Ovechkin and Crosby set for Olympic hockey showdown

Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:09pm EST
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By Steve Keating

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - In careers marked by dazzling acts of one-upmanship, the Vancouver Olympics could provide the ultimate stage for Canada's Sidney Crosby and Russia's Alexander Ovechkin, the greatest hockey players of their generation.

Both players can boast trophy cases that include National Hockey League most valuable player honors and scoring titles.

They have met in the Stanley Cup playoffs and played at world championships, but their bid for a gold medal in Vancouver is expected to offer one of the highlights of the Winter Games.

It only seems fitting for a showdown between the charismatic Canadian and the edgy Russian with the smoky visor to happen on the sporting world's biggest stage.

The tournament could end without Crosby and Ovechkin ever facing off against each other, but even the chance of a classic Russia-Canada final on February28 for the last gold medal of the Games has ice hockey fans salivating.

Both players dismissed talk of an Olympic rivalry. Crosby just said he was looking forward to Canada's game against Norway on Tuesday while Ovechkin offered a terse, "Don't care."

Choosing between the two former first overall draft picks is a bit like trying to decide between a Porsche and a Ferrari.

Both are captains of their NHL teams, with Crosby the wizard playmaker for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ovechkin the fiery goal scorer for the Washington Capitals.   Continued...

<p>Combination photo shows Russia's Alex Ovechkin and Canada's Sidney Crosby during their hockey practices for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, February 15, 2010. REUTERS/Shaun Best</p>