Granted exceptional-player status in 2012 by the Ontario Hockey Foundation following a review by Hockey Canada, McDavid was able to enter the Ontario Hockey League at age 15, a year earlier than typically permitted. As a member of the Otters, McDavid made regular trips to Pittsburgh to watch Crosby play.
After being picked first on 147 of 167 Hart Trophy ballots this year — Crosby was first on 14 — McDavid became the third player to earn M.V.P. honors before his 21st birthday, after Crosby and Wayne Gretzky. By winning the Hart Trophy as well as the Art Ross Trophy as the N.H.L.’s leading scorer and the Ted Lindsay Award for league M.V.P. as voted by its players, McDavid, at age 20, may have already bridged the gap between himself and his childhood idol.
But in the hours before the league’s awards showcase began, McDavid didn’t see a potential Hart victory inching him any closer to Crosby’s legacy.
“It’s more about team stuff, and he’s got all that,” McDavid said. “I’m sure personal accolades are nice and you appreciate them very much. But it’s about winning Cups and winning Olympics and winning World Cups and that kind of thing. He’s done it all.”
There is one distinction afforded to McDavid that has so far eluded Crosby. Along with the awards he garnered Wednesday night, McDavid was named the cover athlete for the latest iteration of Electronic Arts’ hockey video game franchise. Crosby has never appeared on the game’s cover. For a confessed gamer like McDavid, the honor was almost as humbling as the hardware.
At the season’s close, though, the ultimate honor went to Crosby when he lifted the Stanley Cup for the…