Ask a Washington Capitals fan if he would trade Alex Ovechkin for Sidney Crosby; the Caps fan would say, "No way!" Ask a Pittsburgh Penguins fan if he would trade Crosby for Ovechkin; the Penguins fan would say, "No way!" Ask a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, "If I put a gun to your head, who would you rather trade, Crosby or Evgeni Malkin?" Then Penguins fan would say, "Shoot me!"
The bottom line is these guys are all fantastic players, and arguably the best three players in hockey today. I truly believed the Penguins became a draft lottery team when Crosby got hurt in January. But, Malkin made it clear he had the ability to carry a team, and simultaneously, made it clear he is not only a superstar, but also a franchise player.
There is no way to categorically declare who the best player in hockey is. It is just as subjective as who the best actor is, who the best guitar player is and who the best athlete is in any other sport.
I'm not even convinced Wayne Gretzky is the best hockey player ever. It could be Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, or any number of players you want to discuss. Though I've never seen him play, I'm a big fan of what Ted Lindsay brought to the table as far as his toughness and leadership goes.
Arguing over who the best hockey player is may be fun for some people, but it's an endless argument. No one can be "stupid" or "idiotic" for arguing Crosby, Ovechkin, or Malkin is the best player in hockey today. Just as no one can be "stupid" or "idiotic" for arguing Gretzky, Lemieux, Howe, Orr, or several other players are the best players ever.
None of these guys are secondary to the other. They're all just incredible players, and that really is the end of the argument.
Jason Zimmermann, Crossroads, Tex.