganistic love for my team, which means I hate all others. Hahaha), I can actually respect the dude. But is he the leader Jonathan Toews is? Nope.

    That’s what sets them apart, I think. And I don’t think it makes one better than the other. As you said yourself, part of winning requires competent teammates, and not to take a dump on the entire Penguins roster, but take Crosby away and they are a decent team. But not a great one. Not sure you could say the same for the team that won the Cup last year. That was a great line up, and it came to play and pick up the slack whenever the cap’n slumped. And I’ll go out on a limb to reiterate that they did so precisely because of who that captain is. But hey, maybe they would’ve done just as well with Crosby in front of them, so who knows.

    All I know is, I’ll take an Ideal player over the best scoring player any day.

    Mostly because fubol was and is fraught with such superstars and most of them are cocky f**knuts. There’s a reason goalies are my favorite players.

    On that note: Corey Crawford.

    Oh, nothing about him. I just wanted to say his name. He won us the cup last year (along with his team of course) :P

    • Ignacio,

      I enjoyed reading your reply. I can tell your not just a passionate Blackhawks fan, but a passionate sports fan all around. I can agree with the majority of your reply, with the exception of not being able to call anyone “the best.” But hey, that’s a minor disagreement, right?

      One trend I am noticing is the notion that the Blackhawks could win championships without Toews (or even possibly). I want to completely thwart this theory because it’s incredibly insane. As we watch Patrick Kane mature into the player he is on and off the ice (from what we can see since we don’t know him personally), it’s unquestionable that Toews has had the biggest part in that. You’re right, Ignacio – Toews’ leadership truly is 2nd-to-none.

  22. Both Toews and Crosby are amazing players but I’m not a fan of declaring someone the best in the world because it’s so subjective. You can sit and look at both of their stats and then there’s going to be an obvious winner but then you’re missing out on the qualities that make both these players special and why they were both chosen so young to be captains. I think it’s difficult to compare such different players because which qualities are worth more in a hockey player? Crosby’s outstanding scoring or Toews’s Selke award? When at the end of the day a player is nothing without his team and none of this is achievable without them. These two players are both the perfect fit as captains to teams which are filled with talent – Malkin, Kane, etc. that help bring home the trophies, not one man alone. Personally, I think it’s just incredibly difficult to accurately compare two players for their accomplishments in a team sport especially when what makes them so valuable isn’t always the same. They’re both fantastic players and I completely agree with everything you’re saying except your conclusion. Always happy to see love for Jonathan Toews! Thanks for the interesting article.

  23. Imagine if shero would of picked toews over staal, probably the same out come that the penguins would of lost one the key centres at around the time staal left but seeing the three out of the four best centres (not forgetting datsyuk) in the world line up on the same team would of been beautiful to watch.

    Both are great players and both have the talent to take it to the next level when needed, both have been big players for their team at critical times yeah crosby got injured in the scf game 7 and talbot was the hero but if it wasn’t for him pittsburgh don’t make it past Washington that year and malkin won the conn smythe in my opinion anyway because he completely and utterly dominated in Ecf against Carolina , they had no answer for him, toews went missing for parts of the playoffs last year but came up big in the 2010 playoffs. It swings in roundabouts even if you are best players in the world you will not always be the best players on the ice for every game. But both won critical bàttles for their teams at important times. I don’t really judge the Olympics firstly because its only a short window of games and secondly because Canada has so màny superstars they can’t build a team around each one while both there respective teams have been able to build their teams to what there superstars needs are.

    Now I’m a pittsburgh fan and the thing with crosby is and maybe with toews (sorry my Blackhawks knowledge isn’t great before the 2005 lockout) is that he saved the franchise if pit didnt get him in that draft the penguins aren’t in pittsburgh any more and crosby also came along when the nhl was looking for that new superstar, toews was just maybe a bit late to the party in that sense

    But anyway both are great players any other gm in the nhl would jump to get at either of them if they could, both are still so young and already had storied careers

    • Very nice assessment. The point that you bring up that I completely agree with is that the best player in the world isn’t going to be the best player on the ice every day. Very true.

      As far as the Pens being in Pittsburgh because of Crosby, yes and no. Ultimately, they’re there because of Mario Lemieux and luck. Obviously stockpiling all of those top 10 draft picks didn’t hurt either in turning their franchise around.

      The part where you say that Toews is late to the party may be due to the fact that he’s played 2 less years than Crosby, AND he doesn’t get the credit he deserves, which is the entire reason why I wrote this piece. Anyway, thanks for commenting and I hope you enjoyed it.

  24. You're opinion is soooo biase says:

    You lose me when you said that Geno and Talbot was the one who lift them to the top. Like Toews did an impresive work last playoffs. LOL he did nothing at all he had a meltdown and hawks fans refuse to admit it. He was good at the first but without Kane and co. Toews wouldnt even have a second cup they would have lost the playoffs against the wings….. Dont act like a cup is won with the work of one player and dont act like the thing Toews before doesnt matter like the things Sid did to that team before they won the cup.

    Toews is one of the best and his name will be remember but not like Crosby one. Crosby is the best player even Toews said it even Sharp said it even Kane said it……

    Plus can you stop trying to compare them, they arent the same type of player and they dont bring the same thing to their team…….

    FYI, take Toews all you want…. I’ll take crosby in my team over Toews at 100%

    • If anyone’s opinion is biased, it appears to be yours. On one hand, you claim the two can’t be compared. Then out of the other side of your mouth, you declare Crosby the better of the two. Huh?

      And Malkin and Talbot IS the reason Pittsburgh won Game 7, hence why Malkin won the Conn Smythe, not Crosby.

      So Toews isn’t who he is without his supporting cast? So you’re saying Crosby would lead the Islanders to the Stanley Cup with the cast they have now? No kidding! Part of winning anything requires having competent teammates. You make this claim as if Crosby doesn’t have Malkin, Fleury, Letang, Kunitz, ect.

      Oh, and here’s something I left out but useful nonetheless…. A Toews led team has never been swept in the playoffs. Can Crosby say the same?

    • Dude … he is allowed to be bias he is a Hawks beat writer for the hockey writers. If you want to see bias read some Bleacher Report articles from Boston & Philly writers lol. They are brutal, even to Hawks fans.

  25. “Is Jonathan Toews The Best Player In The World?” no, he is not.

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