Vinny vs. Sidney
Who's the best hockey player in the world right now? I'd take the Lightning's Vinny Lecavalier just barely over the Penguins' Sidney Crosby. The two faceoff against one another for the first time this season on Thursday night.
Now before you accuse me of being a homer, know this: I've been a member of the Professional Hockey Writer's Association for 16 years, which means I get to vote in the various offseason awards. And, last season, I voted for Crosby ahead of Lecavalier for the Hart Trophy (league MVP). A year ago, I thought Crosby was the better player. But now, I think Lecavalier is the more complete player.
Two things, right now, give Lecavalier the edge over Crosby. One is a physical presence. Vinny has it, Crosby doesn't. The other is the ability to score goals from the top of the faceoff circle and out. Vinny can do it. Crosby really can't. Crosby can't tee up a one-timer from the point and blow it by a goalie. Lecavalier can. For those reasons, I'd take Lecavalier -- for the moment -- as the best hockey player in the world.
Crosby is second. Just barely. But second.