Today in "things that annoy EP"... Crosby vs. Ovie

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More Crosby vs Ovechkin stuff. I'm getting tired of this, which is why I've gotten around to writing this after three failed attempts.

You'd think that I'd like this stuff. I'm a Habs fan who was a Penguins fan who turned into a Capitals fan. At no point was I ever a big Crosby fan, although I did turn into a huge Ovechkin fan. But honestly, all this stuff is annoying. And it's quite pointless.

I understand why Crosby has turned into public enemy no. 1 for just about everyone who doesn't live in Pittsburgh. He has been hyped and hyped and shoved down our throats since before day one of his NHL career. That type of hype easily drives people batty and there will invariably be a backlash. Maybe because of all the hype and the handling he's gone through, Crosby comes off as having about as much emotion as a cardboard box. He's been told what to do and how to do it for a very long time and it seems as though nothing he says or does is very original. I'm not saying that he's like in that in reality, but he comes off that way. Talented as he may be (and all you Crosby haters, let's face it, he is indeed talented), he's not very fun to watch on most days.

Sadly for Crosby, there so just happens to be a very talented and very flashy Russian who came along at the same time as him. Think of it as a Federer and Nadal thing if you want to compare it to tennis. On the one hand we've got the very talented but boring superstars and on the other, we have the very talented but definitelty not boring superstars. It's a bit of a no brainer as to who everyone will gravitate to. Ovechkin is everything that Crosby isn't in terms of personality. He's this huge ball of emotion that just bursts out. He comes off way more genuine and way less manufactured. When he celebrates his goals or the goals of his teamates, you can't help but get excited for them. You're drawn in. When Ovechkin was told that some people were comparing him to Maurice Richard he said that he just wants to be himself. He's not trying to be anyone else.

So we have two guys who are both incredibly talented. Why on earth do I have to wake up every morning to "Crosby vs Ovie round 1234567865"? Oh wait. I know. It's the big bad hype machine again. The hype machine doesn't allow for two talented guys to inhabit the same league without there being some friction between them. When the Ovechkin/Malkin "feud" went poof, the media had to go and hype up something else to death. Oh hey, why not Crosby and Ovechkin? Now, we can't exactly go blaming the media only. The media is only doing it's job: the sell a story, however stupid, wrong, or unfounded it may be. People enjoy wild and stupid stories.

Ignoring the media hype for a second, I do believe there are a few reasons why the average fan has trouble accepting both of them at the same time. First is that they have vastly different personalities. Because they're so different and they're teams play in such a different way, it's hard to like both of them. Second, is nationality. For Canadians, anyway, I think there's people who feel threatened by Ovechkin and the fact that he's from Europe. It goes to that whole anti-Euro sentiments that I keep complaining about. I'm not sure that we'd be seeing the same type of hype if they were both from the same country. It's possible (they did manage to hype up Ovechkin vs Malkin) but I'm not sure it'd be the same. I think Penguins fans just feel threatened period. Crosby has been hyped up to be the savior of the NHL and of the Pittsburgh Penguins and to suddenly have people accusing him of being boring and whiny while this other guy goes around earning all this praise for being entertaining, isn't too nice.

But really, despite of all that, I still don't get why it has to be one or the other. If you don't like one of them, fine, but why go into a long tirade about the other one? Good natured bashing is fine. But a lot of what I see, isn't good natured in the least. It's often quite (unintentionally) silly and the premises for bashing the other one is often stupid. "Crosby's whiny so therefore he sucks". "Ovechkin shows off so he sucks". That's really not much of an argument and it's not really true. Both are very talented players and both don't really deserve half the bashing that they've gotten. If the hype machines would just go dive off a cliff, I think I could take a lot of it better, but it's very annoying to wake up every morning and see "Crosby thinks Ovie's a showboat" or "Ovie tries to kill Crosby on the ice!" or "Crosby vs Ovie: the feud continues"...Like it or lump it, they're both talented players and they're not going anywhere.


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