December 12, 2008
During a recent radio show in Toronto, host Mike Hogan invited fans to call in with their person lists of the five players in the NHL they most enjoy watching.
It's no surprise that Alex Ovechkin was included on most people's list, as he was mentioned over 90 times. But Sidney Crosby?
Believe it or not, Sid the Kid made the final cut on just six lists.
Most people said they love the passion Ovechkin displays on the ice, including his wild goal scoring celebrations. However, Crosby also plays with his heart on his sleeve, so there has to be something else to explain his lack of popularity in a head-to-head comparison with Ovechkin.
One possibility that comes to mind is the two superstars different approaches with the media. Ovechkin is an open book with reporters, while Crosby has obviously been coached by media consultants who have taught him how to deliver fifteen second sound bites without really saying anything of interest. Sid the Kid has been under the media microscope since he was, well, just a kid. As a result, he's very polite when addressing the lights and cameras, but he's also extremely careful to avoid uttering anything controversial. Case in point: Last month, Washington's other Alex, Alexander Semin, was quoted as saying that there wasn't really anything special about Crosby and that he was "overrated". But when asked to respond, Crosby took a "no comment" pass and chose to do his talking on the ice by making a dramatic push towards the top of the NHL scoring leaders. There's certainly nothing wrong with walking, and talking, softly and carrying a big stick, but it won't help you win very many popularity contests.
Unlike Crosby, Ovechkin isn't afraid of shooting from the lip and his spontaneous personality and the interviews that go with it are a big part of his allure. With his unruly hair, ripped jeans and devil-may-care attitude, Ovechkin just doesn't seem as self-aware as Crosby.