Sidney Crosby has dealt with 18 years of talk from the media about his rivalry with Alex Ovechkin. Sid flipped the script when he posed a question to the media that instead of the Crosby vs. Ovi matchup, what would be the best player to play next to them on the same team?
Crosby asked Ovi who would be their linemate if they played together— NHLonTNT (@NHL_On_TNT) November 10, 2022
Who would you wanna see between Sid and the Great 8? pic.twitter.com/kPHhELWTfC
Ovechkin is caught off-guard by the question, from a DC area reporter that he knows well in Tarik El-Bashir. And then quickly deflects about projecting that Crosby must have wanted Lemieux as the third forward for them before giving off the joking answer of enforcer Donald Brashear. (Although, maybe all you’d need for an Ovechkin-Crosby line was a winger to open up space and never want the puck..).
Anyways, Ovechkin’s guarded response speaks to the strangeness and awkwardness that is the Crosby/Ovechkin personal dynamic after all these years.
So while Sid floated the idea, and Ovi didn’t really have a very good answer when put on the spot, who would the best winger to fill out their line be? Ovechkin is a LW, Crosby is a center, so ideally you’d want a natural right winger. Here’s some ideas.
This makes too much sense, just grab another No. 1 overall pick and make a line of the 2004, 2005 and 2007 first overalls. Kane’s skill-set to hold pucks and make plays, plus his skating ability makes him a shoo-in for any short-list. Since 2007, the Ovechkin-Crosby-Kane trio are also 1-2-3 in points. With apologies to Connor McDavid (and a little bit to Evgeni Malkin), putting these three together would mean the three top offensive players of the last 15 years in the NHL. Can’t go wrong with that.
Tkachuk was on one of the best lines last season in Calgary when he scored 42 goals and 104 points playing with Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm. Tkachuk switched teams and picked up right where he left off with 17 points in 12 games (a 116 point full-season pace) playing mostly with Sasha Barkov in Florida. If the idea was to pick a pure and natural right winger in 2022 to play with Crosby and Ovechkin in all their current forms, there might not be a better current choice than Tkachuk. He’s big, he can move, he can put the puck in the net, he can keep possession down low. Just a little bit of everything and a ton of skill and edge behind it.
Guentzel and Crosby are too good together. Plug in the best natural goal scorer of all time next to them and it would only be even better and unfair for everyone else. He’s not a natural right winger, but then again he wasn’t a natural left wing either until turning pro, and given hockey IQ, it wouldn’t be much of a concern or learning curve.
Pasta has it all with the shot, size, offensive instincts and production to be a very successful member of an Ovechkin-Crosby winger. Pastrnak is used to playing with high-end players anyways on a line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, this potential line would be similar but with even more star power.
Jagr has got to be the greatest right winger in hockey of all time. Ovechkin is the best left winger the game has seen. There is Gretzky and Lemieux at center, but Crosby’s at least on the short-list. Jagr always preferred to play with a right-handed center (one reason he signed with Claude Giroux and Philly in 2012 instead of Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pens) so this might not be old JJ’s ideal line, but the choice isn’t his. A hypothetical Ovechkin-Crosby-Jagr line would possibly set the just now invented “all time line combined squat total” record, too. That’s a lot of power in the legs right there if this line could be united in all of their respective peaks. Good luck trying to get the puck away from them, until it’s in your net.
A strange choice on the surface, but also one of the most possible selections. Crosby isn’t leaving the Pens and Ovechkin isn’t leaving the Caps and both are different nationalities so they will never play together. Except in All-Star games. The All-Star format is 3v3, so there’s a need for a defender from the Metropolitan Division to round out the “line”. Letang’s skating means he can cover ground in the wide-open format, and his position as a defenseman makes him a fit too. Even though Crosby and Ovechkin tend to opt out of more ASG’s than they play in these days, Letang makes for a funky answer but probably is one of the most likely players to share the ice with Crosby-Ovechkin if it broke the right way.
It’s a unique idea floated by Crosby, but what do you think - who would be the best possible linemate to round out the hypothetical Ovechkin-Crosby line?