Time With Ovechkin & ‘Ovi Jr.’ Was Highlight Of Crosby’s All-Star Weekend
Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby were always rivals from the moment both entered the league in 2005. However, their relationship has changed over time, and their friendship was on display at All-Star Weekend as they took in the festivities side-by-side with Ovechkin’s son, Sergei.
For years, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby were part of a rivalry that had started brewing before either began their Hall of Fame careers with the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins back in 2005. Over time, with both older and in the twilight of their careers, that bad blood has stopped boiling and both captains have gone from enemies to "good friends." That made for one of the most memorable All-Star experiences yet in South Florida for both captains.
Ovechkin and Crosby teamed up to not only score some great goals for the Metropolitan Division in the 3-on-3 tournament, but they united for the Skills Competition as well. They joined forces for the breakaway challenge and both landed on the idea of incorporating Ovechkin's son, Sergei, into the challenge. The three of them went in alone on Hall of Fame goaltender Roberto Luongo, and Crosby and Ovechkin got the assists as "Ovi Jr." scored five-hole on a backhanded deke.
It was a moment that neither Ovechkin nor Crosby are taking for granted at this point in his career.
"Probably the skills, probably the breakaway with Ovi's son, I think that's one that I'll definitely remember," Crosby told reporters after the All-Star Game regarding his favorite moment at this year's festivities.
"Everybody enjoy. Obviously, Sergei was very happy, always smiling, always asking when the hockey was going to be… Top class. Guys have fun," Ovechkin said, later adding, "That’s a special moment. the fans love it, we both love it. I think it’s great for the game, it’s great for both us and obviously for Sergei as well.”
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Beyond the skills competition and 3-on-3 tournament, Ovechkin and Crosby spent some time together off the ice as well. Both met up together on the red carpet, with Ovechkin and his son getting a picture with Crosby. No. 87 also suggested that Sergei lead the Metro All-Stars out onto the ice for the Skills Competition, with Ovechkin recording on his iPhone.
“Nice to have his son be a part of it… I know his son loves the game and it’s cool to see him out there," Crosby said.
Ovechkin and Crosby also caught up with the like of Connor McDavid and more of the All-Stars in attendance, and for No. 8, it brought back memories of his past All-Star experiences where he was still an up-and-comer looking up to veterans and past legends of the game.
"I remember when I was a little younger, [Crosby and I were] sharing with Shanahan, Luongo, with those legends and it was pretty special moments," Ovechkin said. "Right now, we kind of little more, have more experience and more age in our career, but it's great. We enjoy to spend time in the locker room with the boys, talking, make some jokes. And obviously with Sergei over there, it was special."
In a lot of ways, the presence of "Ovi Jr." was symbolic of the new-found friendship and appreciation for each other that both Ovechkin and Crosby have formed over the course of their historic careers.
"We good friends, you know? We call to each other. If he have some milestones, I call him, shoot him a text. First couple years, we kind of [had a] different relationship. We was young, you know? Right now we mature."
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Crosby agreed and said that the time that has passed and the accolades that both have received shined a new light on their relationship, which is no longer fueled by a media-created rivalry, but by a passion for the game.
"I think coming in with the expectations and just before we even played a game against each other it was already a rivalry. It was kind of set up that way," Crosby said. "I think over time, you understand that yeah, it gets heated, it's intense on the ice. We both want to have success. But you appreciate playing against each other for as long as it’s been, and to still be in a tight race and in a playoff race down the stretch all these years later, to see what he’s doing, I think you appreciate all of that.”
Going forward, both Ovechkin and Crosby are looking forward to seeing where the rest of their careers take them, and of course, where Sergei will head next.
“He still enjoy playing hockey, I still enjoying playing hockey, and I'm pretty sure when me and him’s going to be retired, we just going to have a couple beers together and talk about what happened in past 15-16 years," Ovechkin smiled. "I think it’s great for hockey for previous generation and future generation to see the kind of comparison, that kind of battle between two organizations. It's great for game."