Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I Like Sidney Crosby

I like Sidney Crosby. I just want to put that out there because it seems like almost everything I've read today has been "Ovechkin rules, Crosby drools." That drives me crazy to begin with - hey, everybody, it IS possible to have TWO great players in the NHL at the very same time and they're BOTH overhyped - but look, I need something to blog about and Sid works as well as anything.

I'll admit that I could not care less about the diving. He's totally a diver. Whatever. Lots of people are. I missed the second game of THE GREATEST SERIES EVER but I've heard from more than one person that Ovechkin took a couple of pretty nice dives himself. Pretty much every team has a diver and some of them are good players. I'm all for discouraging it but I'm not going to get jacked up about it either.

As for the whining and the boring interviews, I think a lot of that can be chalked up to him being 21. He's 21. Do you remember what you were like when you were 21? I do. I was much more mature at 21 than a lot of people, I think, and there's no way I could do what Crosby is being asked to do at 21. He's been the savior of the league since before he was even in the league. It's not his fault that he's been answering the same questions for 3 years or more. For all the complaining that Ovechkin fans do about Ovechkin not getting that pedestal, not playing that role completely works in his favor. He doesn't have to be conscious of everything he says and does, he doesn't have to carefully parse all his remarks, he doesn't have any of the pressure. He can just be the zany sidekick and people can chuckle and say, "Oh, that crazy Ovie!" And honestly now, Ovechkin has been giving some variant of the same interview for three years too: "Hockey's fun! Where women? :::nearly kills himself or someone else with some sort of moving vehicle:::" Yawn.

I think as Crosby gets older he'll move past some of the pat answers. I think there are already signs of that happening. Rookie year Crosby never would've criticized Ovechkin's goal celebrations. Crosby of Today seems to realize he's in a bit of a no-win with some people (take the high road and say nothing that can be construed as critical? boooo-riiiiing - dare to criticize someone else? whiiiiiiiiiiny). Hopefully that will lead to him saying what's on his mind a little more often.

Other than that, it's just a matter of preference. I think it's amazing that Ovechkin can score from everywhere on the ice but I'm not impressed that he shoots all the time, sometimes when it's not really the best play. I think it's nice that he's so physical but I've seen him pull himself out of position doing that a number of times. In the game I went to in DC, he nailed Paul Gaustad pretty hard but then stood around while Goose got up and calmly recollected the puck. To my admittedly untrained eyes, Crosby's game without the puck is much stronger than Ovechkin's. Yeah, Ovechkin is showier and flashier. I hate that stuff. I like that there's a little bit of rink rat grinder in Crosby's game. Whatever else you wanna say about him, he absolutely burns with a clear desire to win.

When I'm GM of the Sabres and the NHL decides to just throw all the players in a pot and have a huge draft, I certainly would not turn up my nose at Ovechkin. He's very, very good at hockey. I'm perfectly fine with being annoyed by a guy while watching him play for my team. But I'd take Crosby first in a heartbeat.


Lee Andrew said...

I think I like Sid better than Ovechkin but I'm getting tired of hearing about both of them. I keep hearing in their series that these two guys are going to SAVE hockey. But everybody I know hates them because ESPN talks about them too much. Is it possible they'll just turn people away from hockey instead of save it?

I know what you mean about Sidney just being young. Remember Griffey Jr when he started? He had some character flaws and now he's one of the most respected players in baseball. I also remember Sharapova getting a lot of crap early in her career for some immature things. I was like she's SIXTEEN!

Heather B. said...

Lee, I'm glad to hear a casual fan say he thinks both Ovechkin and Crosby are overhyped. Online there seems to be a bit of a battle between the two fanbases on who's getting more attention/credit. I don't think fans of either guy can cry poor in the area of media attention.

Griffey Jr. and Sharapova are good examples but I think Sid's situation was theirs times ten. Not only was he expected to have a great career himself, he was talked up - before he even started playing - as the player who was 1) going to save the Penguins and 2) going to take the NHL to the casual fans of the world. That's a lot to put on an 18-year-old.

I wouldn't say Ovechkin hasn't had ANY pressure but I don't think he's had as much put on him as Sid. He was also supposed to be great out of the gate and he has transformed the Caps franchise and the DC hockey market but I just feel like there was a lot less hype on a NHL-wide level about him being the person who was going to do those things. Again, the NHL not dumping all their hopes and expectations on Ovechkin worked in his favor because he was allowed to grow into the role as NHL ambassador in a spotlight that was much less bright than Sid's.

I dunno. Just my opinion.

Vanek's Hair said...

I have mixed emotions about the Crosby v. Ovechkin battle. I am totally, in an almost scary way, a fan of Ovechkin. I love that he shoots all the time, I love the flair and pizazz in his game. That is my personality, I have a collection of silk pastel shirts.

I also like Crosby. Both players are great for hockey. Hockey needs this rivalry, much in the same way Magic v. Bird saved the NBA, which had been showing the Finals on tape delay. Magic was the flashy, LA guy. Bird was the "Hick from French Lick" and was the hard working, hustling player. Crosby is the perfect foil for Ovechkin, or vice versa. Crosby is the fundamentally sound, distributer, buttoned up Canadian player. Ovechkin is the brash, puck hogging Russian.

The negative is that sometime next week, one player will be gone, as will all of the casual interest in hockey. Ovechkin or Crosby v. whomever is remaining has no appeal beyond the purest of hockey fan. It is a problem the league needs to be aware, if not directly address. Sports, like every other entertainment outlet, need star power.

Ebscer said...

Crosby is a diver. I would take Ovechkin over Crosby for the same reason I would take Gaustad over Roy.

Mark B said...

Ovechkin over Crosby in a heart beat. I wouldn't turn down Crosby if he suddenly came available to Buffalo of course, but he just rubs me the wrong way. He *is* a whiner and I can't stand him.

But I'm more and more getting into Ovechkin. Like VH, I love that he shoots all the time. We could use a few Sabres to do that.

Anne said...

I'd love to give a pithy response but all my pith and insight is saved for my final papers but my simpleton response is:

I agree. I've always liked Crosby. I've also always liked Ovechkin. Why choose between the two? Its like choosing between pecan pie and chocolate covered almonds (my two favorite sweets) why choose? Let's just enjoy both. They're not exactly the same but they're both extremely tasty.

Heather B. said...

That is my personality, I have a collection of silk pastel shirts.I have a sneaking suspicion that I might hate you in real life, VH :P

It is a problem the league needs to be aware, if not directly address. Sports, like every other entertainment outlet, need star power.Agreed. I could go off on this for a while but I think the league is full of talented players with engaging personalities and the NHL has done a terrible job of marketing anyone beyond Crosby and Ovechkin to the casual viewership. I get that they're the easiest to latch onto for a number of reasons but come on.

Anonymous said...

I simply have no preference. They both suck.


Okay. Seriously....

Ovechikin had "it" until the audacious celebration in Tampa Bay. One could have hoped the dude had an idea of class before that crap.

Crosby is a punk. Been on record saying that. He takes dives, he takes lates shots.... he's a punk.


One thing I'm also on record about is saying I think he may mature.

One that one slim thing - I'll agree with you Heather.


TheSharpie said...

"I think the league is full of talented players with engaging personalities and the NHL has done a terrible job of marketing anyone beyond Crosby and Ovechkin to the casual viewership."Very well put. I think I can count on one hand the number of western conference star players with which I'm vaguely familiar outside of former Buffalo players. Some of them are very talented, but they don't get the attention and then Gary Bettman and the NHL wonder why people don't pay any attention to hockey. The overly scripted commentators on Versus and NBC only add to this problem.

Lee Andrew said...

It still shocks me that pro sports and the media haven't realized yet there is a backlash toward overexposed athletes and that the NHL can't get popular due to hyping two players all the time.

Look at the NBA. Sure it's Lebron this and Lebron that all day, all night. But there's also Shaq, Kobe, Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Allen Iverson, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker. All of these players sell a ton of merchandise and not just to their home fans.

If the NHL wants to be popular then try hyping your top 10 or 15 players, especially goalies, goalies are awesome and I'm not sure the average sports fan can name one.

Vanek's Hair said...

I agree that the NHL has a ton of marketable players beyond Crosby and Ovechkin. Iginla, LeCavalier, Kane, the list goes on. The biggest problem, and difference between the NBA or NFL is on ice/field production. If I tell someone to watch the Orlando Magic tonight because of Dwight Howard, almost assuredly, he will score 20+ and grab 15+ rebounds and will easily standout. If I tell someone to watch Peyton Manning, Manning will also deliver TD passes. The NHL, on the contrary, I can tell someone to watch Calgary, and Iginla could be suffocated (and likely will be) by overly defensive hockey and could play a good game to a trained eye, but a casual fan won't notice him standing out.