|Make no mistake: Sidney Crosby is no Wayne Gretzky||06.08.13 at 9:43 pm ET|
The 25-year-old Crosby, who just finished his eighth year in the NHL, is an immensely talented hockey player. He forms one half of the ‘Mega Powers’ with teammate Evgeni Malkin for good reason, but the alleged modern-day Gretzky falls short in one area: While Crosby may be great, he is far from The Great One.
Crosby did not register one point in the Bruins’ four game sweep of the Penguins.
‘If you look back, the chances were there,’ Crosby said. ‘You try to fight, you try to get through to the net and get rebounds, and sometimes they come to you, sometimes they don’t. But obviously, you score two goals as a team in four games and virtually we go without any points. That doesn’t sit very well.’
There are definitely similarities between the two superstars. Both players hail from Canada and entered the league soon after their 18th birthdays. Crosby became the first teenager to lead the NHL in scoring since Gretzky achieved the feat in 1980. Just like Wayne, Sid the Kid has captured the Hart Trophy. Both players have hoisted the Stanley Cup, and there is no denying that both are wonderful ambassadors for the game of hockey. The similarities, at least up to this point in Crosby’s career, do not extend much further.
‘When you’re the best player in the league and you’re the face of the NHL, you are always judged by a tougher standard,’ said ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose. ‘Sidney’s judged by a very tough standard. If he doesn’t go out and get a goal every night, or get two or three assists every night, people say he’s in a slump.’
Slump or no slump, Crosby was unable to create any offense against the Bruins. Unlike Gretzky, The Kid could not find a way to lead his team. The Great One spent a decade of pure dominance in Edmonton, putting such a fork in the Islanders dynasty that it is rarely ever discussed. He won the Stanley Cup on four occasions with the Oilers before resuscitating professional hockey in Los Angeles. As incredible as Gretzky’s numbers were in the regular season, his work in the playoffs was simply on another level. Gretzky holds the record for most points in one playoff year with 47 in 1985, which was accomplished in only 19 games (the Bruins, by comparison, have already played 16 games this postseason). He dished out 31 assists during the 1988 playoffs, with 10 of those coming at the expense of the Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals. Gretzky was always judged by an incredibly high standard: the one that he set for himself.
Crosby is also judged by a higher standard, but he came up short this postseason. Crosby’s performance likely spells the end for Pens coach Dan Bylsma. Earlier this season, Bylsma became the fastest coach ever to win 200 games. He likely will soon be known as the former coach of the Penguins, joining John Tortorella as the second coach to be dismissed after an embarrassing playoff loss to Claude Julien‘s big, bad Bruins.