McPhee, general manager of the Capitals at the time, had a front-row seat to one of the more memorable races for the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year. Ovechkin won after he had 52 goals and 106 points in 81 games. Crosby, who had 39 goals and 102 points in 81 games, was second.
Now a special adviser to New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow, McPhee sees similarities between the rookie seasons for Ovechkin and Crosby and the performances this season of Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid and Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel.
"It turns out to be great for the game because the entire League and hockey world is watching, and there's this instant competition between the two guys," McPhee said.