DALLAS Â– Officially it will be known to the world as the 55th NHL All-Star Game, but it's very clear that unofficially this week's festivities will go down as the Sid and Ovie Show.
Everything, it seems, is revolving this week around Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin and so it should. The league that could not capitalize on Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky in their primes seems intent on hitching its marketing hopes to the two brightest young stars to come along in a generation.
The two were the focus as the players began to assemble for the game yesterday in Dallas and everyone who spoke of them had glowing words to say.
As far as who has been the most valuable player in the league this season, Ovechkin said, Â“Crosby.Â” When Crosby was asked, he said, Â“I couldn't tell you. There's too many guys right now. I mean the best answer would be Ovechkin, right.Â”
For those of you keeping track of such things, Crosby is on pace to score 132 points this season if he keeps up at his pace prior to the all-star break. That's just five fewer than Gretzky scored as a 19-year-old in the NHL.
NEW DUDS OK: So it turns out the new uniform designs by Reebok aren't evil incarnate after all. They are sleeker and tighter-fitting to be sure, but from more than 20 feet away they don't look that much different than the current uniforms.
There had been all sorts of fear the league and Reebok were messing with tradition, but the league went to great pains to point out it will be up to the individual teams to decide whether they want to make any alterations to their new sweaters. The only thing that should have people outraged is the fact that the league has the audacity to price them at $450 a pop on its website.
SAKIC SPEAKS OUT: When Joe Sakic broke into the league almost 20 years ago, he had trouble putting a sentence together. Now the guy is a regular chatterbox and is willing to share his keen thoughts on all kinds of issues.
And he even has a bit of Yogi Berra in him. When talking about Crosby, Sakic said, Â“He has all the tools to become the superstar he already is,Â” Sakic said. Â“I know that doesn't really make sense, but it's true.Â”
OVECHKIN A LAUGH RIOT: Crosby may be the face of the NHL, but Ovechkin could become the mouth of the league in the future. While Crosby is guarded in almost everything he says, the impish Ovechkin certainly isn't afraid to have some fun when he's answering queries.
He was asked Monday about playing in the starting lineup with Daniel Briere of the Buffalo Sabres, whom he drilled from behind into the boards earlier this season. He was asked whether he would seek Briere out to speak with him prior to the game.
Â“Yeah, just fight in the locker room,Â” Ovechkin said. Â“No, just shake hands, see how is everything.Â”