The Caps and Penguins play tomorrow! Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby are the two best players in the league again for the first time in what feels like forever! Isn’t it all so exciting? Hey, let’s ask Ovechkin’s teammate, Brooks Laich, what he thinks:

“I really, honestly don’t care about the Ovechkin-Crosby rivalry,” the veteran Caps forward told reporters today at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.


Laich dutifully stomached a few questions from reporters about tomorrow’s game at Verizon Center, managing to care mildly about one or two of the topics. Then the questions turned player-specific, and Laich swallowed them like a carton of spoiled milk as caring levels dipped dangerously low.

Well, we won’t make this mistake again. For the next time the Capitals and Penguins play, here’s a handy guide to what Brooks Laich cares about, according to his chat with reporters today:

The history of the rivalry:
“I mean, it’s been around a long time. It’s been around before any of us were here. I remember when I first got here you had the older guys — Brendan Witt, Olaf Kolzig, Jeff Halpern, those guys played in the rivalry for years, were very passionate about it then, and that rubs off on you as a young guy and it’s obviously continued since then.”

Whether the rivalry is back to where it was the last few years:
“I don’t know. I’ve been asked that question a lot, lately, actually. It’s something more for you guys, I think. You guys look at it more closely than we do. They’re a good hockey team, they’re in our division, we want to finish first no matter who’s in our division. Um, that’s sort of the extent of it for us.”
On which team has the better fans and arena:
“I mean, I love our building. Come on. I love our building. I think our building is the top in the league… you see a lot of buildings have corporate tickets. I think in our building we have the actual fans. The diehard, the passionate fans are in our building so it makes it the best building to play in in the league.”
The Penguins being the “big dog” in the East:
“No, we don’t care what they or you guys describe them as, ‘Big Dog’ and such or whatever. It’s not like that to us. We wanna win hockey games. That’s our nature. Doesn’t matter the opponent. We want to win.”

The Ovechkin-Crosby rivalry:
“I really, honestly don’t care about the Ovechkin-Crosby rivalry. I love our guy. I think our guy’s a world-class player, a fantastic player, and I’m sure every guy on their team is gonna say the same about theirs, but when we play that game, it’s us against Pittsburgh. We don’t look at Ovi like, ‘Oh, Ovi, you have to be bigger than Crosby.’ It’s not how we’ve ever faced it. It’s us against Pittsburgh. We want to be a better team than they are, and it’s the only way it’s ever been, and you guys are the ones that talk about the Ovi-Crosby [rivalry]. Nobody in our locker room, you’ll ever hear them say, ‘Oh, I can’t wait for the Ovi-Crosby game on Wednesday.’ [ reporters laughing] It’s us versus Pittsburgh….

“Oh, I don’t know, is it the old ‘every superhero needs a villain’ sort of thing? … We honestly, it’s us against Pittsburgh, I mean, it’s the only way. And I understand for you guys — if I was doing [the reporters’] job I would pump that up, too. But as a player, if you’re on the other side of it, I mean, you see a full lineup and we’ve got different assignments, they also have a very good hockey player — I don’t know if anyone else has heard of Evgeni Malkin, he’s a good hockey player, too. But they’re a good team. We respect them, and we want to beat them.”

Also, this:

The Ovechkin-Crosby mini-rant was cut out of Laich’s interview on the Caps’ web site, but here he is talking about not caring about the state of the rivalry:

Also, for the record, the main story on the front page of the Sports section tomorrow will be on Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. Because the Capitals and Penguins play tomorrow. Plus, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby are the two best players in the league again for the first time in what feels like forever. But, you know, who cares?

The Washington Post’s Katie Carrera discusses the Capitals’ hot start in a mediocre division and previews the game against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. (Post Sports Live/The Washington Post)