Monday, May 22, 2006

ZAUGG: Crosby will be the Other One

While it wasn't a successful tournament for Canada, it was a great coming-out-to-the-world party for Sidney Crosby. Crosby led all scorers with 8 goals and 16 points in 9 games. Crosby was also named BEST FORWARD and made the media All-Star Team.

Swiss reporter Klaus Zaugg throws his two francs into the Sidney Crosby editorial pile with his take on Crosby.

In his view, Crosby is Crosby, not Gretzky, Lemieux, Demitra, or Gordie Howe...


Is Sidney Crosby the Next One? The next Wayne Gretzky?

Or is he "only" the Other One? Well, hey, what a great thing that would be too.

These are the kinds of issues the experts were debating when Riga 2006 kicked off.

The achievements of Wayne Gretzky are, of course, simply fantastic, but in one way, Sid the Kid has even more achievements at the age of 18 than Gretzky had at the same age. What this kid has done in this tournament is even better than Wayne Gretzky's performance at his first and only World Championship, the 1982 tourney in Finland. The Great One scored 14 points in 10 games. Well, Crosby has 14 points in 7 games so far. Crosby is three years younger than Gretzky was in 1982 in Finland and hasn't even come close to peaking yet. And in this tournament, he outscored Alexander Ovechkin, who netted "only" six goals and three Assists.
As far as I recall, Gretzky was lighting it up in the WHA at 17 years of age and he had himeself 100+ points. For all the talk about Crosby getting 100 in the NHL, let's not forget what Gretzky did. As a six-year-old, Gretzky was good enough to play on a 10-and-under team and even managed to score a goal. Four years later, a 10-year-old Gretzky finished the 1971-72 season with 378 goals and 120 assists in 85 games in the Brantford atom league.

Crosby looks even more complete as a player than Gretzky. But he is not the Next One.

He is better described as the Other One.

Sidney Crosby is the "first Sidney Crosby" and not the "next Wayne Gretzky," just as Gretzky was not the next Gordie Howe but the first Wayne Gretzky.
Almost every player is more dimensional than Gretzky. Gretzky was one of the least physical and worst defensive forwards in the game, but scored so many points that it hardly mattered. His offensive benefits vastly outweighed the negatives. All players have some holes in their game.

But he is not Gretzky. The way the "Great One" dominated the game with his unexpected moves will be unmatched forever. In some respects, Gretzky did not look as good as Crosby does today on the ice, and sometimes when you watched him play you thought, "Is this really the greatest player of them all?"--just seconds before he scored or set up the winning goal.

But I think, we will see something very, very special in a few years.

Gordie Howe never coached Wayne Gretzky.

Yet in my opinion, there is a good chance that we will see Wayne Gretzky coaching Sidney Crosby and Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
Gretzky will probably quit coaching in a year and never want to do it again after his Coyotes give him his third heart attack :)

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