The phrase "game recognize game" isn't used much in hockey, but in this case, it should be.
When Henrik Lundqvist made it very clear how much respect he has for new teammate Alex Ovechkin, it really shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone. Both have had storied careers, even though there was a bit of a rivalry between the two.
Some rivalries are based on hatred, and others mutual respect. Fortunately for this one, given that they're now both wearing the same uniform, there doesn't seem to be any hate between the two.
"It’s been so many years of battles and I have so much respect for [Ovechkin] for what he’s accomplished," Lundqvist said after signing. "He’s one of the toughest players to stop, there’s no way around it. You look at his record, it speaks for itself. And it’s been so much fun too to go up against him for so many years."
Lundqvist said the main reason he came to Washington was the Capitals gave him a chance to win a Stanley Cup, something he's still missing on his resume. It certainly doesn't hurt to have one of the all-time great goal scorers in front of you too though.
“The one thing I told [Ovechkin], though, is I won’t do any one-time drills with him," Lundqvist said. "His shot is just way too hard, so I already took myself out of that one. ... Ovi with all the years playing against him, I definitely look forward to being on the same side now.”
So often when great players play against each other it's simply about proving who is better. It magnifies that competitive streak. You don't get to this level of pro sports and not have at least some kind of desire to be better than whoever you're up against. It's why so often when you see this type of legendary talent come together as teammates, they tend to instantly bond.
In this case, as with similar situations in the past, both know what it takes to get to this level of success, likely have common goals, and realize each player can help the other achieve what they want.
What they want is simple -- a Stanley Cup title together.