Sports, more often than not, have various narratives that make watching them that much more interesting. Take into consideration Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, in their respected cities they’re both cherished and agonized over.
Between the two of them is about every award one can achieve in professional hockey. They’re the NHL’s version of Superman and Batman. But similarly to Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne, these two couldn’t be anymore different.
June 26th 2004, Alexander Ovechkin is selected first overall by the Washington Capitals. Not too long after the draft, the NHL announces a lockout that cancels the entire 2004-2005 season.
Just over a year later was the infamous lottery draft, in which Pittsburgh won, and in doing so selected Sidney Crosby.
Neither of them knew it just yet, but they inadvertently reignited one of the leagues most vicious rivalries.
In the years that followed, hockey fans from all regions lusted for Crosby and Ovechkin. Their tilts included speed, flying fists, and most importantly goals. It all came to a screeching halt in the form of a game 7. Crosby and company were too much to handle as Ovechkin and the rest of the Capitals were thumped 6-2 at home.
Crosby would go on to win his first, and only, Stanley Cup.
That was seven years ago.
Believe it or not, we’ve gone that long without a playoff match up between two of hockey’s premiere superstars. Whom were most likely over shadowed by the resurgence of the Blackhawks and Kings.
However, with the advent of the new playoff structure, the NHL has ensured division rivals will meet more often. Excellent. After all, the league needs these two to face off, regardless of the outcome.
After a noticeable seven year hiatus, these two vaunted super stars will bash heads once again. This time there is a lot more at stake.
With both Chicago and Los Angeles being eliminated from the playoffs, many believe that this will be the year where an Eastern Conference team will steal a title from the West.
They aren’t wrong in thinking so.
In the last four Stanley Cup Finals either the Kings or Blackhawks have been crowned champions. In fact, you’ll have to go back to 2011 (The Boston Bruins) to find a Cup champion from the Eastern Conference.
Washington and Pittsburgh made significant moves in the offseason to correct disappointing playoff exits from the previous season. Washington excelled all season long, while Pittsburgh stuttered early. It wasn’t until the closing weeks of the season that the league was put on notice, the Penguins came ready to play. Sidney Crosby found his rhythm and never looked back. While Ovechkin was crowned scoring champion yet again.
While everyone will bite their tongue when asked, “is this finally the Capitals year?” One must wonder, if they can knock off Pittsburgh why can’t it be? On the other side of the coin is Crosby, the NHL’s golden boy sits on one Cup title. It would do his superstar status wonders if he could corral another championship.
Whoever emerges victorious earns instant bragging rights until their next meeting. The loser will spent the summer scratching their head wondering what went wrong.
Ovechkin is a man seeking to put to rest two of his biggest demons. One being the Pittsburgh Penguins and secondly, another heartbreaking playoff exit.
Crosby is looking to solidify his place next to hockey’s best and brightest *even Shawn Thornton has two rings*. Having his name etched into Lord Stanley’s hardware a second time will do just that.
Destined for seven games, this series will have it all. Most importantly it will have curb appeal, which the NHL needs the most.
Grab your popcorn and find your favorite seat because having Crosby v. Ovechkin in the playoffs and a significant chance at a title on the line truly doesn’t get better than this.
Happy Hockey Days.