Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Crosby/Ovechkin debate continues

There's a good piece today on Alex Ovechkin from The Globe and Mail's general columnist, Roy MacGregor, and he reiterates a familiar refrain with regards to the young Russian phenom and his Canadian counterpart Sidney Crosby...

Ovechkin's more exciting, a hyper-charged whiz kid — which makes him, without a doubt, the player you should be tuned into when he's in town. (By inference, Crosby is dull and uninteresting, the quintessential bland Canadian hockey star who, ho-hum, is leading the league in scoring as a teenager.)

But the thing I've found with my own hockey-watching habits, and especially so this season, is that when a Capitals and Penguins game are lined-up against one another, I'm clicking Centre Ice over to keep an eye on Crosby.

While he's perhaps not as overtly dynamic as Ovechkin — a trait one friend remarked to me today that was "like a bull in a china shop" — Crosby offers a glimpse of something altogether different, a look at a player who can map the ice surface and its participants in his mind and manipulate the set pieces seemingly at will. He makes his teammates better and more prolific than Ovechkin ever will and has an uncanny understanding of what's unfolding on the ice and how best to act as a result of that.

And while Ovechkin is an unbelievable talent, one who will join the pantheon of hockey heroes the likes of Pavel Bure and Brett Hull, I get the feeling when watching Crosby that, just maybe, we're finally seeing that once-in-a-generation star that the NHL hasn't had since the Gretzky/Lemieux tandem of the 80s and early 90s.

And while Crosby doesn't play like he's "running away from an angry dog," you get the feeling that's only because he doesn't have to.

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12 Comments:

At 9:16 PM, January 18, 2007, Blogger Greg Gaz said...

You hit the nail on the head. At this moment, I have the Boston/Pittsburgh tilt on, as opposed to the Carolina/Washington match-up. I cannot add much, as you have detailed my own thinking. I enjoying watching both players, but if I was building a team, I would have to take Crosby over Ovechkin.

 
At 9:51 PM, January 18, 2007, Anonymous snafu said...

The constant AO v. Crosby comparisons are tiresome. If I were building a team, I'd be very, very happy to take either player!

And why do people always compare just these two players to each other?

 
At 11:09 PM, January 18, 2007, Blogger Jes Gőlbez said...

About time Crosby gets some respect around here.

 
At 3:47 AM, January 19, 2007, Anonymous Julian said...

AO will always get more attention because he's flashier, he's easier for the casual fan to understand. You can see obviously what makes him great. Crosby is more subtle, so it's harder to show just why he's great to the guy who doesnt' quite understand hockey.

 
At 12:24 PM, January 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who would you rather have Gretzky or Messier? Jari Kurri or Cam Neely? That's the distinction betwenn Darryl and Ovie. One elevates thes play of his linemates and is a star in his own right, the other creates his own magic and his teammates feed off of his energy. You can't go wrong with either one.

Crosby does all the little things and sees the ice well filling in all the holes. Clearly superior vision. Ovechkin knows what he wants to do and makes it happen out of skill and determniation.

 
At 12:24 PM, January 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He makes his teammates better and more prolific than Ovechkin ever will

Pens:
Signed big-name free agents Sergei Gonchar, John LeClair and Zigmund Palffy, and traded for goaltender Jocelyn Thibault from the Chicago Blackhawks.
John LeClair - retired
Eddie Olczyk - fired
Zigmund Palffy - gone

Just give me one player Crosby has made better.
Crosby is lucky because he has Malkin who was considered by many a better player than Ovechkin. Malkin makes Crosby better, not vise versa.

Ovechkin:
One big name Olaf Kolzig to start with.
Zubrus, Clark are having the best times of their career playing with Ovechkin.
Kolzig shed 10 pounds this summer and he is improving because he sees the light which is Ovechkin.
Ovechkin for Kolzig is the only hope to get a SC ring at the end of his career.

And if you guys want subtleness, watch Nick Lidstrom, he is very subtle. However people prefer to watch guys who score.

Ovechkin can score and can assist. Hopefully he can finish ahead of Sid in both to silence everyone. He already had done it last year.

No question Crosby is good. Ovechkin's better.

 
At 12:54 PM, January 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crosby uses his teammates better, doesn't make them better. Ovechkin gives his teammates room to play better because he captures so much of the other teams focus.

Saw Pronger match OVIE for an entire game even when he switched wings. If you have a former MVP switching his game to match yours that says something!

 
At 12:57 PM, January 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love Alex's style of play, a joy to watch and a favorite.Must see in person. Not crazy about the Kids whining (much like pre-Cup winning G-One), but he'll learn. Even thought Alex was Calder winner last year. However, Iif I were building a team, I'd take Crosby and his ability to use the entire ice surface. Then again I preferred Trottier to Bossy.

 
At 1:31 PM, January 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alex the Gr8 is a more complete hockey player. He's making Zubrus and Clark improve on their career years again this year. When you say Crosby "makes his teammates better and more prolific than Ovechkin ever will", you're not taking this fact into account. Goals are what matter, and we're lucky to have them both.

 
At 2:07 PM, January 19, 2007, Anonymous MrSifter said...

Does it matter? Both are already great players, and will hopefully be even better. Which one you prefer is just a matter of taste. To me, Oveckin is just raw power, and Crosby is pure art, which one i prefer? pick one...

 
At 2:11 PM, January 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alex the Gr8 is complete in a different way the Sid the Kid. He has a physical aspect that Crosby doesn't bring. What Crosby has is better vision when using his linemates. Ovie has a singular vision that drives him to the net, yet sometimes it looks like he has blinders on. This year Ovie has improved his use of wingers, but not to the extent Crosby has. What it comes down to is they are different styles completely and every team would prefer to have one of each type.

 
At 4:42 PM, January 19, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they're the two best talents in the league. And it's hard to say who's better because they play such different styles. If they were in a dog show, they'd both be Best in Breed, one for flashy power forward, the other for steady center. I can see the Best in Show edge going to Ovie because of Crosby's face off deficiencies. And I can see the edge going to Crosby because of Ovechkin's defensive dips (arguable).

I go with Crosby. Because he plays in a much more high pressure situation as savior of the league and Pittsburgh.

 

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