Coaches talk Sid and Ovi
If you go to the lead poll on ESPN.com right now, you'll be assaulted by five--yes, five--poll questions concerning Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. Voters believe, by large margins, that Ovechkin is the more talented player and that Ovechkin will win more MVPs, but that Crosby is a better team player and that Crosby will win more Stanley Cups. They also say that Crosby's Stanley Cup last spring didn't change their opinion on which player is better, that they thought it was Ovechkin before and still thought that after.
(Heck, as of last night, ESPN.com voters in Pennsylvania said they thought Ovechkin would finish his career with more than MVP trophies than native Kobe Bryant or current star Crosby. LeBron finished first in that four-man poll.)
The question of individual vs. team player was raised at Thursday's morning skate, and Bruce Boudreau again endorsed Ovechkin's team mentality.
"I mean, I think Alex hates losing to anybody, and I think Alex's only goal [is team titles]," Boudreau said. "I mean, those individual awards are great. When you watched him win those things in Vegas last year, all he talked about was winning the one other trophy. So they're nice, but it's not what runs his show. Matter of fact, I had a talk about that last year, I said 'Listen, I want to play you a little bit more, see if you can't catch Malkin.' He says, 'I don't care about that, I only care about one trophy.' That was about with about eight or 10 games to go, too."
In any case, as Puck Daddy noted, this is a rivalry that goes beyond Sid vs. Ovi.
"It's been a rivalry a long time, even before our matchups," Crosby said Thursday morning. "It's always intense, and I expect this to be pretty much that."
Ovechkin, meantime, said the rivalry has expanded beyond its Sid vs. Ovi headlines.
"I think right now everybody understand and realize both guys have pretty good team around them," he said. "It's not only a two-man show right now."
Maybe not, but without the two-man show aspect, this game isn't all over ESPN.com, and hockey players aren't being linked with Kobe and LeBron. "There are 13 games tonight in the NHL; only one is getting a prime spot on SportsCenter this evening," Puck Daddy also noted. When Pens Coach Dan Bylsma was asked about the individual rivalry, he openly conceded that fact. The video is above; here are his words.
"One of the things hockey has not been great at is identifying their stars, and using their stars for publicity, and putting the game in the forefront and making it a story," he said. "They have that with Sid and Ovi, and they've done that with Sid and Ovi...and that's a great thing for our game. But hockey will be and always will be about the team....Yes, we talk about Ovi, and yes, there's his shot, but there's other guys that make them very dangerous as well....We're gonna be focused on making sure we play a five-man game and not try to make it a head-to-head matchup."
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