Monday, February 23, 2009

Trash Talk To A New Level Between Foes

The Sunday afternoon affair was anything but cordial. It started even before the drop of the puck when Alex Ovechkin was getting ribbed from the Penguin bench during the Pierre McGuire interview at the top of the telecast. It continued until it was certain the 5-2 score would hold up for the Washington Capitals and they go on to win the season series between the two for just the second time in 14 seasons (3-0, the two teams meet for the last time on March 8th).

It might have been the sabbath, but the skaters were anything but Sunday schoolers with all the mouthing off at one another. All the talk seemed to be centered at Sidney Crosby and Ovechkin. Both of whom where riddled with jabs from the benches as they skated by. Then that led to late hits, stick jabs and eventually an encounter in front of the Capital bench where the two had to be separated.

The snide remarks didn't slip past McGuire who was planted between both the benches and was aware of everything going on. As Crosby would skate back to his bench, he would deposit his mouth piece into his glove and jaw at the bench. "Crosby just told [Brooks Laich] that he better look out next time he is on the ice," Pierre would scream into his mic during the broadcast.

"He started it," Caps' bench boss Bruce Boudreau laughed when reporters asked him about Crosby's chirping during the game. "Sidney was jawing at everybody. Every time he would come off, you see him talking to our bench and our bench talking to him."

The Capitals for awhile have tried to find a way to get under the skin of Crosby and the Penguins. It appears to be working. It is also for good reason too, Pittsburgh has always had the upper hand on the lowly Caps since Sid's inception to the NHL. Crosby didn't mind all the talk about Ovechkin when the Penguins were beating them handily every time they played one another.

Now it is a different team, a different season. The Penguins are fighting for life in the playoffs and the Caps are trying to track down the Bruins and accumulate as many points as they can. It wasn't too long ago that those roles were switched. Crosby enjoyed all the success, Ovechkin was on a struggling team and maybe, in some weird way, that was how Crosby always thought it was going to be between the two.

"We are growing up as a team," Ovechkin said as he talked about the change in tide in the Penguin/Capital rivalry. "We played well on the power play, penalty kill. We just didn't give them any chance [today]."

Crosby had been harboring grudges against Ovechkin. He still does. Those grudges are now defining Sidney Crosby's play during these games. He seems too bent on teaching Ovi a lesson or tries to be a more physical player than Ovechkin or a plethora of other nonsense he seems to be doing on the ice instead of playing. The Caps will take it. While Crosby throws a tantrum, the Caps are throwing pucks past him into the Penguins' net.

Instead of a deflating loss for the Penguins, Crosby would rather talk about Ovechkin's questionable style of play. "I was just skating to the bench and he pushed me from behind," Crosby told reporters after the game. "So, I just gave him a shot back. That's hockey, and he likes to run around these days, so that was it."

"Like it or lump it, that's what he does," Crosby continued. "Some people like it, some people don't. Personally, I don't like it."

The Caps don't mind the rough talk from the Kid, for them they seemed to have their eyes on a bigger prize. "We always want to beat those guys. We might face them down the road in the playoffs so we want to put in their minds that they can't beat us," Caps' enforcer Donald Brashear said. "That's the spirit you've got to have and you've got to have the killer instinct. If it were us that was down there, I'm sure they would want to push us out of the way and we are just trying to do the same thing."

NHL Notes
  • Unfriendly Florida foray! The Boston Bruins may have had more beech on the mind instead of hockey as they took the Florida road swing. Not only beat by the Florida Panthers (geez these guys are playing good), but lost in the waning moments of the game to Tampa Bay (wait, what?). The Capitals now jump to just nine points away from the Eastern Conference leaders, and if they won against Colorado it would have been just a 7 point lead. Ahh, the games you wish you would have had.

  • Scotty Gomez is none too liked in western New York these days. After tangling up with Sabre netminder Ryan Miller, Miller left the game with a high ankle sprain and is questionable for the rest of the season. It couldn't have happened at a more terrible time for Buffalo as they are trying to hold on to a play off spot.

  • The Washington Capitals have been named in numerous trade rumors. Talk of the Caps working on getting some experience on the blue line has several defensemen on a short list for what the Caps need. But talk of goaltender has all but dropped off the radar for the Capitals as Jose Theodore's play in the second half of the season seems to appease management.


Mark Bonatucci said...


Not sure what you mean when you say "Instead of a deflating loss for the Penguins, Crosby would rather talk about Ovechkin's questionable style of play." To me there is nothing "questionable about Ovie's style of play it's the best in the world and most exciting to watch in the game today. Second is Malkin's .. Crosby comes in significantly lower than the top five to me as far as a great style of play..he is in the top 10 but his whinning has to stop, and his cheap shots - hitting guys from behind and punching their jock cups in fights, are really low class too. ;->


Garrett said...

I don't think Ovi's play is questionable, Crosby does. And after watching the replay of the game on the NHL Network yesterday I counted at least ten cross checks by Crosby that were never called. Include a barrage of crosschecks on John Erskine in front of the Caps net. If you need proof, NBC's star cam caught it all. It's about 2:10 into the video you will see Crosby's handy work.