It hurts the eyes, and then it doesn’t. It’s a nightmare, and then it isn’t. It’s just wrong, and then it’s right. I’ve always struggled with the images of Sidney Crosby, chumming it up with Alex Ovechkin, and during this weekend’s All-Star events, it was no different. However, on this particular day, it felt like things had changed just a bit.
Ovechkin and Crosby first hung-out on Friday night as part of the NHL 100 ceremony. The two were selected as members of the top 100 NHL players of all-time. Ok, I can handle this one. Two of the greatest to ever play the game. Hanging out. posing for pictures. Ok.
On Saturday, Ovechkin and Crosby spent quite a few moments together, before and during the All-Star skills competition. Some hangs were forced (pregame introductions, etc.), but some were not. Some of this I could handle, and some…not so much.
So what in the world would the two super stars be chatting about?
Regarding pics of Ovechkin and Crosby on the bench, Ovi said the rivals talked shop…shooting, stick type, curve, length, etc.
— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) January 29, 2017
But seeing the two hanging out, with smiles on their face, Ovechkin with his ever-encroaching grey top, and Crosby, seeming to now embrace the roll of the old master, it became crystal clear to me. These two will always be bound together, even after they’re long gone. They new that. And they were beginning to embrace the transition.
And as they watched hockey’s next generation do their thing on the ice, it seemed bitter-sweet, that although battles were still to be waged, these two could start to see the end. But maybe more importantly, they’ve begun to embrace their place in hockey history.
Happening now. pic.twitter.com/u6BWIlKeCK
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) January 29, 2017
You can feel the transition already occurring. Crosby noted several times on Saturday that he couldn’t believe how fast time has gone by. You could sense he had been thinking about his career, in totality, and realizing that indeed, the proverbial torch was starting to pass to the likes of McDavid, Mathews, Laine and the rest of the kiddie corp.
Crosby told Dan Rosen “As you get older you realize the opportunities for this become less and less and you really try to soak it all in, interact with as many guys as you can.”
It’s true what they say, that “time waits for no one”, even for hockey’s all-time greats. The day when the NHL will no longer have the “Crosby vs. Ovechkin” matchup is always inching closer, and it appears the two are coming to terms with that.
But make no mistake, in less than 48 hours, the big-picture thinking will be quickly stuffed back on the shelf for another day, as teams prepare for the backstretch of the 2016-2017 NHL season. And if we’re lucky, many more “Crosby vs. Ovechkin” matchups.
By Jon Sorensen