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NHL on NBC: Penguins and Capitals renew rivalry

Feb 3, 2013, 6:30 AM EDT

Pittsburgh Penguins v Washington Capitals - Game Seven Getty Images

The National Hockey League lockout is a distant memory. Easy to forget when the Pittsburgh Penguins face off against the Washington Capitals Sunday – also the first meeting of this young season between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin

Crosby, 25, and Ovechkin, 27, emerged as the rookie stars everyone expected and hoped for following the 2004-05 lockout.

Long has the debate been which of the two superstars would you rather have on your team, and why?

Naturally, this ignited a rivalry between the two players which is always front and center when these two teams meet.

The Capitals have struggled under new head coach Adam Oates. They are just 2-5-1, and 14th in the Eastern Conference.

They will also be without defenseman John Erskine, who on Saturday received a three-game suspension from the NHL for an elbow on Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds on Friday.

Perhaps this is the game the Capitals need to get back to their previous regular season form, which helped them collect four consecutive Southeast Division banners prior to 2012.

“Pittsburgh — you can’t help but get up for that game. It seems like the whole city gets excited when you play Pittsburgh,” Jason Chimera told the Washington Post. “If you don’t get up for these games there’s something wrong.”

The Capital that has struggled the most early on is the aforementioned Ovechkin.

He has just two goals and three points in eight games, while his fellow countryman and last year’s Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin is up to 10 points – the same as Crosby.

“He has pure goal-scoring ability, but his passing ability is also phenomenal,” Penguins forward James Neal told NHL.com.

“The ability to go around defenders and hit a guy [with a pass] that you don’t think he can see is something I found out pretty quick playing with him.”

  1. steeltownpride87 - Feb 3, 2013 at 7:46 AM

    Can’t wait !!!!!!!! Let’s go Pens . Wish i had a ticket to this game .

  2. steelers88 - Feb 3, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    I really don’t think it’s much of a debate anymore. Its Crosby all the way!

  3. rockthered1286 - Feb 3, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    While I can concede that the Caps have slowly unraveled and fell apart, I refuse to admit that 8 is not a great player. Cindy has Malkin, a top 5 in the league, along with some other great talent surrounding him. Same line or not, teams have to plan around several strong lines. Against the Caps teams can put their top D guys on Ovi and not have to worry about anything past that as this team has ZERO depth on offense. The lack of D is killing the Caps too. Too many odd man rushes leading to goals. Too many turnovers in neutral ice from crap passes… It’s gonna be a long season in the district.

    • steeltownpride87 - Feb 3, 2013 at 9:05 AM

      If you are going to use Cindy instead of Sidney it shows how much it bothers you already . So its the Penguins and Crosby and Malkins fault that George Mcvee cant put together a competent team about Ovi ? Its Shero’s fault that he knows how to draft and has a good eye for talent ? lol . Ovi is a good player . He isnt the same great 8 that he was once labeled . He had one move and the league figured him out . Its why Crosby is better . For one Crosby makes his teammates better . 2 reason is Alex lacks the resources to adjust his game to make him more of a force in the league . Ovechkin is a one trick pony . Crosby isnt . Case closed .

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Feb 3, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      8 is not a great player, and never will be. The sooner the Caps fans get their heads around that fact the sooner the organization can move him. Just take a look at what both men have won thus far in their careers and you’ll quickly see that 8 is a flashy player while 87 is a whole fine tuned hockey player. You should all just appreciate 87 for the talent he has because every game HE plays we get to see greatness. No one else in the game has developed his skill be to become the best all around player.

  4. capsfan19 - Feb 3, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    Lets go caps! We’ve just been waiting for this team to come to town

    • 19to77 - Feb 3, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      Man, judging by your record, you should have been waiting for Columbus and Florida. At least the Caps can hope for wins against them. =/

    • brela1012814 - Feb 3, 2013 at 3:25 PM

      Looks like you got your wish lol

  5. charlutes - Feb 3, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    Booooooring. Both teams suck, both players are divas.

  6. c0sm0b0z0 - Feb 3, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    Should be a good game. unfortunately its on NBC. I wish somebody would tell them it doesnt take 3 people to call a hockey game.

    • letsgopens8771 - Feb 3, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      Precisely. Nobody on NBC likes the Penguins. The only guy I like is Doc Emrick. They are all Penguin haters:

      1. Mad Mike Milbury, one of hockey’s worst GMs who squeals out of his ass all the time
      2. Pierre McGuire, who looks like Professor Bunsen Honeydew from the Muppets, who is mad that he wasn’t a great coach in Pittsburgh
      3. Keith Jones, an ex-Islander/Capital hack
      4. Brian Engblom who sucked in the NHL
      5. And my least favorite, Eddy Olczyk, also known as Spedzo, who also was an awful Penguins coach and just learned how to count to 6 in the 2009 Stanley Cup Final (asshole had his stupid telestrator out and kept whining about the Penguins having too many men on the ice, boo hoo.)

      charlutes, you obviously do not know good hockey games when you see them. What more do you want? Even though you for some reason think that both players are prettyboys, they are still damn good hockey players.

      Anyways, it should be a good one because both teams have their moments. I always love to see a good clash of the Titans, Crosby vs. Ovechkin and Malkin vs. Backstrom. It used to be Malkin vs. Semin, but Ovi is missing his fellow Russian but buddy, so I think that is part of the reason why his production has gone down. However, he is still as lethal as ever on the Powerplay, which is where he has scored both of his goals this season so far. That will be the test for the smokin’ hot Penguins penalty kill. I think the season series was split last season with The Pens winning one at home and one in Washington, and likewise for the Caps. Should be very interesting.

      GO PENS!!!

      • sjsblitz - Feb 3, 2013 at 11:55 AM

        You forgot that annoying twit Jeremy Roenick, most annoying person to hear speak. 3/4 he’s only talking about his crap career. Salutes to Doc all around

      • hockeywithdrawal - Feb 3, 2013 at 1:10 PM

        The fact that Milbury is even involved with NBC shows that NBC has no idea what they are doing as far as the NHL goes. I honestly can’t stand listening to him. I turn the sound off and put Lang on.

  7. sjsblitz - Feb 3, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    Its more Giroux-Crosby now. Ovi needs to do some soul searching for awhile before he can make his comeback. Maybe thats why he debated on KHL?

    • hockeywithdrawal - Feb 3, 2013 at 1:11 PM

      yeah Giroux’s really ripping it up.

    • hockeywithdrawal - Feb 3, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      If there is a competition in this league, Stamkos’ name needs mentioned. What more does that kid need to do. And what has Giroux done, really?

  8. steelers88 - Feb 3, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Sid, please don’t hit your head.

  9. steelers88 - Feb 3, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    “Is Joe Flacco elite?” I AM WATCHING HOCKEY AND NOT 75 HOURS OF SUPERBOWL PREGAME FOR A REASON!

  10. misterchainbluelightning - Feb 3, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    What rivalry?
    One has been a winner and contender for 5 years or more while the other is a complete failure

  11. dkphilly1122 - Feb 3, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Pierre McGuire isn’t a Penguin hater……he is obsessed with the Pens on the broadcasts I watch. He isn’t sure who’s genitals he wants first, Crosby or Malkins…….and as far as the Ovi debate…..I use to love Ovi, but he isn’t even top 10 in the league anymore. While I can’t stand the Penguins, Crosby and Malkin definitely are top 3 players with Stammer and Giroux behind. You’s can debate about Giroux all you’s went, he earned his name up there last year and in the Playoffs. He is off to a slow start this year, but he doesn’t have Hartnell like Malkin has Neal and the rest of them top stars have other key guys on there lines. I can give credit to good players, on rivals or not.

  12. ironman721 - Feb 3, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    dkphilly brings up some valid points. NBC doesn’t hate any players. They can’t because they need to promote star players like Crosby, Malkin, Stamkos, and Giroux. Just like the TV networks promoted Jordan, Kobe, and now Lebron for the NBA. Madden did it for Favre and CBS does it for Brady and other qb’s. It’s good for the game and it makes the names household names for people who are not hockey fanatics. Which gains popularity and brings in sponsership $$ to a sport that really needs good publicity after 2 very negative lockouts. I’m a pens fan and hate the Flyers but Giroux is a top 5 player but injuries to teammates can kill a stars production. I can’t say the same for Ovi. He is just not a dominant player at this time. He still has a big name but just doesn’t look like the same guy. NBC still has to promote him and Crosby and other stars because the NHL and the sponsors demand them to. Promote the product “marketing 101″. It’s all about making 💰. Lots and lots of 💵!

    • letsgopens8771 - Feb 3, 2013 at 5:07 PM

      Cool signs, man.

  13. steelers88 - Feb 3, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    This is my first time watching the Caps this year and I was shocked. Have the Caps slid this far back? In the season of 2009/2010 the Caps won the president trophy.

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