It’s all just a fantasy now, but what would have been the NHL’s biggest nightmare, almost came to fruition.
Selecting the second pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ used it on center Evgeni Malkin; however, had they been placed one spot higher, Washington Capitals’ forward Alexander Ovechkin would be suited up in the black-and-gold today.
Now that’s a scary, scary thought.
This is nothing against Malkin, who is a former Hart trophy recipient and a top-3 player in the league, but the visual of Ovechkin lining up with captain Sidney Crosby is a startling one for the rest of the league.
Ovechkin is arguably the second-best skater in the NHL, and because he’s a winger, he in all likelihood would have became Crosby’s go-to guy. Not that Malkin isn’t as skilled as Ovechkin, but they both have slightly different variations in their styles of play.
When Malkin first entered the league, he was a goal-scorer — now, he’s a playmaker. Ovechkin takes more shots than most teams’ make in a whole season, and when you apply that to Crosby’s assisting abilities, it creats one hell of a tandem.
Malkin dictates his own line and doesn’t play with Crosby because they’re both centers. With Ovechkin on the team, he would without a doubt be on the top-line with Crosby, demoralizing defenses’ one-by-one.
Understandably, perhaps the Pens’ wouldn’t have gotten Crosby in the draft lottery following the NHL lockout had they received the first-pick in 2004. But if they still have gotten Crosby, the hypothetical situation of seeing these two juggernauts together must have played into people’s minds.
Nonetheless, Pittsburgh is still certainly content with how they made out in those drafts. Adding the unique talents of Crosby and Malkin have won them a Stanley Cup, and they each continue to impress us on a nightly basis.
Granted I can’t say that the combination of Crosby and Ovechkin would have been better per say, and there’s no telling who the team would not have that’s currently on the roster due to both of their heavy contracts. So maybe, in having Malkin, it’s better that way — from a depth perspective.
However, should Crosby and Ovechkin have coexisted with one another, there’s no denying the records that would have been broken. Both of these players are immortal to the game, and putting them together would have been sheer chaos.
All of it could have become a reality, but as it stands, it just didn’t play out that way — and they go at it again tonight, it what has become a must-watch battle over the years.
The game can be seen on the NBC sports network, and is set to start at 8 p.m.
Tags: Pittsburgh Penguins