With how Jonathan Toews has strayed from where he was in 2015, it is hard to imagine when Toews and Sidney Crosby were compared. For the Chicago Blackhawks captain, that used to be the norm.
Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews both have won three Stanley Cups in their careers. Both have been legendary captains in the NHL and have had Hall of Fame careers. Toews was on the same level as Crosby for a long time, but what changed for the Chicago Blackhawks star?
After getting drafted first overall in 2005 (Crosby), and third overall in 2006 (Toews), expectations were very high for Toews and Crosby. Both players would go on to be great leaders in the NHL and would help make their teams better game in and game out.
It is important to note that while Toews and Crosby were compared over who is a better captain, I do not think they were really comparing who the better player is overall. Toews has some of the best leadership qualities that make everyone around him better, but boy is Crosby just more skilled offensively. This is not a discussion about who the better player is, rather who you want to have as your team’s captain.
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Obviously, things have always been close between these two star players. Even in 2011, the two were being compared very often on the global stage, and the bar was tilting Toews’ way.
By 2011 the two players had been through some great moments in the Stanely Cup Playoffs. Both stars had won their first Stanley Cup, and Crosby had been to the final twice. Crosby definitely had more national attention, but Toews was just as clutch when his team needed a big goal. Things would not break Crosby’s way for a few more years.
Toews was once considered the best pick for captain of team Canada in 2014. Toews had more team success in 2014. He had just won his second Stanley Cup, and his roster had just had one of the best seasons in NHL history in 2013. Toews’ resume was so highly regarded in the league that Crosby checked in with Toews to make sure it was ok that he was captain.
After the Olympics, these two met in one of their first games back in the NHL. After winning gold for Canada in the 2014 Olympics, the two were tossed in yet another game where all eyes were on them; and Toews showed up at the 2014 Stadium Series game.
This was the height of the Crosby Toews debate. Both were at the top of their games, ready to help their roster win. Both had great groups around them that featured other future Hall of Famers.
After this game, the debate between these two stars began to tilt back in Crosby’s favor. Toews and company would win another championship in 2015, but then after that, it was all Crosby.
Crosby would win the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe trophy in 2016 and 2017. Following the three Championships in six years for Chicago, Crosby would do the next best thing – back to back Cups. Then after that, Crosby would continue to keep his team in the playoffs until this year when they missed for the first time.
Toews, on the other hand, would struggle to get his group in the playoffs. Obviously, that is not his fault completely. I am just pointing out that Crosby has kept his team in their championships window, while Chicago has now begun rebuilding. Toews would still be talked about as a top center and captain if his team could make it into the playoffs and go on another playoff run. Toews is one of the best two-way centers around and is great in the faceoff dot.
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There is no debate that Crosby is a better player in the NHL. He has 1263 points in 984 games with the Penguins, while Toews only has 815 points in 943 games. However, the debate for who the better captain and who a team would be better off with on the ice in a game seven overtime is still open. Who would you rather have as your captain going into the Stanley Cup Final?