Not a lot of news from practice today. Alex Ovechkin practiced, as he and Bruce Boudreau said he would.
When asked about being injured, Ovechkin replied, “It is just about you guys. You think about why I wasn’t practicing, what I am eating before the game. It is just you guys.”
Unfortunately no one followed up with any questions about Ovechkin’s eating habits, which would have been funny. Jeff Schultz practiced. Everyone was in the same spot as yesterday’s practice.
It is fair to say the players are ready to start playing again. They were answering the same questions as yesterday for the most part, and there were a couple of “As I answered yesterday …” and some eye-rolling going on — just as there probably was in Pittsburgh.
Wanted to mention something else that didn’t make it into the story about Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby in today’s paper, but should have.
One of the factors in this rivalry heating up through the years has to be the competitive streak in both players. Ask anyone on the Caps, and they’ll say Alex Ovechkin is the most competitive guy they know, he wants to win more than anyone, etc. Ask the guys on the Penguins and they’ll say the same thing about Crosby.
So whether or not there is any real distaste between the two, there is probably a little (or a lot) of competitiveness and wanting to be better than the other guy, and that — combined with a little shoving and trash-talking every now and then — is what will continue to make this a true rivalry.
Nicklas Backstrom backed me up on this. When I asked him about Ovechkin being competitive at everything, he said, “Yeah, usually when we play the first [video] game he is always yelling and screaming those kinds of things. But after I win, he gets kind of quiet.”
As for the relationship between Nos. 8 and 87:
“I don’t know? Maybe they are best friends?” Backstrom said with a sly grin. “I can’t really answer that. If you want to say it is a competition and they battle to see who is the best, they can do that. I think [Ovechkin] is better.”