With the Washington Capitals showdown with the Pittsburgh Penguins this week many have been asking the question "Who is the best player in hockey today?"
There is no obvious answer.
Sidney Crosby, the incumbent, has and has not been his usual self this season. He is right near the top of the scoring race, but usually he has a healthy lead. Maybe health is an issue for Sid? Here's a great set of stats: Crosby has the best points per game among the leaders with 58 points in 53 games. The interesting thing is his 58 points have actually come 30 games. In the other 23 games he has been held scoreless. He has been very quiet lately, too.
Crosby had put distance between and him and his forever rival Alexander Ovechkin in recent seasons. But Ovie has experience a rebirth under new coach Barry Trotz and is playing the best hockey of his career. He is playing a 200 foot game. It's between him and Rick Nash of the New York Rangers for the goal scoring lead. If Ovie wins it will be his 5th Rocket Richard trophy. A fourth Hart Trophy is possible too.
I kind of lean towards Ovechkin as the best player in the game today. Patrick Kane of Chicago is the most exciting. His teammate Jonathon Toews is the game's best two-way player but his stats rank him down around 30th overall in the league.
Special mention should also be awarded to Nicklas Backstrom, John Tavares and Vladimir Tarasenko. Expected names like Steven Stamkos, Claude Giroux, Evgeni Malkin and Ryan Getzlaf are up there too.
But if there is one player who could top Ovechkin as the best player in the game today it is not a player at all - it is a goal keeper. Both Pekka Rinne of Nashville and Carey Price of Montreal in particular have amazing seasons. Both should get serious Hart Trophy consideration. Perhaps Price might get the edge as Rinne is missing time with an injury.
Who do you think is the best player in hockey?