This Crosby Is No Dynamic Duet Partner

Cup'pa JoeThe first instance I had of roaming about the bowels of Verizon Center with media credentials on a visit by Sidney Crosby, in his rookie season, I took advantage of the opportunity, and actually put a couple of questions to him in the visitors’ locker room. They were questions about the longstanding rivalry between the Capitals and Penguins, and I thought he answered with commendable thoughtfulness. However, as his media star has risen and as the league has, in uncritical, unchallenged, autopilot fashion, foisted upon him the role of be-all, end-all in its marketing endeavors, Crosby has been media trained into tediousness. Worse, his true nature has been revealed: he’s convention-of-engineers-at-happy-hour dull.

You’ve seen the canned constructs along the dasher boards with Pierre et al. The setting can be as grand as Buffalo’s football stadium in snowglobe conditions on New Years’ Day; no matter, Sidney will soundbite the situation into somnambulism. 

Or, if he’s ticked off by defeat, as on Sunday, he can be petulant and phony. Warm, engaging, unguarded, and self-effacing? Never. 

It was true even four years ago: Ovechkin and his 70-word comprehension of English then were more engaging and endearing on live TV than his Canadian franchise player counterpart. If only that were the problem in Pittsburgh today.

Some would even suggest that there is as well a punk quality to the anointed one: keep your head up against him in the faceoff circle, and be aware that your jewel case is at risk if you’re busy in a scrum with one of his teammates. These Crosby crimes of ’08-’09 didn’t quite live up to hockey’s code of ethics. 

Sunday’s game was revealing not only as state of the union illustration of one franchise’s seemingly durable rise set against the other’s sudden crash, but with respect to the character and charisma of the NHL’s two leading lights. In this Year Four of their rivalry-reign, we are seeing serious separation — what appears to be Secretariat matched against Sunday Silence: Triple Crown race winners both, but not in the same league of star. Expect the gap to widen further.

The herd-formula was at work again in the Sunday post-game. The second period jawing and jabbing between the two headliners meant the predictable press questions and, from Crosby, Pop-Tart substance answers. Here’s what should have been asked of him:

  • Ovechkin last June left Toronto the most decorated forward in NHL history for one season’s work, and this season he’s adding to his legend, developing a reputation as Mr. Third Period, Mr. Clutch. What do you have to do to elevate your game to his level? And:
  • Can you?    

If hockey doesn’t work out for Alexander Semin, it looks like he could fall back on fortune telling. 

In a wildly amusing bit of unintended condemnation, the media Sunday asked Crosby about the “appropriateness” of Alexander Ovechkin’s unbridled joy after scoring goals. (Because, you know, hockey is supposed to be just like golf when it comes to celebrations.) The obviously unspoken undercurrent of this question was “Is there room in hockey for a rock star, Mr. Neil Diamond?” This perhaps is the start of the much-needed, media-led realignment of stars.   

The NHL, however, remains in a horrendously awkward position. It’s confronting the very real possibility of a Crosby-less postseason, while his counterpart in the once barren hockey wasteland of Washington is turning the town on its collective sporting ear. Ovechkin’s Caps, with their Plan B goaltender, may well just play hockey into final four territory, or better. Crosby’s Pens, every reporter who watches them observes, aren’t altogether short on talent — qualifying for the postseason is something they should do in their shower sandals. What are we to conclude about the mettle of the faux messiah?

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. Or was it? The Hockey News began touting Ovechkin’s once-in-a-generation creds when he was 16. What does it say of the NHL that it more or less ignored the sport’s bible in its poster boy formulations? The answer in this corner is pernicious and insidious.   

Sunday, on national television, delivered stark relief — for most observers not named Sports Illustrated or ESPN — of the now plainly apparent contrast. From his first NHL shift Sidney Crosby skated with an air of entitlement, a prima dona’s presumption of protectionism. The ever-unassuming Ovechkin scores, screams, jumps for joy as if he’s scored his first-ever goal, and seeks to be buried in the embrace of teammates. But he also plays the game the way of its etched-in-stone-ethos: he’d just as soon hurt you with his shoulder as with his wrists. He plays with a readily apparent joy, and his greatest joy is celebrating with teammates and making his rink a breathtaking bowl of bedlam.

Sounds marketable to me.     

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69 Responses to This Crosby Is No Dynamic Duet Partner

  1. Ross says:

    Great writing Pucksandbooks! The attention that Crosby gets, especially on nhl.com, is ridiculous… thanks for calling a spade a spade.

  2. TG says:

    I don’t know if you watched PTI yesterday, but I’m in full agreement with Michael Wilbon. I’ve never disliked Crosby. I’ve always thought he was a good player. What I disliked was the continuous media attention on him and having him forced down my throat as the face/savior of the NHL.
    What’s interesting, as I noted in a previous post, is that Crosby doesn’t appear to enjoy being “Sidney Crosby”, while Ovechkin is completely comfortable being himself.
    It’s also interesting to note that it’s obvious the Penguins like Malkin. I don’t see the same affection towards Crosby.

  3. URclueless says:

    Crazy that after taking his team two wins away from the stanley cup, at age 20, he is still criticized by retards like you.
    I have watched him play a few times this year, and i have no idea why people are giving him so much crap. This kid plays with more heart than almost anyone i have ever seen. People can debate forever that Ovie has more talent, but people need to get off the “crosby sucks” coolaid. It simply is not warranted.
    go Ducks!

  4. DC Sports Chick says:

    Ooh, you’re gonna piss off engineers now 😉
    The dichotomy between the two is fascinating. Crosby acts like an entitled little boy, whereas Ovechkin is the polar opposite. Like TG said, Crosby doesn’t seem like he’s having a lot of fun. It’s a lot on his shoulders, especially when he isn’t even the best player on his team. That must be weighing on him as well.

  5. hockeymom23 says:

    Been a Caps fan for a couple of years (season tickets this year) but am so disappointed that we have to put down other teams’ players. Does that make us look better or something? What it does is bring us down to the same level as Flyers/Rangers fans. Not where I want to be. You can praise on Ovie without hating on Crosby. What were you doing at age 21?

  6. Right Winger says:

    “Been a Caps fan for a couple of years (season tickets this year) but am so disappointed that we have to put down other teams’ players.”
    Where is the “putting down of other teams’ players” in this column? These are observations, not comments–just ask around the league. It’s not that we Caps fans (especially those of us who have been fans since BO–Before Ovechkin) feel the need to mock Crosby needlessly, but only to point out that he truly isn’t the savior of the NHL. I honestly feel bad for the kid; Bettman and the NHL pinned all their hopes of resurrecting the NHL post-lockout, and he just doesn’t have the mental makeup to handle the pressure. Ovechkin, on the other hand, is exactly what this league needs–a showman with spectacular skill and charisma that people gravitate to.
    In hockey terms, Crosby looks more and more like Lindros–cocky, arrogant, I-deserve-it-all mentality. Ovechkin is, well, Ovechkin–Gordie Howe skill and toughness, Messier persona, Gretzky likeability all rolled into one. He can handle the pressure of being the best because of his personality.

  7. PensAndCapsFan says:

    Maybe it’s true that Sidney Crosby isn’t having fun being Sidney Crosby anymore. Maybe he’s sick of all the attention he get too. Maybe he’d like to just play hockey. Did he really ever ask to be the face of the NHL anyway? Caps fans think Ovechkin is more deserving of this so-called title. Maybe he is. But be careful what you wish for, because once it happens, there will be people pulling at him from every direction. Hockey won’t be his only job. And the day could come when Alex Ovechkin isn’t having fun being Alex Ovechkin anymore.

  8. hockeymom23 says:

    What’s with Crosby’s cocky attitude and holier than thou thinking? I’ve heard that a lot from his haters but never seen that. Never heard him say he was great, usually very humble. And no, this has gone past “observations” by the Caps fans, to sometimes blantant character assasinations. Can’t take the pressure? Didn’t he lead his team to the SCF last year? I’m just saying the Caps fans and bloggers have gone over the top on this. Let’s talk about our team, not put down others. Makes us look bad. (BTW….I’m not a recent hockey fan but one for YEARS…..just transplanted to DC and have adopted the Caps)

  9. Cousin says:

    Are you kidding me? Where in the world does this “entitlement” BS come from. The kid plays his heart out every night and treats the game with respect. And in case you Caps fans have a short memory, up until the last 4-5 matchups, the Pens beat Ovechkin and the Capitals handily for the first 3 years of their careers. Now in a season where the entire Penguins team is floundering, you get a couple wins and think that it proves anything. Crosby captained his team to a Stanley Cup final. Ovechkin hasn’t won a playoff round. And if anything, Ovechkin is Lindros. He skates with reckless abandon, takes charges at opponents, headhunts every shift he’s on the ice and has no respect for his opponents. He’s a great goal scorer, but selfish teammate. It’s just a shame that Scott Stevens isn’t around to put him in his place like he did with Lindros.

  10. Puckhead says:

    Hahaha, what a bunch of pansies you all are, particularly the pitiful author of this holier-than-thou load of shite. Put anyone under the microscope and plenty of flaws will be revealed. All the big names have their turn in the barrel, getting criticized by the likes of pucksandbooks who, apparently, have taken too many pucks off the noggin and have never bothered to open a book.
    Gretzky, Lemieux, everyone has been given the flame thrower from media d-bags like this guy.
    As for predictions? Here’s one: Ovechkin’s next. His celebrations are getting close to taunting, the way he often points to opposing benches after he scores. Plenty of Eastern Conference Clubs have taken note and it won’t be long before some club (or clubs) take it upon themselves to retaliate for his lack of class.
    As for pucksandbooks, you’re just an idiot, plain and simple.

  11. Birdie says:

    I’m amazed at how many Caps-haters on here.
    pucksandboots, do you happen to have that Hockey News article on Ovechkin at 16? I’d be most interested in reading it.

  12. Mark says:

    First, off it is nice to see that a lot of these comments are more insightful than the actual piece. As a lifelong Pens fan, there are certain levels of Crosby bashing that I completely understand and sometimes won’t even argue with. He does run his mouth a little too much on the ice for my taste, and while its been seriously toned down since his rookie year (despite what some people believe), the whining isn’t all that flattering either. I’ll admit though, Sunday’s game was certainly an exception. And yes, even I too suffer from a little bit of Crosby fatigue, especially when there is another player at the very least equal to his caliber in the same locker room. However, anyone who watches him on a nightly basis knows that hes a humble kid who does not really want all the attention he gets. He’s even said that all he wants to do is play hockey and that he feels a sense of responsibility to play the role that hes been given, fairly or unfairly. As a few of you have noted, “Sidney Crosby doesn’t seem to enjoy being Sidney Crosby”. I believe this observation is spot-on.
    One thing I will say, is that while it certainly was true for a long period, and I was also starting to get sick of it, I don’t believe Crosby is really the face of the NHL anymore and he hasn’t even really been marketed as such lately. And what is beginning to aggravate me are pieces like this blog entry which complain about Ovechkin not receiving any attention and about the amount Crosby gets. This just isn’t true anymore and anyone who watched Sunday’s game on NBC knows this. Not to mention which one got the cover of ESPN for the season preview? Not Sid. Look, Ovechkin is the better player right now and Crosby is arguable the most vilified while Sean Avery is out. I think that debate is settled for the moment and I feel the marketing aspect as turned in that direction. Please, I have to deal with listening to enough sophomoric attacks on “Cindy Crosby” as is from ignorant fanboys; and this just screams of sour grapes. Alex Oveckin is arguably the best player in the world right now (apologies to Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk), and the Caps are a force to be reckoned with this year. I think this should be enough to keep Caps fans who hate Crosby happy for the moment. Ovechkin’s time in the spotlight has come and is here to stay. If I were a Caps fan, I would just appreciate what Alex is doing and not worry about media attention deficiencies that aren’t actually present anymore. Also, I would hope that the spotlight does not have the same affect on Alex as it clearly has had on Sid. Hell, as a hockey fan, I hope that doesn’t happen.

  13. vt phil says:

    People People People. We’re talking about Sidney Crosby. He’s a Penguin for Christ sake! What’s with this defending him? Some of you may be new Caps fans and that’s fine, however you need to understand something about the Penguins…they are all that is unholy and evil about this world. Remember that guy/girl back in high school who broke your heart and made you feel like the world was coming to an end? The Penguins caused that. Your car got a flat tire? Penguins. Global Warming? You guessed it, Penguins.
    The Crosby v. Ovi thing isn’t so much about the two players as the personification of the utter hate many of us have towards Pittsburgh. Lots of you think Philly is a rival because of the playoff series last year. That’s nothing. Imagine how you’d feel about Philly if we had been up 3 games to 1 and they came back to beat us. Then imagine that they did it again just three short years later. Have that hate simmer for 15 years.
    Now take that hate and have the NHL pick someone from the Flyers to hold up as the savior, the golden boy even though a guy on the Caps is obviously better and more likable. Have this “Kid” shoved in your face for 4 years.
    When you’ve got that history, come on back.

  14. nhl not nba says:

    um, this is complete nonsense. crosby is humble and plays with incredible intensity. i’ve seen almost every game he’s played in his nhl career and i’ve never seen a single moment that backs up this drivel.
    sorry that the nhl chose to market crosby more than ovie. but that’s not crosby’s fault. and the debate about who’s better can be one with respect, instead of the pedantic jealousy that this article wallows in. i think any intelligent person would agree they’re both amazing world class players who will give their fans great games night in and night out. would you rather have ovie than crosby? cool. i can respect that.
    for me? i like hockey. not basketball. if i want to see a rockstar act like a jerk every time he’s scores a goal, i’ll watch the nba. but i like hockey. so i’ll enjoy watching the pens, play hockey and act like hockey players and you caps fans can watch semin embarrass himself by talking smack on a player who’s a million times better than he is and ovie play like the head-hunting, classless, egoist that he is.

  15. vt phil says:

    @ NHL NOT NBA
    You said: “and the debate about who’s better can be one with respect, instead of the pedantic jealousy”
    Then you said: “if i want to see a rockstar act like a jerk every time he’s scores a goal, i’ll watch the nba. but i like hockey. so i’ll enjoy watching the pens, play hockey and act like hockey players and you caps fans can watch semin embarrass himself by talking smack on a player who’s a million times better than he is and ovie play like the head-hunting, classless, egoist that he is.”
    You’re not a politician by chance are you?

  16. gertielertie says:

    Enough on Crosby as well as Ovechkin. It’s old already. Sid gets rammed down our throats for 4 years, and whether or not Caps fans agree, so has Ovie. The NHL needs to back off on targeting just one or two guys as its marketing strategy and let them play, for heaven’s sake. To be honest, I’d strongly suspect that Crosby didn’t want to be the anointed one when he got here. Ovechkin, on the other hand, not only wants it, he demands and expects it. No one likes guys who are jealous. Ovie and his taunting makes his look like a spoiled child, annoyed because he doesn’t get his way. Self-centered? Definitely!
    What the NHL thinks may be a media marketing tactic is going to blow up back into their faces, and both Ovechkin and Crosby are going to end up looking stupid. Contrary to what Ovie thinks, he is not the greatest in the NHL right now. It takes more than just being able to score a goal past a weak goalie while sliding around on your backside to be great. It takes respect. And for a lot of folks, it’s going to be a LONG while before Ovie gets that respect.
    Notice I haven’t been harping too much on Crosby – and that’s only because his problem will only go away when the media types back off and let the kid play. Oh, and Ovie will be a lot more palatable when he stops demanding admiration from everyone.

  17. Gustafsson says:

    “Ooh, you’re gonna piss off engineers now ;-)”
    Exaclty. I know a certain blogger who is now banned from any beer or other form of puck soda at the home of this engineer.

  18. Todd says:

    I’m mostly with VT Phil on this one: Crosby v. Ovi is driven as much by the heated rivalry for Caps fans as anything else. We are talking about two of the three (or four) best players in the league and it’s a perfectly natural bitchfest. The NHL needs the Ovi v. Crosby battle to continue….for years; think Bird-Magic, Kobe-Shaq (even though it’s been a bit lame), Cowboys-Niners, Federer v. Nadal, Borg v. Johnny Mac, etc. The dichotomy of a battle is what produces the greatest eras for all sports. I never want the battle to tone down because it’s great for hockey and great for the fans. It’s taken three years for the Caps to arrive on the cusp of something great and it’s finally time for the league to sort out the Pens v. Caps (Crosby v. Ovi) battleground and promote the crap out of it. You know what? They don’t like each other. The team’s fans don’t like each other – that’s a good thing. I want to spend years hammering away at the Pens, I want to see them in the playoffs every year, and I want the Caps to beat them. There satisfaction in getting out of the first round by beating Florida or a stumbling Rangers team; but, I’d rather the Pens sneak in and the Caps blow them out in four.

  19. Eric says:

    I think the rivalry would be better between Malkin and Ovie. Crosby does not really fit into their league right now. And BTW all the people who keep saying that they are the best three players in the world, stop it, Crosby is not as good as Lindstrom, Datsyuk, or Iginla. Not even close. He may become as good or better than them, but not right now. I think the real problem is Canadians having to accept the fact that most of the top players in the league are european. Xenophobia is ugly (ie Don Cherry), and that is what angers Caps fans. It is obvious to everyone who pays attention that there are better players than Crosby, but for four years we have had to put up with a constant barrage of Crosby mania. On a different note, this piece was well written and thoughtful, great work Pucks, if Pens fans want drivel, go read pensblog.

  20. PensFan says:

    This is a load of crap. Look at what Crosby went through his first two years in the league. I haven’t seen Ovechkin get slashed in the face by Derian Hatcher yet. And if I remember correctly, Crosby scored the game winner that game after losing half his teeth. I would bitch to the refs too if every time I took on a defenseman or two they hacked away at me. And this crap about him being the “savior,” I am almost certain he doesn’t care, and is probably more worried about his team. One player cannot carry a team into the playoffs, its blogs and hockey fans like this that put this false sense of responsibility on Sid. And looking at a purely statistical standpoint, Crosby has 10 less points than Ovechkin in 30 less games….

  21. eric says:

    You tried these arguments the other day Pensfan, they weren’t valid then on the other blogs, not valid now. And you never answered anyone’s question about Crosby punching another man’s testicles from behind while the man was fighting someone else. Have an answer to that? You called Ovie classless, defend Crosby!

  22. Hackhamster says:

    “Ovi v. Crosby battle to continue….for years; think Bird-Magic, Kobe-Shaq (even though it’s been a bit lame), Cowboys-Niners, Federer v. Nadal, Borg v. Johnny Mac, etc.”
    Personally, I’m hoping for it to be a Jordan vs. Craig Ehlo/Danny Ferry matchup myself. There is much to be said for utter domination.

  23. THA DON says:

    Sounds like somebody’s mommy and daddy didn’t hug them enough as a child….

  24. Caps Fan Since 85 says:

    One of the problems here is Sidney Crosby is Eddie Haskel; he’s Greg Marmalard and Doug Niedermeyer. Dean Wormer put it best about people like that, “he’s a sneaky little s***.” Crosby is the guy who tries to draw a penalty; the guy who will tap and tap and tap you until you are so annoyed you hit him and he cries. He gets his points, no question about that. But, how many of his points are off the second assist? (Old school fans will remember the controversy around even awarding a second assist.) Then, there is the fact Pittsburgh sports fans coddle their players. If Crosby played in Montreal, Philadelphia, New York, or Toronto he’d be killed for his behavior. Let’s layer on to that the fact that many (not ALL, just a vocal many) Pittsburgh fans bitch and moan about the refs and uncalled penalties and unlucky breaks when their team loses yet taunt opponents’ fans as stinking when a Pittsburgh team wins. In other words, Pittsburgh teams are invincible but for the acts of outside forces. Finally, there is the entitlement argument. Whether or not Crosby wanted it or not, he was anoited the “Next One” and he embraced it. He did not turn down the Captaincy; he could have turned it down. All of this adds up to him as representing one of the golden violations of hockey rules: earn the respect, it is not an entitlement. Gretzky earned the respect; Yzerman took years to earn the respect; Messier earned the respect; Ovechkin is trying to earn it. Right now, most of the fans and players seem to be saying the same thing – Crosby is wildly talented but he hasn’t earned the respect yet. Stop letting him get away with his Eddie Haskely, Greg Marmalard, and Doug Niedermeyer behavior; stop coddling him with excuses for why he loses — hit him in the face and make him carry the vets bags. Until he does that, he’s just a wildly talented kid with an air of entitlement whose parents are forcing people to respect him.

  25. VOICEOFREASON says:

    This is a ridiculous blog. This isn’t hockey talk…it’s trying to make the NHL into “The Young and the Restless”.
    No not a Pens fan. No not a Caps fan. I’m a hockey fan.
    Both are great players in different ways. OV has the glamorous skills of speed and can score that generages chances off the rush.
    Sid’s skill is not as noticeable to the casual fan. A helluva playmaker that generates offense low.
    Sid needs to shut up and play.
    OV needs to stop his Avery-like showboating.
    But we are blessed to get to watch them both.
    Turn off the soap operas and turn on the hockey.

  26. zephyr says:

    Crosby actually doesn’t get a lot of secondary assists. He is in the lowest scoring percentile for secondaries.
    You can give him a lot of crap but not for his play making.
    /Caps fan, STH

  27. Reno86 says:

    Sounds like a lot of cry baby Caps fan jealous that the bastard love child of Peter Bondra and Dale Hunter isn’t getting as much attention as Crosby. Ovechkin is one dimensional and takes runs at players, trying to play physical, to avoid the one trick pony label.

  28. Hackhamster says:

    Wow, getting linked by PuckDaddy is the hockey equivalent of getting slashdotted.
    Which means a whole bunch of Pens fans using their PC’s for something other than viewing p0rn.

  29. Cate says:

    I’ve only been watching Hockey for about a year now… and it was Ovie and Sid that got me hooked. The NHL might be enjoying this rivalry, I am not. I love watching the Caps for the sheer joy Ovechkin brings to every game, and I love watching the Pens because of the fierce battle Crosby engages in to get the puck and pass the puck. Even I… a novice to this game, understand that they are different players… so I don’t understand the comparison.
    The other thing is… and someone mentioned this earlier, if Ovechkin wants to be the face of the NHL, I hope he is prepared for the consequences. It seems like a pain in the butt to me and every interview I’ve seen with Crosby seems to indicate that he would rather just play hockey. Which is why I love the game, a hard, exciting sport played by guys who just love to play! I didn’t like that article by pucksandbooks. Sounded petulant and biased… which I guess I should have expected. So I hate this kind of stuff… but I sure do love the game of hockey.

  30. Yeah says:

    Clearly, this guy does not know much of anything when it comes to hockey; therefore, his credentials (that I scoff at) should be removed. It is clear that he has never really watched a game of hockey, nor has he ever played it. Also, he is also clearly unaware of the fact that Russian players always shine for a few years and then quickly disappear. Prove me wrong – but you can’t! Bure! Federov! Morozov! The list can go on and on! That being said, take a look at the best Canadian hockey players that have had a tendency to verbally abuse their opponent – albeit, only when provoked – and look at their staying power. Much more prominent. News flash PUCKSANDBAG – That aggressive style will take its toll on OV (Who I still say is the best player in the game right now, hands down, I am not arguing that). I enjoy watching the Great 8 play and so should everyone else who is a fan of the game. That being said, that recklessness will not endure the test of time. It never has. Don’t get me wrong, Sid still has a lot to work on, but he’s young and he’ll grow. He will get better, while OV is peaking TOO early! Watch, you’ll see! You, by all means, are no fan of hockey, the NHL, or even understand the game. You proved this in your rant. Honestly, when Sidney is being called to the great Hall, OV will be there with him, and there won’t be any trash talk, just remember-whens. So shut your mouth and enjoy the game!

  31. nick says:

    meh, Raised in the ‘burgh. Now live in DC. It’s a win-win for me.

  32. Food for Thought says:

    Curious how many of the Pens fans take a similar stance about “headhunting” when it comes to favored son Hines Ward?
    In other words, STFU on that front.

  33. covesdog says:

    Very insightful comment, Mark. Spot on. GO CAPS!

  34. Chopperguy says:

    So much for “Please refrain from profanity and personal attacks.” Try putting that above the submit button. But who am I to stop a fight? I’ve spent too many years trying to start one.
    With that said, Crosby is a kid full of talent and DOES have too much on his shoulders. It’s Hockey for Christs sakes… If you cannot take it, hang up the skates. Do we feel the “Mark of Jagr” in the air? (although I hope we never see Sid in a Caps Jersey.)
    Ovie’s “Avery-like showboating.” Yeah, and Avery has won scoring titles (just like Crosby) to showboat with. Ovie IS a team player, it’s usually a great pass or a crazy talent thing that gets his goals in. They are usually big goals that gets the team fired up, and it gets the fans fired up. What more should you get from a superstar?
    The biggest difference between Ovie’s celebrating and Crosby’s celebrating is with Ovie, it always feels like a “I did this for the Team” thing and with Sid it’s a “Look at what I can do mommy”
    The way Crosby acts should make every Pens fan wanna puke! At least you have Malkin! Now, thats one hell of a hockey player with REAL talent! Although he is also a whiner, he is in a position where he can let his talent speak for him.
    Pens fans are still looking for that “Laspew/Yahwger” connection that will probably never happen. It could have, but weak pipes bend under pressure. For too many years, the Caps haven’t had that “Pipe” they have needed. They have always had great players, but never a “Complete team” as they are now.
    Yes, the SAME Pens team made it to the Scf last year. Guess Hossa would have been worth the big contract since that was the “Missing Link” to the team, right? Sometimes the star power is too much for one team, just ask the Rangers.

  35. Kingsmill says:

    Malkin 87
    Crosby 79
    Ovie 77
    How is Crosby overrated?

  36. A Rational Thinker says:

    Watch Crosby’s goal against the hated Flyers this past Saturday, the one in the 1st period. A wicked wrister and a modest celebration, but embracing teammates nonetheless. Then compare this to a GW goal scored with less than 3 minutes remaining. A fist pump and jump into the boards, reminiscent of AO, except that AO does this after a 1st period goal against the Blues.
    Have you ever seen Jordan or LeBron taunt an opponent by pointing at them? How about 99? Or 66? Gordie Howe (who some compared AO to)?
    I watch the Caps whenever I get a chance. A great, exciting team. AO’s act just gets old, quick. Humility, learn it. Then he will earn respect.
    This post is a perfect example of why bloggers should not be granted press passes. The childish reasoning in this post would be compared by some of you to Sidney Crosby. By saying Crosby is not in the same league is one of the dumbest, no wait, it is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Maybe it’s the other way around. I mean, until AO leads his team on a deep playoff run, maybe he’s not in the same league as Crosby. Just think you before you write something stupid.

  37. I’m afraid I think agree with the Pens fans here. Crosby is one of the top players we’ve seen in the league in at least the last decade, and can’t be held responsible for the fact his team has been (a) poorly constructed under the cap, (b) facing brutal injury problems on the blueline and (c) poorly coached.
    Last season was the first time Ovechkin’s club even made the postseason, and even then the Caps snuck in on the final few days of the season and lost in the first round. There’s a few more chapters to go before I’ll be calling him Secretariat.

  38. James Mirtle says:

    I’m afraid I think agree with the Pens fans here. Crosby is one of the top players we’ve seen in the league in at least the last decade, and can’t be held responsible for the fact his team has been (a) poorly constructed under the cap, (b) facing brutal injury problems on the blueline and (c) poorly coached.
    Last season was the first time Ovechkin’s club even made the postseason, and even then the Caps snuck in on the final few days of the season and lost in the first round. There’s a few more chapters to go before I’ll be calling him Secretariat.

  39. Brentwood says:

    Funny article. Obviously written from a fan’s perspective. Nothing wrong with that. You love Ovi and you are propping him up by pulling down somebody who you feel is above him. Why else would you be pulling Crosby down?
    Caps fans have suffered a long time, especially at the hands of the Penguins. The Penguins kept coming back in the playoffs to eliminate the Caps. It was like a Jason movie for you people. It is natural to have that affect your heart. But before you take too much joy from a February win over a team playing its third game in four days, keep in mind the Stanley Cup does not get awarded in February and Ovi, who would have been a Penguin if not for a lucky lottery ball for the Caps, has never won a playoff series.
    I recall going to a Pens Caps playoff game at the old barn in PG County and sitting in front of a Caps fan who yelled at Lemieux the entire game. Lemieux was unable to tie his own skates because of back problems, but still was leading the league in post season points, and was in the process of hanging a goal and three on the Caps that night. “Lemieux, you’d play defense if you were a Capital!” Very insightful comment. Leave it to a Caps fan to turn the greatest offensive talent of his time into a neutral zone trap specialist. Is it any wonder you are still waiting for your first Cup?

  40. Hockey Player says:

    The boisterous Pittsburgh Penguin fans behave like this and it’s insane. Not a single person on here challenged whether or not Crosby is a skilled player. Not a single person on here challenged whether or not there is joy in rooting for Crosby or Ovechkin. Yet, the Penguin fans seem to have taken it personally and quickly degenerated into childish retorts of “but the guy you root for sucks.” They regress to name calling: Well, your guy is going to fall apart” and “your guy is a cheap shot artist.” They make excuses for Crosby’s behavior. (“He’s young,” “He has the weight of the league on his shoulders” etc. etc.) If you all pull back you will see — every single poster on here (Caps’ fans included) believe Crosby has the potential to be the “Next One.” However, he is farther from that mantle than people are willing to accept. He does incredibly childish things — there is no denying he dives; it’s on video him taking cheap shots and it’s on record other players find him whines. It should be incredibly troubling to Penguin fans that he and Malkin seem to be linemate killers. If he was this brilliant set-up man, you could put Shaq out there and he would get 20 or 30 goals a season. But, that’s not what’s happening. Hossa took a lesser deal to play in Detroit. Other linemates have been labeled as cursed. When Crosby got in trouble, his teammates DIDN’T come to his defense on Sunday. To the media, it’s easy to formulate responses, “he’s our captain,” “he’s great locker-room presence” yet, when it came to putting themselves on the line physically, they leaned back and didn’t do it. Their actions speak far louder than their words. It is undeniable Crosby has maturity problems. Everyone making excuses for him is not going to get over those problems. Someone — whether it be the fans or a teammate — needs to kick his ass and force him to focus on playing the damn game instead of trying to influence these mysterious outside forces (refs, other players to be nice to him, etc.) Many of you Penguin fans in here talk about how he’s a great two-way player, how he mucks it up in the corner and isn’t afraid to cut to the net; but, in reality, it’s not happening. Sure, he does it from time to time. That’s what’s so frustrating — he CAN go to the corner, he CAN muck it up in front of the net, he CAN make the brilliant pass… but his head isn’t always in the game to do it regularly the way “the Next One” must in order to be “the Next One.” Jordan, Gretzky, Lemieux, James, Jim Brown, Federer, Tiger .. all of them refused to take a single play off and never let outside forces affect their concentration. That’s why Crosby isn’t cutting to the net all the time, why he’s not in the corners, why he’s not going 100% each time out — he isn’t focused like the stars he wants to be associated with. He has their talent, just not their maturity and heads. Instead of firing coaches, attacking other fans (and players on opposing teams), ripping apart his teammates, maybe it’s time to look at the Captain of the team and say, “quit focusing on stuff you can’t control, pretend like each play is the only play you will ever make, and focus.” That’s what people don’t like about Crosby — he has more talent than anyone else in the game, but he just doesn’t know how to use it, and people make excuses for him when he doesn’t use it.

  41. Kingsmill says:

    Thank you, Mirtle.
    Take the time and realize that the league was returning from a lockout. Crosby was the number 1 pick who was known throughout Canada since he was 12. He gave interviews in English and French. He is quiet off the ice just like his father and did not ask for the attention. (I would love to have the endorsements that he turned down.) Now look at AO. He had trouble with the language when he first arrived on the scene. He wore a tinted visor that was hardly ever seen before. He is not one of the most appealing guys to a camera. He plays for a team that does not have a hockey-rich tradition. Now, his game has thrust him to the forefront of the league. I commend him for that.
    But to bash a guy for choosing his words in interviews. What next? Tiger Woods stinks because he doesn’t speak out on Darfur.
    What does he have to do to elevate his game? The guy is ahead of him in the points standings and lead his team to the Cup Finals when Geno disappeared. (Check the playoff stats for proof) To say that Ovechkin is light years better than Crosby shows how little you can see from the waistband of Alex’s boxers.

  42. Kingsmill says:

    Hockey Player –
    Won’t waste the time to point out the absurdity of your post.

  43. Hockey Player says:

    “absurdity” — I apologize for daring to challenge an athlete from Pittsburgh. Clearly, they are offlimits for criticism. Crosby is at the top of his game and the problems with the Penguins are, clearly, everyone else in the league hasn’t behaved properly. Clearly, Hossa was the one who made the mistake in leaving. The refs, league management, and other teams will wake-up in the playoffs and the Penguins should advance to the Finals where they belong.
    REALITY CHECK: Crosby is wildly talented but his maturity problems are getting in the way of him realizing that talent. His teammates say the right things but don’t physically put themselves in harms way to protect him (ie, back their words up with actions).

  44. GenoGeno says:

    Caps fans, I applaud you for finally selling enough home tickets to a pens game where you dont have a 40% pittsburgh fan base representation. And with the bandwagon fans obviously comes ignorant fans complaining of Crosby. Maybe if Ovechkin got dentures, cut his hair, shaved and had learned proper english prior to last year the NHL could have marketed him more. What do you expect, Crosby gives Ovy mad props for his on ice skill, no one doubts that but hes a show boater, probably a lot of fun for the home fans but is certainly not a great sport. What you call excited celebration, I call excessive, I beleive that it was Chris Berman who coined the phrase “act like youve been there before”
    You forget so quickly that Crosby plays on a line with Pascal Dupuis and Ruslan Fedotekno, not exactly Alex Semin and Nick Backstrom and yet Crosby (and Malkin for that matter) are leading Ovy in scoring. Its a bit of an excuse but imagine if Crosby had a true goal scorer for a full season, he’d have at least 20 more assists. Last, the Kid is 21 years old has become the youngest leading scorer and taken his team to the Stanley Cup final, thats not too bad in my book. Certainly more than Ovy can say at this point.

  45. Brentwood says:

    HOCKEY PLAYER, you know not of what you write. You are ignorant of your topic. You have no insider information. Your knowledge is ascertained from watching somebody play a handful of games and a few highlight shows. Your opinion isn’t based on fact, it is based on ignorance, which, come to think about it, would make you about as qualified as the person who writes this blog.

  46. GenoGeno says:

    HockeyPlayer
    You obviously you didnt watch much of Lemieux in his prime. He was the biggest complainer on the ice (rightfully so).. In fact one of the biggest reasons he retired was because he was so sick of never drawing a hooking call as he dragged players up and down the ice (see Adam Graves)

  47. hackhamster says:

    Since I’m seeing fewer mullets in the Verizon Center, either folks from up in western PA have discovered the Hair Cuttery and are attending games in disguise, or DC area fans are buying more tickets. Who knows?
    Actually, to abandon this Crosby-love-fest, how about when the Pens realize they have no chance to make the playoffs, we trade em Semin and Nylander for Geno?

  48. Brentwood says:

    Though I disagree with most of the opinions given by Caps fans on this blog, I have to agree with Hack that the mullet is still alive among too many Pittsburghers. My God, my cousin still has one. On the other hand, my neighbor down the street here in Maryland is a Caps fan and he has a mullet, so apparently it knows no geographical bounds.

  49. hackhamster says:

    btw: Ovie scores again.

  50. hackhamster says:

    Talkin’ bout the mullet, I’m just surprised they didn’t hire Barry Melrose when they fired Therrien: he would have been a role-model for, well, millions of folks (er, Pens fans) who need someone to look up to.
    Maybe if Sid sported some wild hair, he’d be able to ditch the “Kid” moniker and be hailed as… well, nothing rhymes with mullet.

  51. hackhamster says:

    Anyone else think Scott Hartnell looks like Sammy Hagar’s love-child?

  52. NS2NOVA says:

    “Worse, his true nature has been revealed: he’s convention-of-engineers-at-happy-hour dull. ”
    Pucks…. as an engineer, I am offended by your stereotypical view of engineers, and even more by comparing us to He who needs his beak shut.
    One more poorly thought out backhanded insult to engineers, and I’ll take you into the boards faster than Sid performing a proctological examination.
    On a more serious note: Backstrom’s goal reminded me of a long past Alexander Keith’s commercial. Slowly, carefully, taking the time to get it right.

  53. SgtCaron says:

    Has Ovie played in the Stanley Cup? Has he been out of the first round of the playoffs? The Caps have a great burden on them now, they better do well in the playoffs or their great season will be for not. And remember, the Caps lost to Colorado at home, loss the LA kings twice and was blasted by San Jose twice.
    We’ll see we’ll see…

  54. SgtCaron says:

    Plus, you wonderful Caps fans could not even get the “greatest” player in the NHL into the All-Star game. What a bunch of morons.

  55. SgtCaron says:

    Where is Ovie now?
    They lost to Philly, I belive the Pens beat the Flyers twice in Philly.

  56. erock says:

    Yeah and we beat the Pens three straight this year, so what. You are out of the playoffs. Have fun watching Sid play golf. BTW, Pittsburgh is a dirty ugly city!

  57. Brentwood says:

    Erock, have you even been to Pittsburgh? C’mon now, that statement is ignorant. If you’ve been there then you would not say that. I’ve lived in both cities. Each city has its armpit areas, but only one city has Marion Barry…and Southeast.

  58. OrderedChaos (Mike Rucki) says:

    SGTCARON: Ovechkin did play in the All-Star game. In fact he won for the best shootout in the skills competition. And yes, the Caps have a few bad losses this year… though who’s in 2nd in and who’s in 10th?
    BRENTWOOD: Your comments are pretty reasonable, so you’re more than welcome. But your allegation that Ovi would have been a Penguin but for a lucky lottery-ball bounce, while true, ignores the fact that the Penguins got the completely undeserved GIFT of the post-lockout lottery — not since 1995 has one team had TWO #1 picks in a three-year span, so please, don’t whine about the lottery.
    Look, clearly Crosby has impressive hockey talent. He’s a setup man extraordinaire. I’m not impressed with his character, but his skills are undeniable. But I’ll tell you one thing: right now I’d choose Ovechkin, Malkin, and Kane over Crosby, because they play with a style that’s more to my liking, they play with more heart, and they are a helluva lot more fun to watch.

  59. NS2NOVA says:

    OC, did you have to open up the old Semin wounds again? Haven’t they been hurt enough?

  60. Feltes says:

    I had a blast reading this flamboyantly articulate article. Yes… gayer than hell, but well written and funny.
    Post-article comment browsing proved to be even more fun. I love to hate the Caps (not nearly as much as I love to hate the Flyers, but…). I love that you hate the Pens. I love that Crosby is a Penguin. I applaud his talent, work ethic, maturity, humility, and leadership.
    I think AO is great… likely to go down as one of the greatest ever. With that said, anybody who thinks Crosby is not at least his equal is allowing emotion to supersede the fundamentals of rational argument. The facts have been stated throughout.
    Where will they each be in 3 years (at the ages of what? 24, 25, 26?)? Who knows. I look forward to having the opportunity to watch it unfold.
    Pittsburgh is dirty –
    http://www.michaelmccumber.com/collections/pittsburgh_night/

  61. SgtCaron says:

    ORDEREDCHAOS: Lets see now, you beat a 10th place team, but can’t beat a playoff team. Good luck in the playoffs.

  62. Brentwood says:

    SGT Caron, I’m a reasonable man, but not a whiner. The comment about the lottery ball bounce was not whining, it was an observation and it was factual. The Penguins had the worst record in the league that year, thanks in part to the dumping of Jagr’s salary and character on Leonsis. The odds favored the Penguins getting the first pick in the draft that year and by all accounts that pick would’ve been Ovi, which would’ve left the Caps with Malkin. If that had taken place, this blog would be populated by comments about how Malkin is a better all around player than Ovi, and how Ovi, while talented, is for some reason, devoting parts of his energies to head hunting. As for the Crosby lottery ball, there is not denying that was luck, but had that luck bounced Washington’s way then this blog would be devoted to defending the Kid and not ridiculing him. Why? Because if you watched the Kid play 82 times a year instead of 5-10, you would know how hard he plays every night, and the crap he puts up with. This blog is focusing on one game, on one day, which featured a team playing it’s third game in less than four days and a Kid playing on one leg and with the remnants of the flu still crusing through his system. Most of the bloggers here would call in sick for a couple days if they had the flu, not lace up skates and take on a Russian freight train skating at your head at 25 miles per hour. I love Ovi, he is great to watch, but that does not mean that other players of equal ability are dogging it.

  63. Brentwood says:

    My bad and my apologies to SGTCARON, comment was intended for OrderedChaos instead.

  64. Hackhamster says:

    Wow, still feelin the love from the Pens fans:
    “Good luck in the playoffs”: Actually, the Caps have a pretty good record vs all divisions in the East:
    vs East: 31-8-5
    vs Atl: 12-2-3
    vs NE: 11-3-2
    vs SE: 8-3-0
    So, I have a pretty good feeling about the Caps in the playoffs this year (well, as long as we don’t play the Flyers, they seem to have our number this year).
    The Pens OTOH, not as good but at least over .500 (23-20-5), but only because they are 11-0-5 vs the SE minus the Caps, against whom they are 0-3-0.
    Funny thing about these numbers, this means the Pens are 12-20-0 against the rest of the East. Go on and blame it on Gonchar not being around up til last week, but heck, the Caps played well over .500 for most of the first months of the season as the freakin Washington/Hershey Bears.
    (mmmm, chocolate….)
    “Crosby leaves Penguins practice with sore groin”:
    Um, did Boris Valabik skip practice after getting five-holed by the Kid? Man-up Sid!

  65. Birdie says:

    Hockey Player, thank you for that thoughtful, non-aggressive post. I figure you deserve a shout-out for that, considering all the crap you’re taking ffrom Pittsburgh fans who apparently have nothing to do all day except post insulting comments here. (I can barely find enough time to keep up with OFB and JP, let alone go around posting nastiness on another team’s blog. Do Pittsburgh fans not have to work or soemthing?)
    Stay Classy, Pittsburgh fans!

  66. den says:

    you’re clueless…the more people outside of the burgh who hate him just proves he is that good. it is called jealousy…
    ps, look up!…wait, sorry, no cup banners up there are there!?!!? boo hoo

  67. Hockey Player says:

    Why does these kinds of mass vitriolic attacks happen with the Penguins? It seems everywhere the Penguins go, their fans attack anyone who has anything other than praise for the team. I don’t think these “fans” represent the majority of Penguin fans. However, their actions come to speak on behalf of all Penguin Nation. They aren’t doing their team any service. These actions are only causing people to further entrench in any negative feelings they have towards the Penguins, their fans, the city of Pittsburgh, and anything remotely related to Pittsburgh. To the Penguin fans who troll through here and feel a need to go on the offensive towards anyone who has anything less than praise for the Penguins: Your behavior is not going to cause people to rethink their opinions of the Penguins. Instead, it reinforces any negative feelings people have towards your team. But, most importantly, you are horrible ambassadors of the city of Pittsburgh. When you speak/write, you speak/write as a representative of the city of Pittsburgh. Rightly or wrongly, when people who have been on the receiving end of your comments/vitriole meet and/or see someone or something from Pittsburgh, they will think of you and your comments. Certainly, these thoughts will not be positive. Caps fans, when you respond, you speak on behalf of Mr. Leonsis, the Caps franchise, Caps fans everywhere, and the city of Washington. Please don’t engender towards DC and the Caps the same feelings the Penguin fans who troll through here seem to be engendering.

  68. Cathy W says:

    Since when do Pens fans read this blog? Oh right, you didn’t say that Crosby is the savior of the known universe. Since when is one prohibited from ever saying anything that is not 110% super positive about this guy? The Pens fans’ comments come across as being way too defensive. Crosby is a good player, but I am so sick of the league having focused only on him and not all on the deserving young players that I just don’t want to hear about him. At this point in time, I don’t buy that all of the attention is still just totally beyond his control, is still just all is being forced upon him, and that he is just a victim of unwanted attention. Oh yeah, he was made to do that clothing line. But, none of this really matters to me because he is a Penguin. As a Caps fan, I hate the Penguins.

  69. Brentwood says:

    Cathy W. at least you are honest. It’s cool, as a Penguin fan I hate the Flyers. I don’t hate the Caps, a team has to be a threat before you hate them. The Caps are becoming that. Until now the Caps have always been the team the Pens love to draw in the playoffs. It’s cool. I think the unwanted attention that Pens fans are talking about has nothing to do with the clothing line. A man would be a fool to turn down marketing money. The NHL foisted The Kid into the spotlight, THAT is not something Crosby requested. He turned 18, was put under a microscope and was told to represent the league. By the time he was 19 they began to market him as the best player in the league. Not his choice and never once in an interview has he ever referred to himself that way. Caps fans have been very defensive of Ovechkin since both were rookies because of the Pens history of beating the Caps. You folks didn’t want to finish second again to another young star, so from the time the first rookie of the month award was handed out to Crosby instead of Ovechkin the vitriol started. By attacking Crosby nonstop, don’t you see how you are in turn actually being defensive about Ovechkin?
    And there are plenty of Caps fans on the Penguins blogs so don’t all of you act so holy HOCKEY PLAYER.

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