Tretiak: Ovechkin More Canadian Than Crosby

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Leading up to tonight’s über fascinating square off in Vancouver between Team Canada and Team Russia, a lot of folks have been highlighting the Sydney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin angle. We all know the backstory between them from the NHL, the hotly contested playoff series, the war of words, the general testiness that neither of them avoid. To quote one of my favorite bands, “No Love Lost”.

While we here at HGW realize there’s a whole lot more to this game than a two-man mini drama, it’s also an aspect we’d be stupid to ignore because it is so interesting to watch. Ovechkin’s personality alone makes it so.

With that in mind, here’s my favorite quote on the matter, comments from Vladimir Tretiak, goaltending legend and current GM of the Russian Olympic team, happily fanning the flames of the rivalry between the young stars.

In terms of style, Crosby is a more European player than Ovechkin. And Ovechkin is more North American … Ovechkin resembles Lindros when he’s playing. He’s trying to check and it’s not the pure Russian style. Gretzky never used to play like this.

Now, I happen to think this is very, very true and those of you who know what HGW is all about will understand why this leads us to believe that Ovechkin is the superior player, the more entertaining to watch and, ultimately, the bigger impact on his team. He’s more of a leader, more of a force on the ice.

A good example from a recent Bruins game (that I show because the clip I really want to pimp, Ovechkin destroying Jaromir Jagr with agreat open-ice hit in that Russia-Czech game earlier in the tourney, apparently has some copyright issues on Youtube). Here’s Alex responding to some physical play from the B’s Johnny Boychuck.

That’s it, folks. In a nutshell.

I know Crosby has had his moments and even dropped the gloves a few times but let’s be honest. He’s not repeatedly pounding on your sixth defenseman during a road game in early February with that sort of zeal. That’s the fire, in my mind, that separates the two.

Tonight, on the biggest global stage imaginable, we’ll see if it makes the difference.

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