A line from an old song comes to mind, "Anything you can do...I can do better."
I think those few words repeat in Alexander Ovechkin's mind every time he steps out on the ice.
The first two games of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals have been an epic battle. There have been some flashy and deserving saves by both goaltenders, there have been some hard hits, and some selfless shot blocking efforts. Though no efforts can compare to the all-out war between the past two league MVPs.
Every time Sidney Crosby works in the slot, or in front of the net, and pots a goal, Alexander Ovechkin roars back with a highlight reel effort. Whenever Sidney creates on the power play for the Penguins, Ovechkin finishes on the power play for the Capitals.
No offense to Sidney, who is an extremely talented hockey player, but I think Ovechkin is just toying with him.
Let me be honest here, without Malkin's (possibly MVP caliber) play this season, the Penguins may have very well missed the playoffs. On the opposing side, without Alexander Ovechkin, the Capitals would not have won their division; and mostly likely have missed the playoffs as well. Both players are essential to their teams, but I just think Sidney has a bit more support. Advantage: Ovechkin.
This debate will go on for as long as these two lace up their skates. Already in the young rivalry Ovie and Sid have provided hockey fans with great drama, and heart-pounding action. Though here's a few facts (okay, okay, "opinions") on this one-on-one battle.
- Both have a growing trophy collection, while Ovechkin owns a Calder Trophy, and now two Rocket Richard Trophies, that Sidney lacks.
- Both have truckloads of talent, though Sidney displays his through gentle and measured (mostly graceful) exhibits. While Ovie grabs the puck and attempts to force it through the opposition, and while he is away from the puck, levels his opponents with brute force. The "Kid" is the flowing breeze, Ovie is going to rock you like a hurricane.
- Both make an impact on the media. Sidney likes to make his opinions known through his constant chatter with the referees, his hot-line to Gary Bettman, and his mouth piece (and patriotic countryman) Don Cherry. Alexander Ovechkin, on the other hand, chooses to make an impact on the media through controversy, and showmanship. Both approaches sell ad space for the league, though the former comes off as a lot of whining and pouting. Sidney goes "boo-hoo," Ovie just responds with an emphatic "F*** you."
These guys could not be more opposite of each other. This fact is going to sell tickets, bring in new viewers, and increase revenues for both franchises and the league. We (and Gary Bettman) asked for this, and we're getting it.
Sidney versus Alex, light versus dark, are one-in-the-same. I guess it just comes down to choosing a side. In this case, rooting for the dark side has never felt so good.
I will not make apologies, I'm a die-hard, life-long Capitals fan. Do I think Sidney is a talented hockey player? The answer is definitely "Yes." Would I want him on the Capitals? Honestly, completely, and definitely "No." Not even "if" the Capitals did not have an Alexander Ovechkin to spoil us. And here's why:
- For all of Mr. Crosby's talent, he lacks fire. There is a deep-down, unbridled passion for competition that drives Alexander Ovechkin. He does not care what anyone thinks of his game, he craves victory. Sidney just craves attention.
- Sidney Crosby needs to be heard, and wants to be gushed over. His needy persona detracts from his successes. Crosby's game is missing something at its very core, that all the skills in the world cannot cover up.
Mine is just one opinion, in a very heated battle, and something tells me that Ovechkin and Crosby are getting as much out of the rivalry as the fans.
So take your side, and hold on tight. This is going to be one hell of a ride..! Now pardon me while I get my flame resistant suit on before publishing this article.
As always...enjoy the game!