Feb 3, 2013, 6:30 AM EDT
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.
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.”
Oct 1, 2014, 11:20 PM EDT
He may begin 2014-15 banged up.
Oct 1, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT
“The next few days will be the turning point,” GM Jim Rutherford said.
Oct 1, 2014, 10:12 PM EDT
The early word is that he’s OK, though.
Oct 1, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
It’s not as foolish as it sounds … maybe.
Oct 1, 2014, 8:45 PM EDT
Worth a try.
Oct 1, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT
According to fellow Swede and Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg.
Oct 1, 2014, 6:38 PM EDT
One last chance for a tune-up.
Oct 1, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
Where he’ll resume coaching duties for KHL Lokomotiv.
Oct 1, 2014, 4:01 PM EDT
Didn’t take advantage of their opportunities.
Oct 1, 2014, 2:46 PM EDT
Sounds like both will start the season at center.
Oct 1, 2014, 2:24 PM EDT
Off to AHL Lake Erie they go.
Oct 1, 2014, 2:10 PM EDT
“We have not been in contact with the IOC and they have not been in touch with us.”
Oct 1, 2014, 2:09 PM EDT
Meaning all of Columbus’ No. 1 line — Jenner, Ryan Johansen and Nathan Horton — is now out of action.
Oct 1, 2014, 1:47 PM EDT
He won’t be ready for the season opener.
Oct 1, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT
Both have one-year, two-way contracts.
Oct 1, 2014, 1:26 PM EDT
And Zack Stortini has been placed on waivers.
Oct 1, 2014, 1:12 PM EDT
“You can tell a guy ‘don’t dive’, but even on our team we’ve seen a few of them.”
Oct 1, 2014, 1:04 PM EDT
Another veteran d-man, Nolan Yonkman, was also released.
Oct 1, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT
“But we’ve talked and we’ll continue to talk about it.”
Oct 1, 2014, 12:35 PM EDT
A rookie head coach, some significant roster turnover and the annual questions in goal.
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