First, if the NHL did not build him up before the draft, would he be this popular? Do his numbers really separate himself from the pack as the best player in the NHL?
Look, I understand the NHL was going through a very hard time after the off year and needed a face to lift the league back into the national view. I also understand that the NHL had no idea that Ovechkin would end up being the player he became.
First, let us look strictly at the numbers without looking at the roles that they play with their respected teams.
In 289 games, Ovechkin has 192 goals and 175 assists for 367 points, plus a career +/- of +24. He has also helped out on special teams with 67 power play goals and four short handed goals.
In 258 career games, Crosby has 116 goals, 237 assists, for a total of 353 points and a +/- of +31, while notching 38 power play goals.
One can argue that Crosby has more points in less games, but then Ovechkin fans will argue that Ovechkin has had less to work with in terms of teammates. Crosby has had the luxury of playing with Hossa, Malkin, and Sykora, while Ovechkin hasn't quite had the same support.
Currently, Ovechkin is surrounded by quite the cast that is leading them to the top spot in the South East division and second in the East. But I am speaking in terms of his career.
Malkin leads the Pens in almost every single state category including goals, assists, and +/-. Maybe one could argue that Malkin deserves to be the face of the NHL more than Crosby.
So why do i believe Ovechkin should be the face of the NHL? It is because he brings an energy with every play that makes hockey fun to watch. He celebrates a goal like some guys celebrate winning the Cup.
This is the type of person that should be on commercials and should be showcased on NBC every week like the Penguins and Crosby are.
Please, don't get me wrong, I think Crosby is an amazing player, but when push comes to shove, if I had the first pick in a fantasy league, I would take Ovechkin over Crosby in a heartbeat.
With all the hype that came with Crosby, he didn't have to do a whole lot to reinforce that hype. He's a great player, but he is not the best. I would rather have a guy who will put the puck in the net and have the ability to finish goals on his own, then have a guy like Crosby who just sets them up.