Mark Madden breaks a taboo (in his mind, at least) when he opens pandora box and dares to ask who's better, Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.
Madden, for those not fimiliar, hosts a radio show in Pittsburgh and sometimes says things for the shock factor just to get a reaction. He likes to stir the pot, one of those guys who likes controversy (it's good for ratings). Around Pensburgh there's been several debates and discussions about Sid v. Geno; who's better, who's more valuable, who would you keep if you could only keep one, etc.
Really, Madden gets it right in the middle of his article when he says:
It’s a fun argument, especially if you’re a Penguins fan. Crosby doesn’t win. Malkin doesn’t win. You win. Both play for your team, after all.
I don't get it or think it's a big deal to even have the debate. But then again, I don't see the need to have a daily update on Crosby v. Ovechkin v. Malkin; each one has superb talents and any one could be considered the best offensive player in the game considering what they do the night before.
After the jump, if you want, I'll break Sid v. Geno down; feel free to disagree in the comments
Size... Easiest category, Malkin is bigger so he naturally has a better reach.
Faceoffs.. Second easiest category, Crosby has improved his numbers every year and is among the best.
Malkin is still a sub-.500 faceoff man, so it's a clear edge for Sid.
Shot... Before this season it'd be a no-brainer for Malkin. Crosby's shot is noticeably better with the one-piece stick, he's going to the front of the net with authority and scoring goals at an incredible rate. Still in terms of pure shooting ability, I'd give a nod to Malkin.
Passing.. Again both have sensational talents, but Crosby's vision is probably slightly better and his passes seem to be a little more crisp.
Skating ability.. Malkin can gallop and is a strong skater, but it's almost impossible to knock Crosby off of the puck. In terms of balance, Malkin probably falls like twice a shift. Advantage Sid.
Backchecking.. Crosby is a furious backchecker with a great drive to get back in the play. Malkin's no slouch himself, but Sid probably consistently drives himself more.
Getting the puck back.. Malkin's a wizard when the play comes to him, he led the league last season in takeaways.
Elevating teammates.. Both have had less than stellar wingers, but it seems that Crosby generally gets the more skilled options available (like Mark Recchi, Chris Kunitz, Bill Guerin) while Malkin's had a bunch of spare parts, especially since Petr Sykora has moved on. Edge to Malkin since he usually has to lift his linemates up more.
At the end of this comparison, we've got 4 Sids and 4 Genos. Gutless to push on this? Sure. Put a gun to my head and I think I'd take Crosby: what he does away from the puck (faceoffs, passion, drive leadership, face of the league etc) tip the scales ever so slightly.
So what do you think -- Crosby, Malkin, or not this crap debate again?