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.