Dec 31, 2010, 9:00 AM EST
When people think of Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, two wildly disparate images come to mind. One is of the handsome, bland choir boy who speaks in cliches whether he just won the Cup or scored a gold medal winning goal. Some say the other guy looks like a caveman, parties like a Russian hockey playing Keith Richards and shoots fire balls at goalies like he’s Ken from Street Fighter II.*
Of course, a lot of those two descriptions are based on broad media brushstrokes founded on scant encounters and public appearances. Some might say that modern athletes keep the media (and the public) at arm’s length, but that description isn’t sufficient. After all, to be at arm’s length requires you to be in the same room as another person. Very few media types have gotten that close to Crosby and Ovechkin for any reasonable duration of time.
That’s why HBO’s unprecedented access during its 24/7 series has been so illuminating, yet the brief glimpses ultimately only give us more questions. Now I cannot claim intimate knowledge just because I own an HBO subscription, but allow me to quickly study a few ways the two players break their often self-imposed stereotypes.
Sidney Crosby: One of the boys?
Remember when everyone thought Tiger Woods was practically a golf ball launching robot who only seemed like he wanted to chase Jack Nicklaus on the courses … yet now it seems apparent he was chasing Wilt Chamberlain too? Well, I don’t think that Crosby has the same Batman/Bruce Wayne double life as Woods, but he has more personality than expected.
Now, he still can be as bland as a rice cake at times, but I think HBO revealed that Crosby fits in pretty well with his teammates and displays some sense of humor. There were great moments during the team’s plane trips in which Crosby was playing PSP games with his teammates and cutting it up, but one of the most interesting moments involved him discussing his much-ridiculed fight with Matt Niskanen.
Does this mean that Crosby might be a party animal, deep down? No, I doubt that. Instead I think he’s a pretty normal guy whose blind devotion to hockey means that he won’t be caught with Russian (or Canadian) co-eds left and right like the Magic Johnson to his Larry Bird.
(Or does Crosby=Magic and Ovechkin=Bird instead? We could debate that for ages – and I would enjoy that.)
Alex Ovechkin: momma’s boy?
Conversely, the image attached to Ovechkin is that of a party animal who lavishes himself with fast women and fast cars. While that persona might be an element of Ovechkin’s personality, it doesn’t provide the whole picture.
There’s one thing about both Crosby and Ovechkin that people forget because of their absurd success and talents: they’re both still kids. Crosby is only 23 years old and Ovechkin is 25. If they remain healthy, each player should have at least 10 more years to write their career narratives.
HBO revealed just how much of a kid Ovechkin can be by showing him at home, eating his parents’ food and playing video games. Now, some noted that his parents aren’t always there, but this clip illustrates the fact that he isn’t just a wild millionaire athlete but also a young adult still growing up. This makes him just like his rival, a person who can still reasonably be called “Sid the Kid.”
* – My memory/actual knowledge of Capcom’s fighting game mythology is hazy, but I believe that Ken was more of a party animal than Ryu. If nothing else, he had blond hair and seemed more stylish in his red dogi.
Dec 7, 2013, 12:15 AM EST
Jean-Sebastien Giguere remains undefeated.
Dec 6, 2013, 11:59 PM EST
Watch the video to decide for yourself.
Dec 6, 2013, 11:10 PM EST
Blackhawks have now lost three in a row.
Dec 6, 2013, 10:36 PM EST
Tough two days for San Jose.
Dec 6, 2013, 10:15 PM EST
Next summer, they’ll be talking about shrinking goalie sweaters.
Dec 6, 2013, 9:58 PM EST
Phoenix goes to Vancouver shorthanded.
Dec 6, 2013, 9:41 PM EST
Columbus dominated Minnesota 4-0 on Friday.
Dec 6, 2013, 9:02 PM EST
Recalled forward Zach Boychuk played Friday.
Dec 6, 2013, 8:28 PM EST
After 15 seasons and two Stanley Cup victories.
Dec 6, 2013, 7:55 PM EST
Worse yet, another high Tampa Bay draft pick delivered the blow.
Dec 6, 2013, 7:35 PM EST
According to Fox Sports Detroit.
Dec 6, 2013, 7:05 PM EST
Damaged defense in Dallas.
Dec 6, 2013, 6:31 PM EST
Meanwhile, Bryan Bickell might resume skating next week.
Dec 6, 2013, 5:45 PM EST
A roster shuffle is expected.
Dec 6, 2013, 5:13 PM EST
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane like where this is going.
Dec 6, 2013, 4:28 PM EST
In which we ask the question, does Team Canada need a player like Milan Lucic?
Dec 6, 2013, 3:37 PM EST
Tough break for the Swedish defenseman.
Dec 6, 2013, 3:00 PM EST
“I’m sure after a little while I won’t even notice it.”
Dec 6, 2013, 2:47 PM EST
Veteran defenseman enjoyed his best years in Colorado.
Dec 6, 2013, 2:36 PM EST
Boston blueliner was hurt vs. Montreal last night.
- Report: Salary cap ‘may be around’ $70 million next season 13
- TGIF: Five NHL games to watch this weekend 3
- Report: Laviolette a candidate to replace Capuano 19
- Sharks say Fleury was ‘shaky’ and ‘fighting it’ in 44-save victory 52
- Boychuk boarded by Pacioretty, taken off on stretcher (Update: has movement in extremities) 57
- Seguin (concussion) cleared to play tonight 0
- Bylsma: Sharks are NHL’s best, ‘with all due respect to Chicago’ 89
- Will the Rangers use a compliance buyout on Richards? 10
- Malkin (lower body) to miss tonight’s game versus Sharks 20
- Flyers’ Couturier: ‘We’re starting to believe in ourselves’ 60
- Bylsma: Sharks are NHL’s best, ‘with all due respect to Chicago’ (89)
- Flyers’ Couturier: ‘We’re starting to believe in ourselves’ (60)
- Boychuk boarded by Pacioretty, taken off on stretcher (Update: has movement in extremities) (57)
- Lehtonen shines, Roussel agitates as Stars beat ‘Hawks (53)
- Video: Canucks’ Bieksa fights Rangers’ Boyle, then kicks Boyle’s helmet (52)