The Crosby Show
Since then I've seen games featuring both players, including tonight's Habs-Pens contest. In my strictly amateur opinion, Crosby is a far better hockey player. Ovechkin has scored some beauties and I like that he throws the occasional hit, but Crosby does so much more. You sit up and take notice when Ovechkin has the puck. While Crosby can, to a lesser extent, bring you out of your seat, he also does all the little things shift after shift.
On his first shift of the game tonight he blew past Markov, Montreal's best defender, for a scoring chance. In the second period on a delayed penalty call, Markov had possession on the Pens' blueline and Crosby forced him to back off all the way to the Habs zone where he stole the puck. This is the Habs' most mobile and best puckhandling defenseman. Then, of course, he scored a beaut for the only goal in the shootout.
Crosby is only three months removed from this 18th birthday. He's still growing, and he's one of the best players in the league. Ovechkin is nearly two years older, but who is more mature?
As for the game tonight, Habs fans have to be disappointed with the team's performance. Pittsburgh lost 5-0 in Atlanta last night, and Montreal was rested. That became apparent as the game wore on and the Habs grew stronger and the Pens lost their legs, despite Souray and Begin leaving the game. Souray took a shot off the foot, and Begin received a major and game misconduct for a huge hit on Maxime Talbot.
Speaking of that hit, Kerry Fraser botched the call. It was called an elbowing major. If Begin's elbow made contact with Talbot's head, it did so while tucked firmly against Begin's side. The hit was "clean," if dangerous. Talbot was crouched, stretching for the puck with his head down when Begin made contact. I understand the league wanting to crack down on headshots, but this was not a deliberate headshot. It's unfortunate that the boxscores will show Begin being assessed with an "attempt to injure" penalty, because he's not that kind of player.
A few points about the TSN broadcast:
- When listing the lineups, the TSN graphic labels the forward lines as "Scoring Line," "Two-way line," "Checking line" and "Energy line." Alas, if only all the NHL teams would arrange their rosters to fit these nice tidy labels. The Habs' so-called two-way line for the evening was centred by Mike Ribeiro, quite possibly the most one-dimensional player in their regular lineup.
- My girlfriend thinks Pierre McGuire and Gord Miller make quite a funny looking pair. One was "the noisy little bald guy," the other was "the guy who looks like his face is reflected in a spoon."
- If I hear Darren DutchOven say "roof daddy" with his idiotic sportscaster's inflection, I'm going to barf. That catchphrase makes no sense at all! Gah!