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Ovechkin-Crosby = Magic-Bird?

There were, shockingly, a few questions about the Penguins and Sidney Crosby after Caps practice today. The wise Dan Rosen from asked a few key figures to put the Crosby-Ovechkin rivalry in perspective.

"It's the same in soccer, like when Real Madrid and Barcelona play," said Ovechkin, who also compared the affair to Cavaliers-Lakers. "They play against each other and everybody says 'Wow, this is going to be a sick game,' and they can't wait for it. It's the same."

(No, he didn't compare it to Cavaliers-Wizards. Sad. But the point was more about superstars sharing the court, or ice.)

Then the generation gap came into play. Bruce Boudreau, being an old-school guy, went further back than LeBron-Kobe.

"I mean, it's all sport-to-sport, but at the different levels it's Larry-Magic, Dodgers-Yankees," Bruce Boudreau said. "When we play Pittsburgh, that's all they talk about, is Sid vs. Ovi. When the Red Sox play the Yankees, that's all they talk about, is the greatest rivalry in sports. Individuals, the only one that comes to my mind right off the top is it's like Magic and Bird. Growing up, they were so far out there, [it's hard] to even think that I'm sitting there comparing them to these guys. But that's what it reminds me of."

Boudreau declined to say who was Magic and who was Bird, so I pointed out that he was definitely Pat Riley.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 20, 2010; 12:57 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Magic earned 5 titles and 9 championship appearances during his career.

Hopefully, Ovechkin is Magic.

Posted by: leopard09 | January 20, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

i just can't put it any other way...the caps are great and so is ovechkin, but crosby is a better player, overall. the little sheep is the best pure shot and surprisingly a grinder, but crosby plays the whole ice while making his entire team substantially better.

Posted by: bacaje | January 20, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Heh, Ovie with the soccer analogy FTW!

Posted by: EdTheRed | January 20, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I just occurred to me that what the Caps need to win the Cup is Kurt Rambis.

Posted by: LouLewis | January 20, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Not to Wise all over Ovie's analogy, but it's probably better to use a soccer analogy where one team hasn't actually accomplished anything yet.

Posted by: Section117 | January 20, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin has more points than Crosby, granted it's only 2 points but to dismiss that is a mistake. Ovie has also missed several games due to injury and suspension. The Caps are ahead in the standings too. Another interesting stat is that Ovie is league leader in +/-. To say Crosby is a better player and makes his team better than Ovie flat out is ridiculous. And plays the whole ice? Have you seen Ovechkin play?!

Posted by: cheeter | January 20, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Crosby is not a better player overall. Hockey players are cry babies and that's what Crosby is. He gets hit and runs away. OV hits, hits again, and keeps hitting. But for some reason, people feel that hitting someone is being a dirty player. OV stands up for himself and his teammates, Crosby goes running.

Also, if you're going to rate the best players in the NHL, you need to discount Crosby. Didn't the Pens first Cup run two years ago really start when Crosby got hurt. Then when Geno got hurt, the team went into a funk. OV was out of the line-up last year and the team fell off. This year, they were able to hold it together, but they came together because of OV.

It's OV, Geno, Sedins, Thornton, Gaborik, Kovalchuk, then Crosby when talking about the best players in the NHL.

Posted by: dj1123 | January 20, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"I just occurred to me that what the Caps need to win the Cup is Kurt Rambis."

Jeff Schultz = Kurt Rambis


Posted by: ouvan59 | January 20, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Pre-emptive Yinzer Bashing:

Go back to your own message boards. Leave us good Washingtonians alone.

Thank you.....

Posted by: CF11555 | January 20, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

"i just can't put it any other way...the caps are great and so is ovechkin, but crosby is a better player, overall. the little sheep is the best pure shot and surprisingly a grinder, but crosby plays the whole ice while making his entire team substantially better."

If sid is better over the whole ice then why have considerably more goals been scored when Sid is on the ice than when Ovechkin has (45-28)? If Sid makes so many people around him better why do they have to trade for new guys every year to play with him? The guy who actually makes players around him better is Ovechkin (see Dainus Zubrus and Chris Clark). Until this year Crosby apologists could claim he was a better passer but this year Ovechkin is kicking his tail in assists as well. Sid is two ahead of Ovechkin in goals but has played 9 more games. If Ovechkin scored 2 goals over his next 9 games everybody will be wondering what is wrong with OV. Sorry this one isn't even close. The only thing that Sid has better than Oveckin is apologists. His team's fate is more tied to Malkin than it is Crosby but the Canadian media won't acknowledge that and keeps propping their boy up.

Posted by: ouvan59 | January 20, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

alright, we can take it to stats.

i guess the bottom line is that crosby plays a more valuable position. i wouldn't consider myself a crosby apologist, as i am from washington and consider myself a washington sports fan. i'm just of the opinion that, everything else even, crosby is the best hockey player in the nhl right now and ovechkin is second.

Posted by: bacaje | January 20, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I agree with someone I heard say the more apt Sid-OV rivalry analogy is Beatles v. Rolling Stones in the mid 60s. One is cute and a media/marketing darling. The other is a little ugly, and a little dangerous. And while the Beatles were on top first, a lot of #1 records were in still in store for the Stones. And in the final analysis, I'd rather have spent money to see the Stones, because they were just more interesting and fun to watch.

Posted by: TheLeaver | January 20, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse


Ahh what fun--the Alex the Great vs. Sid the Kid never ending debate of who is better. Neither. They are BOTH great--different positions, different roles, different development, equally important to their respective franchises.

Both players are maturing and changing up their game this season. It is no accident that Crosby's SOG are so much greater and he has focused much more on his goal scoring whereas Ovi is working on his defensive game and looking for that pass rather than just take the shot.

Ovi recently said that (paraphrasing here) although points are great, winning the SC is more important and that is what he wants for this team. Let's just say Ovi is focused on something other than the personal awards. And IMHO given that he has played 8 to 10 games fewer than the other leaders across the board, his total point production thus far is truly amazing.

I agree with the poster who preferred the NHL's Stones to the Beatles. Me too. I prefer our very own gap-toothed Mick Jagger.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 20, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I remember watching Mario Lemieux (and to a lessor extent, Jagr) play back in the day. He was a man among boys. Any observer, hockey expert or total noob, need only watch for a few minutes and notice Lemieux dominating.

I don't see that as much today with Crosby or Ovechkin (or any current NHL player). This is not meant as a knock on Crosby or Ovechkin, but a reflection that the skill level of the NHL has gotten a lot better. Ovechkin and Crosby are moderately better than their peers, but they don't dominate at the level of a Bird/Magic or Lemieux/Gretzky.

Posted by: niceshoes1 | January 20, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

I know I like Ovi way more than Sid. Can anyone imagine The Great 8 asking a ref to have the fans stop cheering somebody else's Hat Trick?

But as to who is "better," let the players, coaches, & analysts decide. When it comes to opinion by secret ballot--that how all that hardware gets chosen---the people who are in the best position to judge, have pretty consistently picked The Russian Machine.

That said, Ovechkin has very publicly stated--and his play seems to support the words--that he'll trade every personal award for a Stanley Cup. Sid--the whiny, stick holding, weak sauce weasel--already has one.

Posted by: Kdarienzo | January 21, 2010 6:06 AM | Report abuse

Well said Kdarlenzo! And you are right, whenever asked Ovi has said on numerous occasions that he wants to win the Stanley Cup. The other personal awards--Hart, Pearson, Richard, Ross--been there, done that. It's time for the Cup.

Should be a great game tonight. Let's Rock the Red at the Igloo.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 21, 2010 7:14 AM | Report abuse

This rivalry continues to get better and better. It's getting up there with Pens-Flyers rivalry. I hope these two teams meet in the playoffs again this year. As for tonite, lets see if the Caps can walk the talk. As for who is better. Stanley Cup wins baby! Crosby 1, Ovechkin 0. Until Ovechkin hoists the cup he will never be in Crosby's league!

Posted by: Pensrock87 | January 21, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

"Jeff Schultz = Kurt Rambis"

Shultz needs some Kurt Rambis glasses!

Posted by: hallmt18 | January 21, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

The problem with the Magic-Bird comparison is that those two players were the dominant NBA players of that era. In hockey, if you look at scoring numbers for Gretzky and Lemieux, they were dominating their sport in Babe Ruthian fashion. A quick glance at today's NHL scoring leaders shows Ovechkin and Crosby trailing or closely followed by players like Henrik Sedin, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Martin Gaborik. The Magic-Bird comparison is a bit of hyperbole.

Posted by: ecostello | January 21, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

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