Here are the five best moments from the Alex Ovechkin versus Sidney Crosby rivalry.
Generational stars are pretty rare in the NHL. Rarely do you see two of them get to face each other on a regular basis. That’s why the rivalry between Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is so special. In the regular season, they’ve faced each other 39 times. Quite impressive once you consider Crosby missed a good portion of two seasons with injuries. Additionally, they’ve squared off 13 times during the postseason, with each game more exciting than the previous one.
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The debate rages on about who’s better. While Sidney Crosby might be the best player in the world, Ovechkin has zero peers as far as goal scoring. Not even Crosby. His ability to score in an era defined by excellent goaltenders is outstanding. And Ovechkin keeps on doing it year after year. At the end of the day, goals win games, so scoring goals is incredibly important.
They will be squaring off for the 40th time on Wednesday. History could be made, as Ovechkin is one point away from 1,000 career points and is tied with Montreal Canadiens legend Maurice Richard in career goals. If their past is any hint of what’s to come, something incredible’s going to happen. Here are five times Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby rocked our world.
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
5. Their Rookie Seasons
Thanks to the 2004-05 lockout, Ovechkin and Crosby both debuted during the 2005-06 season. Immediately, both players proved to be elite players. Ovi had a year of maturity over Crosby and it showed. He won the Calder Trophy after scoring 52 goals and putting up 106 points. Crosby wasn’t too far behind with 102 points. In their first meeting in the NHL, Sid The Kid came out on top with a goal and an assist while Ovechkin got an assist.
We rarely see rookies dominate right off the bat and immediately enter the “best player in the league” conversation. This proves how special both Crosby and Ovechkin are.
OK, this wasn’t an actual hockey fight, but it symbolizes the competitive nature of both Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. Both are such competitive players and absolutely loathe losing. Early in his career, Sid The Kid struggled with this as he learned how to appropriately convey his feelings.
On Feb. 22, 2009 the two rivals nearly got into a fight. Crosby got upset with Ovechkin, so he hit him after the whistle. Ovi, never one to get bullied around, knocked Sid’s helmet off. The referees had to separate the two.
Washington won this game 5-2. Ovechkin got a goal and an assist in this game while Crosby got an assist. It’s the first time the two stars had ever tried to fight each other. Sadly, fans have never seen them punch each other. But if this captain fight ever happened, it would be the best thing ever. This is the closest thing we have. Considering how much more mature both players are now, we might never see a fight between the two. And that’s a darn shame.
Crosby would get his revenge on The Great Eight after this, though. Later on in the postseason, the Penguins eliminated the Capitals on their way to Crosby’s first Stanley Cup.
This has nothing to do with the 2011 Winter Classic. Heck, this game nearly ended the Alex Ovechkin versus Sidney Crosby rivalry prematurely. Sid The Kid got hit hard in the head by David Steckel (and remarkably returned later). A few days later, a head shot by Victor Hedman kept Crosby out of action for a very long time. So let’s pretend it never happened.
But leading up to the 2011 Winter Classic, fans got to see the lighter side of both captains. And everyone loved it. Ovechkin, despite his competitive nature, is a hilarious guy who likes to have fun. Who can’t relate to that? And his way of speaking is comical.
Both Ovechkin and Crosby seemed so much larger than life before their Winter Classic showdown. HBO’s Road To The Winter Classic blew everyone’s mind by reminding us how normal they are. And how much Ovechkin and Crosby respect each other despite being rivals.
On Feb. 7, 2010, the Capitals and Penguins squared off right around the infamous blizzard that hit Washington D.C. Depending on where you lived, if you were in the region, you got anywhere from 15 to 25 inches of snow. Sure, that’s somewhat normal for New York or Minnesota, but not for an area known to close schools for the mere threat of snow.
Despite the storm, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby had a showdown. This came immediately following a community snowball fight at the Washington Monument. The game was absolutely insane. Vince McMahon himself couldn’t have written a better script.
Crosby got off to a hot start, with two early first period goals to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead. Ovechkin answered early in the second period to make it 2-1. However, Jordan Staal scored twice in under 90 seconds to give the Penguins a 4-1 lead. And then Ovechkin took over. Eric Fehr scored late in the second period to make it 4-2. Alex Ovechkin proceeded to score two third period goals to tie it up at four goals a piece. In overtime, The Great Eight got the primary assist on Mike Knuble’s game winner.
Combined, the two stars got five goals and an assist. Two of the best players ever going at it. This writer was there and he couldn’t forget the game even if he tried.
Alex Ovechkin has scored over 500 goals. Sidney Crosby has won two Stanley Cups. However, no game they have played or will play will match what they did on May 4, 2009. The Capitals and Penguins opened their series in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Both captains came out firing and got hat tricks in their first postseason game against each other. Between the two players, they have three hat tricks against each other. Two of them came in this game (the other one being in the previous slide).
However, it was Ovechkin who came out on top. Crosby scored early in the first period to give the Penguins the lead. Ovechkin matched him with a goal of his own early in the second period. Midway through the second period, Crosby got his second goal of the game. At this point, the song “Anything you can do I can do better” started popping in everyone’s head. Ovechkin answered the bell with a third period goal. He later put an exclamation point on his evening with the game winning goal with under five minutes left in the game.
Crosby, however, wasn’t quite done. With under a minute left, he cemented this game in history with his third goal of the night. It’s funny. Ovechkin and Crosby bring out the best in each other. They almost have a Batman and Joker relationship. Sure, Ovechkin and Crosby don’t like each other on the ice. But at the end of the day, they sort of need each other. And the two players have a mutual respect for each other. Appreciate Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby while you can because they won’t be around forever. And who knows when we’ll see another rivalry this terrific.