30
Apr
09

The Kid and The Great

nhl_g_crosby_ovechkin_576

It’s what we’ve been waiting for, or at least what Garry Bettman has been dreaming of since 2005, and thanks to some 3rdperiod heroics by the Carolina Hurricanes and a total collapse by the New York Rangers , we finally have a showdown between Sid the Kid and Alex the Great. Obviously this is a marketing dream for the NHL, having the two most recognizable faces of the NHL since Gretzky and Lemieux, (who never saw each other in the post season) squaring off in a Stanley Cup Playoff series. This has been a rivalry in the making since their respective rookie seasons. And with all great rivalries comes the age old question: Who is the best?

The Loge has had its fair share of debates over which player is better. While they both play very different styles of hockey, on paper they look almost identical. Since their rookie seasons of 2005-2006 Ovechkin has put 420 points on the board with 219 goals and 201 assists, while Crosby has 132 goals, 265 assists for 397 points.  A mere 23 points separates the two, while the differences in goals and assists between them can be attributed to their styles of play. Ovechkin, the flashier of the two, will shoot from anywhere , while Crosby is more of a playmaker. In head to head match-ups  they have faced each other 15 times, Crosby has the edge with a record of 11-4-0 to Ovechkin’s 4-8-3.

While this debate has been going on since their first games in the NHL and will surely continue on long after the Stanley Cup is hoisted this year, there is more to this series than these two individuals.

On the one hand you have the Washington Capitals who are riding high after fighting off elimination 3 times to beat the Rangers in an exciting game 7. On the other hand you have the Pittsburgh Penguins who rallied after a coaching change in late February to finish the season with an impressive 18-3-4 record  and took a gritty series in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal over in-state rival the Philadelphia Flyers.

Both teams also happen to be loaded with talent. Four of the NHL’s top 10 point scorers in 2008-09  and 5 of the top 11 overall playoff point leaders play for these respective teams.

Then there is goaltending. The Washington Capitals made a controversial change after game 1 by benching veteran Jose Theodore and starting rookie Simeon Varlamov.  The change proved to successful as Varlomov put up an impressive 1.17 GAA with two shutouts in 6 games in the Eastern Conference Quarter Finals. For Pittsburg, Marc-Andre Fleury is coming off an impressive series as well. He has a .922 save percentage and has and has carried Pittsburg on his back in a few games. In game 4, Fleury stepped up with a 45-save effort and in game 6 he kept the Penguins in the game and gave them a chance for a big comeback once the team fell into a 3-0 hole. 

 Yes, all eyes will be focused on the Ovechkin Crosby match-up on Saturday afternoon, as they should be, but that won’t be the only show in town come Saturday. As Washington Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau said, “Welcome to the circus.”


20 Responses to “The Kid and The Great”


  1. 1 Julia the Cat
    April 30, 2009 at 10:24 AM

    Solid post patverbeek. I had no idea that former whaler fans could write such in depth posts. Anyways, in my opinion if you look at it from an entire career point of view I think Crosby will be end being up the better player in terms of points and I also think he will be around longer. I think due to Ovechkins style of play injuries will start to creep up at some point and the second half of his career will be shorter and injury plagued. Also, a major part of his game more so than Crosby anyways is his speed which inevitably will slow down at some point. With all that said right now and for the foreseeable future it is hard to argue that any one player is more dominant than Ovechkin. He has also surpassed Crosby as the face of the NHL in my opinion something that just a year ago would have been hard to imagine.

  2. 2 thekiiid
    April 30, 2009 at 11:01 AM

    Just to be clear, Patty Verbeek is not referring to me when he says “The Kid”. He’s referring to a lesser form of hockey player, Sidney Crosby.

  3. April 30, 2009 at 12:09 PM

    Although I think hes a huge D bag, Ovechkin is definitely the better player. Crosby isnt even the best player on his team. Not to take anything away from Backstrom or semin, but the fact that Pitt has another center on their team like Malkin really takes away from an opposing team’s ability to match its best defensemen against crosby at all times. When a team plays Washington they are going to roll their top defensemen out on Ovechkin every chance they get. When you play against Pitt you really dont have that luxury because of Malkin lurking on the next line. Ovechkin not only puts up ridiculous numbers day in and day out, he does it against the opposing team’s best shut down defender. The same cant be said about Crosby. Crosby is a tremendous player, dont get it twisted, but if I could take any player on the Penguins and add him to my club it would without a doubt be Malkin.

    I think the physicality with which ovechkin plays really adds to his game also. You rarely see a player with ovechkin’s level of skill and finesse also be among the league leaders in hits. Crosby’s a nice player, but a bit of a pussy.

    The penguins should take this series in 6. The addition of Guerin gives them tremendous scoring depth and will put them over the top. Lets hope it is a grueling battle and these teams beat the shit out of each other. Should be a B’s Pens final.

  4. 5 patverbeek
    April 30, 2009 at 12:45 PM

    I agree 100% with StringerBell. Crosby is a huge pussy. Although, I don’t think the Penguins are going to take this series. I’ve got Washington in 7 if Varlamov can hold up that long. I think the Caps are to hungry and are rolling after their big win against the Rangers

  5. 6 Coach
    April 30, 2009 at 1:09 PM

    any time you knock off a powerhouse team like the Rangers in the playoffs, you definitely have momentum heading into the next round.

  6. 7 Julia the Cat
    April 30, 2009 at 2:20 PM

    We shall see. As we get deeper into the playoffs tougher players step up and pussys go away even if they are talented players. Look at Kovalov. Granted he scored a couple nice goals this playoffs he always seems to disappear when the play gets more physical. I think Malkin is similar. Crosby on the other hand may look like a bitch out there sometimes especially when he is winning for a call which I wish he would stop and he has cooled it a bit on that front. However, he will not back down from anything. We all know the story about how he wanted to fight Savard but Savard who is a great player but also a bit of a pussy backed down.

  7. 8 commissionerdangle
    April 30, 2009 at 3:42 PM

    Sid reminds me of a certain #6…All the talent in the world but just had trouble putting it all together. Kid could never go into the corners without hesitation. Plus he got hurt a lot.

    Seriously, Ovechkin is better, hands down. The only way Crosby will be regarded as better is if he steps up during the playoffs and leads the Penguins. The NHL wants Crosby to be the face of the NHL but Ovechkin has stepped up and pushed his ugly mug right in front of Crosby with his play, persona and semi-controversies (i.e. goal celebrations, driving 180 mph and almost killing Mike Green in a golf cart)

  8. April 30, 2009 at 4:35 PM

    Julia the Cat, the possibility of injury for either Ovechkin or Crosby is the same. Take Pavel Bure. The kid had unbelievable wheels, could make any defenseman lose his jock on the blue line, and could bury the puck. He was a huge puss-cake and did not play physical at all (mind you a few big hits), yet his career was cut short due to recurring injuries. So i don’t think you can speculate about who will be remembered as the better player on the basis of who may or may not have a higher likelihood of getting injured.

    The one thing I find interesting about Ovechkin is how well he plays within the rules. He takes a lot of cheap shots and questionable hits, yet all he does is look at the number of the back of the guy’s jersey and hits him cleanly later in the game. That says a lot about a guy’s character.

  9. April 30, 2009 at 4:51 PM

    Lets not get too carried away with Sid being a tough guy because he challenged savard. Savy is as big a pussy as they come so challenging him doesnt make you Floyd Patterson all of a sudden.

    Cammi, Celebrating like a jackass and showing up your opponent instead of acting like you’ve done it before says alot about a guys character too.

  10. April 30, 2009 at 9:25 PM

    Stringer, you know what? You’re right. Ovechkin should act like his Russian predecessors and show no emotion at all after scoring. That would make things so much better and so much more enjoyable to watch as a fan. This whole “act like you’ve been there before” attitude is bullshit. What does showing no emotion after you score prove? Nothing. You must be opposed to fighters throwing up their hands after a fight too?

    If anything, Ovechkin’s celebrations just show how much he loves to score and loves the game. The only cele that raises a question about Ovechkin was the stick on fire one. Granted, I think that was a little over the top, personally I would have preferred if he shot the duck or rode his stick, but even so, the guy just scored 50 goals. In today’s NHL, that’s a huge accomplishment. Let the guy enjoy it and let the fans get fired up watching it.

    I do think there’s a line (such as if celes got like the ones in the NFL), but right now, I really don’t see it being crossed. Jump against the glass. Do the windmill. Throw down the Ray Bourque “fist pump.” You scored. You deserve it.

  11. May 1, 2009 at 1:17 AM

    A circus is right … but it could be just what the league needs. Will be a hell of a series though, but I’m not so sure that Varlamov can stand up to Sid and Geno — they’re in an entirely different league than the Rangers’ offence.

    I just hope some of my crazy “predictions” come true — then we’d have a real interesting series!

    http://stevemccutchen.wordpress.com/2009/04/30/round-two-fight/

  12. May 1, 2009 at 9:02 AM

    I’m not saying that he should show no emotion at all. But when you pre plan a choreographed celebration you are disrespecting the game and your opponent. One of the reasons the NHL is special is because it is the only league in all of pro sports that doesn’t have that stupid shit and this asshole is trying to bring it into the league. Dont get it twisted, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a goal with your teammates or pumping your fist, but when you pre plan over the top celebrations it becomes about you and not your team. Just like T.O….look at me everyone. Ovechkin’s celebrations show how much he loves himself, not the game. Comparing a boxer who raised his hands in victory to a pre planned celebration in a team game is laughable. Again, im not against players showing emotion after they score but there is a line in terms of sportsmanship and Ove definitely crosses that line.

  13. May 1, 2009 at 10:05 AM

    First off, I was referencing fighting in hockey not boxing. This is Loge 19 not the MGM Grand.

    When you’re watching the game at home and your team scores, I assume you sit on your couch idly and immediately start thinking about the next face-off at center ice. Personally, I don’t and I’m not even the one who scored the goal. Fist pumps, chest bumps and high fives all around.

    Also, if you want to talk about “showing up your opponent,” I’m pretty sure that when a guy scores from his knees or back, that’s more embarrassing than his little celebration after he nets one. If celebrations hurt your feelings, you need to grow a pair.

    All I’m saying is, when a guy scores, he can do whatever he wants. Celebrate, skate back to the bench, hell swan dive over the blue line. Whatever floats your boat. But you’re on a guy’s case because when he scored his 50th goal, he had a 10 second celebration after? When Gretzky scored 50 goals in 50 games, granted a much larger feat, they gave him a microphone to address the crowd and this was in an opponent’s barn nonetheless. I bet you have a problem with that too.

  14. May 1, 2009 at 10:55 AM

    Cammi, you obviosly have trouble with reading comprehension becasue I’ve said this about 15 fucking times: I dont have a problem with the show of emotion after a goal…however i do think that pre planned celebarations are bush league and there is no place in the game for them. Do you want me to say it in fucking Spanish? The NHL is the only league where pre planned celebrations dont occur. Hockey players have the most class and dignity (in winning and losing) out of anyone in pro sports….I’d like to see that continue.

  15. 16 Julia the Cat
    May 1, 2009 at 11:45 AM

    I actually agree with the StringerBell on this one. pre planned celebrations should not be allowed in the league. Also, earlier on the thread let me clarify. Obviously, anyone can get hurt at any given time. Sid the Kid could get hurt tonight and be done with his career. All I was doing was speculating that Ovechkin because of his style of play has a greater likelihood of getting hurt than Sid the Kid. Scouts do this kind of analysis all the time. Players who are more physical have higher chance of getting injured simple as that.

  16. May 1, 2009 at 12:03 PM

    I think the reading comprehension issue begins with your boxing mulligan. Next week, let’s get to counting. The number two comes after the number one, not fifteen.

    You’re right about one thing: hockey players have more class and dignity in winning and losing than other athletes in pro sports. I’d add that for the most part they also respect their opponents to a far higher degree. Personally, I don’t think a pre-planned 50th goal cele is disrespectful at all. You neglect to realize that was the only time Ovechkin did something out of the ordinary, normally he’ll tackle people or jump against the boards. You think there’s no room for pre-planned. I think once in a while on a special occasion (not with any type of regularity), why not, who’s it hurting? You can’t be so naive to think that every single goal celebration in the NHL is spur of the moment. That one was just a bit more extravagant than most.

  17. May 1, 2009 at 1:25 PM

    Nah actually it doesnt tough guy….we were talking about celebrations in sports and you said “You must be opposed to fighters throwing up their hands after a fight too?” That can very easily be interpreted as a boxer. (I also happen to be as big a boxing fan as i am a hockey fan, and with this weekends fight, i have boxing on my mind too) But whatever. Your argument is dogshit so instead of coming up with a counterpoint you have to act like child and harp on a misinterpretation of a sentence, and my use of hyperbole.

    You basically say that you dont think there should be pre mediated celebrations in hockey, but since it was Ove, and it was his 50th, and it was his first time doing it its ok. But overall you are against it. Save the hypocritical bullshit for somewhere else.

    From his tinted shield, to his purple skate laces, to his stupid ass celebrations, I feel that guy is an egomaniac who obviously loves being the center of attention.
    And the worst thing about his 50th goal celebration was that it was the gayest thing ever. No one even knew what the fuck he was doing. He had to explain it to everyone after the game in the press conference…..that my friends is the epitome of a douche. This isnt the fucking world cup. Cammi I bet you are a huge soccer fan.

  18. May 1, 2009 at 4:29 PM

    Stringer’s all riled up. What’s the matter pal, sand in your vagina?

    Don’t even get me started with not coming up with counterpoints. You’ve been avoiding addressing the issue of a planned cele for a huge accomplishment this entire time. The point I was making about fighting was just an aside to your obvious opposition to any type of thought put into a celebration.

    Also, I want you to do me a favor and read. I never once said that I didn’t approve of pre-planned celebrations. Quick question, even though this is a different sport, what did you think of Wes Welker’s snow angel celebration this past season after he scored a touchdown? I know it’s a different sport, but I thought that was awesome. I’m not pro-celebration or anti-celebration, I just support letting players do what they feel like they want to do. That being said, I don’t think a pre-planned celebration undermines the integrity of the game. The NHL will never be as popular as the NBA or the NFL. That doesn’t bother me one bit. I love the game and always will. But if a few flashy players help garner a little more attention to the game, I’m all for it. I’d much rather have the game gain popularity due to Ovechkin’s showmanship over Sean Avery’s on-ice antics any day of the week. You want to talk about a douche bag, talk about that guy. When he plays hard, he’s a big contributor, but when he hits goalie’s in the back of the head with his stick during a TV timeout, he’s an insult to the game.

    Let me get this straight. You’re all for emotion, but no pre-planned celes. You want to talk about hypocrite, take a look in the mirror pal. What if a guy on the bench says he’s going to do a one-knee fist pump if he scores. That’s pre-planned. Got a problem with that? Maybe you just have a problem with new celes. I completely agree that the “stick on fire” one was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen, but who gives a shit? Who gives a shit if guys make new celebrations? I mean, I don’t remember any guys jumping up against the glass ten years ago. That’s fairly new. Someone thought of that. Now that has become a normal cele. All I’m saying, and I’ve said this from the start, when a guy scores, let him do whatever the hell he wants. Neither you nor I knows what it’s like to score a goal in the NHL, so why don’t we leave this to the guys who play the game.


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