February 22, 2009
There are plenty of Penguins fans here but much to the delight of Ted Leonsis (we'd guess) there are decidedly fewer Pens fans than back when half the VC would be dominated by old school Mario sweaters, Steelers swag and Washington area women getting dragged to the game by the boys from the 'Burgh.
(In fact, someone with the Caps believes there are fewer Pens fans here than there were Red Wings fans in Detroit's recent trip.)
As has become somewhat of an Olympic sport when the Penguins come to D.C., the Sidney Crosby mockery is in overdrive today.
As is, of course, evident from this Urinal Cake Tribute sent in from Puck Buddy Kevin J.
(UPDATE: Postgame quotes after the jump.)
There's the "Crosby Sucks" Capitals jersey in Section 411. There's the young girl with the "two minutes for bitchin'" sign and "Sidney Crosby" inside the "no smoking"-like slash-through symbol.
There was this rather self-explanatory T-shirt worn down in the 100 Level. Not sure if it's in mass production.
There was also one goof on Crosby that, honestly, we'd never heard of before: A Capitals fan, wearing his Washington sweater under a doctor's coat with "S. Crosby" and "proctology" stitched onto it. According to one observer, he was wearing a rubber glove and calling for Crosby to visit him for an "examination" during warm-ups. Yikes.
On the ice, Crosby was booed when he'd touch the puck, and some "Crosby Sucks" chants started in the third period.
Love Sid, hate Sid, you have to admit that few players in the NHL -- perhaps in pro sports today -- draw this kind of passion from fans.
Sid also had an altercation with Alexander Ovechkin near the end of the second period -- jostling the Capitals star near the benches. The small but memorable moment ended with Crosby without a helmet and Ovechkin dismissively waving a glove at him. (Video to come, if it appears).
As for the game itself ... well, a certain goaltender certainly picked a hell of a time to morph back into Marc-Andre Five-Hole, didn't he?
UPDATE: Ovechkin talked about the short altercation with Crosby from the end of the second period, claiming he didn't say anything to Crosby near the benches and downplaying the moment's importance.
"It was a hockey moment. It was part of the game," he said after the game.
Ovechkin was also asked if he noticed much more emphasis on his "rivalry" with Crosby in today's game, versus other matchups with the Penguins that have highlighted Ovechkin vs. Malkin.
"It's still Malkin, Ovie, Crosby, Semin, Fedorov ... it's still Washington Capitals against Pittsburgh Penguins," he said.
Ovechkin fielded several questions about Crosby during his postgame chat, before finally answering one question with "enough of Crosby" and moving on.
Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau was also asked about Crosby and Ovechkin jawing at each other.
"Yeah, well he started it. Sidney was jawing at everybody," said Boudreau. "Every time you come off, you see our bench talking to him and him talking to our bench. I think he got frustrated because he wasn't getting the freedom that had before in previous games."
Boudreau was asked if Crosby can be "off his game" if there's a lot of jawing and extra battling between rivals.
"He still picks up two, three points every night. Is that ‘off his game'? I don't know. You can tell one thing about him, which is that he's ultra-competitive. That's what all the great ones are," said Boudreau.
"Those guys hate losing. When they're losing, they come right back and they give as much as they get. Like Alex, he's a target every night. When you're losing, it gets a little more frustrating."
Finally, Boudreau was asked if these "rivalries" between his stars and those of the Penguins distract or detract from the game, to which he said they don't.
"You gotta have spice, get your blood boiling a little bit. Every time Alex is a little more excitable, it ends up being good for us."
Thanks to Dan Steinberg from D.C. Sports Bog for the T-shirt pix. Thanks to Kevin J. as well.