Enter Crosby, the next no-brainer, the next sure thing who was going to be a superstar no matter what team selected him.
The Penguins, owned by former next big thing Mario Lemieux, won a lottery for the first pick in last year's draft, thereby winning the rights to Crosby.
Even before that draft, Crosby was being tabbed as the man who was going to save the league and help it regain fans it drove away during the lost season.
Ovechkin practically had been forgotten.
Crosby now plays in Pittsburgh, which - though it is one of the smallest markets in the league - is one of the NHL's glamour teams, primarily due to the presence of Lemieux.
Ovechkin plays for Washington, long one of the league's unloved stepchild franchises.
Crosby is from Canada. Most Americans don't really consider Canadians foreigners (this general rule doesn't apply to Hagerstonians, many of whom think those traveling in from, say, Clear Spring should show their passports).
Ovechkin is from Russia. 'Nuf said.
No other player is really in the argument. It will come down to these two players.
Both play for lousy teams. Pittsburgh is slightly lousier, though the Penguins did beat the Capitals 8-1 Wednesday night. (Yeah, like that's anything new for the Capitals to lose to the Penguins.)
In the end, the hype Crosby has gotten since the day Pittsburgh won that draft lottery will result in enough support for the Penguins star to win the award.
And Crosby won't even have to wear a mask to get away with that robbery.
Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. His column appears on Sundays. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2332, or by e-mail at email@example.com