Page 3 of 3   <      

Mike Wise: Sorry Sidney Crosby, There's Nothing Wrong With Alex Ovechkin's Celebrations

The Washington Post's Mike Wise columnizes on the Capitals' 5-2 victory over the Penguins on Sunday at Verizon Center. Video by Atkinson & Co.

Ovechkin, when asked if he agreed with Sports Illustrated's assessment that Crosby is the best player in the game, replied, "He's top three, top two players in the NHL." When asked where he stacks up, he added, smiling, "Ovechkin probably top 100."

See, more thinly veiled trash talk.

Look, the two players vying to pull in NHL numbers and fans like The Great One don't have to necessarily get along. In point of fact, Julius Erving and Larry Bird once traded chokeholds and haymakers during a nasty preseason fight.

But Crosby and Ovechkin should agree on one indisputable issue: Hockey is no longer one of a few North American team sports that can survive on their rivalries and history alone; it is one of dozens of entertainment options in a convoluted and depressed market.

No matter what the NHL was before, it needs personalities. It needs showmen. Brett Hull barely raising his stick after scoring doesn't sell anymore.

Going forward, Alex Ovechkin pointing to the heavens after his highlight goals -- and, yes, mocking his adversary for all to see -- puts fans in the seats and grows the product.

So there, Sidney.

<          3

© 2009 The Washington Post Company