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A.O. Speaks With Motor City Media

Thanks to my delayed departure out of Tampa, I was able to join Alex Ovechkin's conference call with the Detroit media a few minutes ago. Ovechkin will be playing at Joe Louis Arena for the first time tomorrow night against the league-leading Red Wings, and the local reporters had lots of questions for him.

Nothing earth-shattering, but I'll share some of his comments:

Q: Can the Caps still make the playoffs?
A: "Last week was very important for us. We play five games and we win four and lose one. We still have a chance. We play better and better."

Q: How much are you looking forward to playing in Detroit?
A: "Detroit is one of the best teams in the league. It's a great place to play hockey and I've never been here. So I'm really excited. They have great players so it will be big challenge for my team."

Q: What impresses you most about [Detroit center] Pavel Datsyuk?
A: "He makes unbelievable moves -- on penalty shots, when he plays one-on-one against defensemen. He's a great passer. He's one of the best players in the league right now."

Q: What are some of the challenges you face when going against [Red Wings defenseman] Nicklas Lidstrom?
A: "I like play against very good 'D' because it's a big challenge for you. You can see what you can do against great players. All the time it's a challenge when you go to the ice. ...And when you win the game, it's a great feeling."

Q: Alex, can you talk about your physical play?
A: I like play physical game. ...I like make big hits. And when somebody hits me hard, I smile. It's good for him."

Q: What's been the big difference lately for your team under the new coach?
A: "We play more aggressive in the attack zone. We change our system. Bruce has had lots of time to make some changes. We can see difference from how we play [under Glen Hanlon] and how we play since Bruce came in. Glen was great coach. He gave me a lot. But it's life. When the team lose, everybody is talking about the coach."

Q: You are going to be a restricted free agent this summer. Anything new on that? Have you guys talked at all?
A: "No, not really. But we still have time, so there's no rush."

There were a few other questions, but unfortunately Ovechkin was drowned out by announcements over the airport's public address system. The most recent announcement was one I didn't mind hearing: my plane will be here in five minutes.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 16, 2007; 2:55 PM ET
 
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Comments

OV likes to hit people... Be fun to watch Crosby if that aspect of OV would rub off on him just a little.

Posted by: Steve R | December 16, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Hearing him in an interview never gets old. And if he isn't worried about his contract, we shouldn't be either. Go Caps!!!

Posted by: Eric | December 16, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

BB deserves the "feel good" story in the post, he's what hockey is all about.
I love seeing guys like Carlyle, Trotz behind the bench, not pretty to look at yet beautiful too watch their style on ice.
Ducks win cup with most fighting majors, that's beautiful. Skate, hit, fight.

As you know I can't and won't support Caps until GM has been TERMINATED, however props are deserved to the players & coach.
NOBODY ELSE !
Oh, & Slugo sure looks good behind the Ducks bench. "If" what he was fired for was so bad, no NHL team would have touched him, so it's CLEAR proof GM was just cutting salary. That's CLASSLESS.

Posted by: Chief | December 16, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

That's why Ovie will always be a more complete player than Cindy Crosbytch. CC learned his on-ice demeanor from one of the greatest whiners of all time - Lemieux. The refs also overlook a lot of things he should be called for, just like they did for Lemieux. I also can't stand how the announcers trip over their own tongues to laud whatever he does -- Cindy made a pass! Cindy spun around! Cindy looked at the camera! It's really annoying. Anyway, he'll never play to the level that Ovie brings to his game.

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | December 16, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"Ovie more complete player than Crosby" ??
puckdawg69

You've obviously never played the game. Ovie is his own special wonder (wing)
Crosby is as complete as they come.

No coincidence Crosby leaves the physical stuff to others, it's a risk (of injury) he & the Pens can't afford, neither can the Caps.
Don't applaud the big hits too much for OV, the honeymoon is over and many veterans remember guys like OV for a payback, a reality that's coming.

Posted by: Chief | December 16, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Is Boudreau still under the interim title? Any chance on that changing?

Posted by: Justin | December 16, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse

@ Chief,

You may be right about Crosby's talent, but he did learn whining from one of the worst.

You are correct about gmgm, but I wouldn't stop there, Ted needs to make over the president's position. I still am peeved that his hockey "brain trust" let Hanlon go on as long as they did.

Posted by: Clarendon | December 16, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

From one of the "worst"

Clarendon,

By whining, you mean Mario ?
Please.... That "whiner" has accomplished more than you'll ever imagine & it was not by "whining". When Caps have a player with a cup under their belt by taking a worthless team to great heights, then maybe there will be something to compare.
So far Sid the Kid is so far ahead of OV in that department that it's led to people wondering if OV should resign or get out.

Make no mistake, Crosby has proved to be the difference last year for a playoff appearance, OV unfortunately will need help

Posted by: Chief | December 16, 2007 6:43 PM | Report abuse

If the President position makes hockey related decisions, then yes.
But if DP is not at all involved in operations (as I suspect he's not), then it makes no difference,he has 20% of the Caps, which goes way back to day 1.
I'm almost certain it's investment related and not day to day hockey ops.

Posted by: Chief | December 16, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Chief,

yes I mean Mario. I am not disputing either of their natural talents, just the manner in which they handle/ed themselves on the ice. Mario was a jerk and Crosby seems to feel that he is untouchable. And yes, it is clear that Ovie is a different kind of player than Crosby-- that Crosby in his way, makes his team better than Ovie does his. I just hate players that whine (and Mario did whine); it diminishes their talent.

If President Dick Patrick is a figure head, then that must be truly embarassing to his family. But to me his family must already be embarassed as that the Caps, under his presidency, haven't ever amounted to much, certainly not enough to uphold the Patrick name in hockey.

Posted by: Clarendon | December 16, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

>Make no mistake, Crosby has proved to be the difference last year for a playoff appearance

??? What are you talking about?
Did he advance Pens to a next round? He sucked! Yeah, it was revealed he had a broken leg. Alrighty then.


It is obvious to everyone Sid had a better supporting cast last year. Just to mention, he has Malkin who was considered by many better or equal to Ovechkin. Enough sad.

They are different kind of players, but Ovechkin is definitely more exciting than Sid. Just check YouTube, Ovechkin has twice as many videos as Sid.

Memo to Sid's points lead:
Secondary assists are overrated. :-)

Posted by: alexovetjkin | December 16, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Ah, the old Ovie v. Sid debate.

Both great players. Make things happen. Contributors to their teams, their communities.

I like both players. I just like Ovie more. He's got personality, jokes all the time. Sid has the personality of a door.

"Sid the Kid"
"The Next One/Next Great One"
Crosby hat trick: goal, assist, unsportsmanlike conduct penalty

"Alexander the Great"
"The Great 8"
Ovechkin hat trick: goal, assist, opposing player through the glass

I'd like to see the NHL wake up their marketing department and use these two more often by buying advertising time during prime TV slots, like shows with high ratings or--gasp!--during NFL or NASCAR telecasts, especially in cities with NHL teams. They've both got lots and lots of highlight reel performances.

Posted by: Green Trees | December 16, 2007 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Crosby and Ovie are two different players so It's hard to say if one is better than the other.

However, Cindy is a baby and Ovie's a bad-ass.

Posted by: dave | December 17, 2007 12:17 AM | Report abuse

"he has Malkin who was considered by many better or equal to Ovechkin."


You can't be serious! Malkin is good and all but "better than Ovie". Absurd...

Posted by: Tom | December 17, 2007 12:18 AM | Report abuse

I've always believed SCORING goals is more difficult than ASSISTING on goals.

This of course is an EXTREMELY general statement. There are obviously cases where the assist is what truly causes the goal to happen. And Crosby is responsible for a large number of assists like that; he is proactive.. making things happen on the ice that would not happen if he wasn't there.

And that's why even though Crosby is a whining little bi--h, I respect his ability, big time. But in my view what Ovechkin brings to the table is more "rare" than Crosby. He is all-go, all the time, and he knows how to put the puck in the net. This is why he should be signed to a deal that is as long as possible, and it will probably have to be for more money per year than Crosby got.

Once he plays in the playoffs, he'll earn every penny.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | December 17, 2007 12:24 AM | Report abuse

mario was a whiner.

Posted by: jim* | December 17, 2007 2:06 AM | Report abuse

Why is sluggo even being brought up? I mean, he was the equipment manager...give me a break. The guy had been there for a long, LONG time so clearly something must have happened in order for him to be let go. Its not like someone in the front office was just like, yeah, i think we'll can our respected equipment manager just for the hell of it. That sort of thing just doesn't happen, and save me your, "well, this organization would do something like that" arguments because you know that's just lame. You want to question the GM's personnel decisions then fine, but what's the point of even bringing up someone who plays a secondary role with the team...youre just digging at that point, which really just diminishes your argument and makes it sound like you need to bring up that sort of stuff to strengthen your argument at a point in time where the team that has been assembled is succeeding. Bottom line is, the Caps are doing well as of late, why not try and stay positive and hope this continues instead of reverting back to the attitude where we couldn't buy a win?

Posted by: abcdefg | December 17, 2007 2:27 AM | Report abuse

AO rocks :D

I'm happy that BB recognized the "Semin problem" and decided to act on it (from his interview, he declared that the team should put Semin in the condition to excel as he did last year). With Semin and AO full throttle who knows how high this team can go.

But tonight - oh my oh my - what a challenge. No expectation of victory please. But do expect a good game.

GO CAPS

Posted by: mauree | December 17, 2007 4:24 AM | Report abuse

mauree - maybe they will catch them off guard?!? :-D

Posted by: Boo! | December 17, 2007 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Crosbytch vs. Ovechkin... Ovechkin is the best player in the world. Enough said.

If the NHL truly want to have a global appeal, then they picked the wrong guy to market. Ovechkin is the man!

Posted by: Finn | December 17, 2007 7:59 AM | Report abuse

AO & Crosby? = Hype
Lecavalier & St. Louis = Production.

And I am a Caps fan.

Posted by: Joe | December 17, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Lecavalier & St. Louis = Who are two players not on a playoff team? Both great players, but what is your point? Would you rather have Lecavlier than OV?

Yes Crosby and Ovechkin are hyped by the media - but IMO - they both produce!!

Posted by: gamer | December 17, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

We can fight about this all day, but when it comes down to it I think we can all agree that the best player in the NHL is Jagr. I mean who else could destroy two hockey teams to the point where they're acquiring players like Crosby and Ovechkin? They'd be in different sweaters if Jaromir played anywhere else!

All kidding aside, I think some of the better goalies in the league like Luongo and Lundqvist get the shaft when it comes to this discussion. Would NY be anywhere w/o Henrik? What about Vancouver?

AO and Sid might not score every night, but the team could still win. When those goalies have a bad game, it's a loss. I guess it's that no one wants to hear about the goalies - people always talk about the GWGs as opposed to game winning saves.

Posted by: Raber | December 17, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

@gamer
What is my point? Very clear. Lecavalier and St. Louis today are better players than AO and Crosby.
What is your point? What do you mean by who are two players not on the playoff? Do you mean this year? Well, no one is on the playoffs yet, and if you look at the standing any team in our division has the chance to make the playoffs. Did you mean in the previous years? Well Tampa has been in the playoffs every year since AO and Crosby got in the league and beyond that. They have won a division and I believe the Cup. Although, what does that have to do with the present? other than argue a mute point.
In reality, it is stupid comparing players. They have nothing in common other than a puck and a stick;. They have different coaches, different line mates, etc., there is not a true basis for comparison, it is a team game, therefore, we should compare teams not players. But that is only my opinion.

Posted by: joe | December 17, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Direct quote from Babcock:

"I think when the other team gets off the flight, they've got to know that there's no chance for points."

That quote ought to be in the pre-game speech. I hope OV puts Lidstrom through the boards tonight!

GO CAPS!

Posted by: Raber | December 17, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

AO & Crosby do not play together - so I am not sure why they are in the discussion as a duo? My point is that even having those two guys on their team Tampa is not exactly sitting pretty right now either.
I think Lecavalier & St. Louis are great players and they probably do deserve more league attention - but to say that OV is just hype- that one can't be explained to me... sorry. We will have to agree to disagree there.

Posted by: gamer | December 17, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I would stay in Tampa if I were you.

Posted by: detroit airport authority | December 17, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

@ Tarik

Hey, I noticed that the Post put out the Football Section in today's print. Where's the Sports section? Who do we write to about this?

Posted by: Greg S. | December 17, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Chief and Clarendon - You guys have it right.

Alphabet Soup (abcdefg) - He is being brought up because there are people who know the real story. And the picture you paint IS WHAT HAPPENED. Start w/ an Enron accountant, a want to be scout, mix in hapless management executives and you got the recipe. The Team is playing well of late. They finally have a man (BB) in charge that cares more about winning games and less about how they are going to keep their paycheck. And their success you talk about is moving from 30th to 29th. Keep climbing boys!

Posted by: someone else who knows | December 17, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Joe, it really is just too hard to say who is better. I am thrilled that the Caps do have Ovie -- he is the first star of his magnitude to really "be a Cap" (Jagr was never really a Cap).

I do enjoy watching Lecavalier and St. Louis, just not so much against the Caps. I also enjoy watching Datsyuk and Zetterberg, and their mates, just not so much against the Caps. (I am quite anxious about tonight).

LET'S GO CAPITALS!

Posted by: Clarendon | December 17, 2007 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I think that there is a significant difference between AO, Crosby, Jagr, Lec, and StL. They can generally be grouped into two camps. AO and Lec (possibly StL) fall into the team camp. Jagr, Crosby are definately in their own personal camp. I get the sense that AO and Lec play for their teams and will do what they have to FOR the team. Jagr and Crosby play for themselves and no one else.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 17, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

on second thought, I geuss the Caps did have Langway, and Stevens. I suppose I should qualify my previous post with the Caps have never had a forward of Ovie's star quality. Bondra and Garts were close, but I Ovie is a bigger star.

Posted by: Clarendon | December 17, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

@Tom
> You can't be serious! Malkin is good and all but "better than Ovie". Absurd...

I agree with you, but that was in the press about Malkin, I didn't make it up...

Posted by: alexovetjkin | December 17, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

@Joe:
Good god, man - you take 30 GM's, 30 owners and 30 coaches across the league and ask them, who would you build your team around, Lecavalier and St. Louis, or Ovie and Crosby?
If 29 out of the 30 of each group didnt reply AO/SC, I would be amazed. Yeesh.

Posted by: Shaggy | December 17, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

The only reason that we hear a lot about Crosby in the hockey press is because hockey is a Canadian National sport. They take it very seriously up there. Crosby is Canadian. AO is Russian. A Russian will never be the poster child for a Canada's sport no matter how great he is.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 17, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

St. Louis? Better than OV? What are you people smokin'?

You can argue that Sid is better than OV, too - but it don't matter. Die hard Cap fans won't truck with that argument. It's undisputed: OV is better. Period.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 17, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I think you're all a little whacked. OV and Sid get nominations as "best" player in the league right now, but really that title should go to Zetterberg or Lecaviler. I don't like it either, but those two are playing out of their heads.

Posted by: old time hockey | December 17, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

My 4-year old kid was acting up, terrorizing neighborhood pets, getting suspended from school, and being a general holy terror.

I made him sit down and watch a highlight reel of Crosby's 50 best 2nd assists. He's now at the top of his class and is currently organizing a holiday charity to benefit the local SPCA.

My mother-in-law used to be a raging and abusive alcoholic who destroyed her marriage and the lives of almost anyone who came into contact with her.

I sent her a three hour long compilation video of Sid the Kid complaining to the officials for various reasons, and now she's reunited with her estranged husband, returned to college and graduated with a degree in particle physics, is first soprano in the church choir, and was recently nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor for her work helping Sri Lankan refugees - reuniting families torn apart by the devastating tsunami.

I think the results speak for themselves.

Posted by: Sid Is Awesome | December 17, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

If you'll pardon the pun, Jerome is on fire in Calgary as well.

Posted by: Steve R | December 17, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

That's pretty funny! :)
I hope Ovechkin levels Crosbytch next time they play! Alex cut him a break last time they met by only checking him "a little bit". God, I would LOVE to see Ovechkin shatter the glass with Crosbyth's body!

Posted by: Finn | December 17, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

As I recall, AO did a pretty good open ice hit on Crosby last time they met. AO skated through Crosby, Crosby was laying on the ice at the end of the meeting.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 17, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

And right after OV whacked him, another Cap hit Crosby too. Going to have to rack my brain to come up with who made the follow up hit.

Posted by: Steve R | December 17, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Well, we all know who it WASN'T!

Posted by: Greg S. | December 17, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

It needs to be said that Mario, in his great and infinite power, couldn't get the team to a Stanley Cup until he had Ron, Mark, Tom, and sadly Mario Junior, in addition to Rick and other various first names. Lemieux winning a cup in pittsburgh was SCARCELY on his own.

Posted by: Whiter Mage | December 17, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

@Greg,

Considering Crosby's diving ability, he would hit the ice after one of Shultz's nudges.

Posted by: Steve R | December 17, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if Patty Cakes would even touch Crosby. We all know that Crosby is a cry baby. Patty may think he has cooties and won't touch him.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 17, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Pretty sure it was Morrisonn.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 17, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

When Ovechkin gets hit, he gets up and carries on with a smile and sportsman's like intensity.

Is Crosbytch gets hit (which is rare, cos no one wants Bettman to have a heart attack, really) he starts whining, holding his leg/hip/face (insert any body part), and then tries to cheap shot another player.

Ovechkin all the way!

Posted by: Finn | December 17, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

All this hype about Crosby being better than Ovie is beyond comprehension. People can´t be serious!. Crosby has shown too many ugly character and emotional flaws which will in my opinion, be his final undoing. A "real" superstar trascends his shortcomings and does not go through ugly, public and frequent ups and downs. Ovie is such a genuine superstar! He conducts himself with maturity, integrity, and professionalism in every area of his life. Crosby behaves like a self-absorbed, egocentric, maniac player who believes the world should be grateful to have him. I do blame the media for spoiling him though. But comparing Crosby to Ovechkin is like comparing Barry Bonds to the great Carl Ripken. Enough said.

Posted by: Patricia | December 17, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Wow... I read this fairly regularly and for a while I was almost fooled into thinking this was a Caps blog.

Now I see it is yet another Love/Hate Sidney Crosby blog.

Just sayin'....

Posted by: Burghster who likes the Caps AND Pens | December 17, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Crosby has a better supporting cast than OV. Crosby will NEVER try and carry his team on his back to try and win. OV will do whatever it takes, sacrifice, everything, to win. Crosby has no intestinal fortitude.

Chief, really, if you don't like the caps, go somewhere else.

Posted by: Lee | December 17, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@ sid is awesome:

Gee, I guess what's next is to get the Shia and Sunni to watch highlight reels of Saint Sid and we can end the Iraq war!
BWAHAHAHAHA!

On another note: when is Gabby going to sit Poti for his little refresher course?

Posted by: Clarendon | December 17, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

you guys are all wrong regarding who's the better player. the best player in the league is on the ducks because sluggo is behind the bench!

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | December 17, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

LOL.
They are all very good players, the argument is silly... but enjoyable?
Anyway, here is cheering for the caps.

Posted by: Joe | December 17, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071217/SPORTS05/712170390

Good article about Detroit players praising AO.

How did we get a Pens fan in this blog? Cheif... Sidney had help last year getting into the playoffs - two top picks in Malkin and Staal. He is a good player, but he is not light years ahead of Alex...

When Alex came here, he wanted to turn around a team - slowly but surely he is. Before him, I would not have come to these blogs, so in a way, he is changing the fans of Washington as well.

I told you all before, Crosby is only to be mentioned in this blog - only if you are talking about his face in the urinal the first time he came to Washington...

Posted by: 828 | December 17, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Who is Carl Ripken?

Posted by: Rock | December 17, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

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