â†µâ‡¥The gulf between Ovechkin and every other player in the league is growing wider by the day. Even if Ovechkin may not be the most talented, or the best skater, he is by the far the most compelling athlete in the league. You can't take your eyes off him. Indeed, the Big O is the most compelling player in the league since the pre-concussion Eric Lindros. â†µâ‡¥â†µIndeed it should be, but it isn't. The over-promotion of Crosby -- admittedly an incredible talent on his own -- began with his first month in the league when the powers that be decreed he be named the league's Rookie of the Month for October 2005. And indeed, Crosby outpointed Ovechkin by one for that month, though the young Russian winger scored six more goals on a Capitals team bereft of any other scoring threat. And it wouldn't be unfair to add that Ovechkin played with the sort of style and flair that Crosby could only dream about. â†µ
â†µâ‡¥Ovechkin never stops. He is a mix of ferocity and fury; insatiable in his hunger for the puck, his desire to score, his will to win. He is Jim Brown on skates, a dominant physical force of nature who would just as soon go through an opponent as around one (or two, or three). He's what Rocket Richard must have been like in the '40s and '50s. â†µâ‡¥â†µâ‡¥
â†µâ‡¥Too bad, though, Ovechkin has approximately one-third the number of All-Star votes as NHL favorite son Sidney Crosby. One-third as many votes as Crosby? Why, the league's best player has one half as many votes as Alex Kovalev, and just over half as many as the great Alex Tanguay! â†µâ‡¥â†µâ‡¥
â†µâ‡¥The NHL should be embarrassed for itself. â†µâ‡¥â†µ
â†µSince then NHL diehards have been subjected to endless promos featuring Crosby, so much so, that you'd think he was the league's only superstar. And while Ovechkin may be getting the short end of the stick, he's not the only one -- just ask fans of players like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. â†µâ†µ
â†µIf the NHL is really serious about expanding overseas, it really needs to re-think using Crosby as its poster boy to the exception of everyone else. Working in Washington and watching the Capitals, I come into contact with plenty of Russians who love the game. Safe to say, they're as fed up with Crosby as any other Washington hockey fan. Something tells me that we’re not alone. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.