Ovie would trade awards for Cup

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

Alex Ovechkin did not flick on the tube in order to see the Stanley Cup being awarded to the Pittsburgh Penguins on a steamy June Detroit night.

Not when hockey's Holy Grail was being handed over to a team other than his own Washington Capitals

And especially not when the captain hoisting the historic trophy was none other than the Sidney Crosby, Ovechkin's No. 1 rival.

"I didn't watch. Why would I?" Ovechkin said yesterday. "Why would I care?

"If it's not my team winning it, I could care less."

Fair enough. But deep inside, just the thought of Crosby winning the title before he did must have gnawed away at Ovechkin's gut, especially when the Capitals had a glorious opportunity to derail the Pens Cup run right in its tracks.

In one of the most riveting playoff series of the past decade, Ovechkin's Capitals hosted Crosby's Pens in Game 7 of their second-round matchup at the Verizon Center. With home ice definitely seeming to be an advantage, most pundits figured the Caps were a good bet to prevail.

Unfortunately for Ovechkin, things didn't play out that way. After the Great Eight was stopped on an early breakaway by Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, Crosby racked up a pair of goals and an assist en route to a 6-2 Pittsburgh victory over Alexander the Great and the Caps, eliminating Washington in the process.

"It was tough for a while," Ovechkin said. "But we learned from it."

For his part, Ovechkin's trophy case has ballooned the past two seasons, with additional space needed to fit his two Hart Trophies (league MVP), two Rocket Richard Trophies (top goal scorer) and one Art Ross Trophy (leading points-getter). But he would trade them all in for the opportunity to sip from the Cup the way Sid The Kid was able to.

"The Cup means a lot," he said. "I want to win it (so bad).

Indeed, drinking from Lord Stanley's mug is one of his goals this season. The other? Win the Olympic gold medal in 2010 in Vancouver.

Ovechkin already has had a taste of what it is like for his Russians to capture a major title on Canadian soil. In 2008, he helped them beat Canada in an overtime thriller during the gold medal game of the world hockey championship in Quebec City.

"I want an Olympic gold," he pronounced.

Ovechkin was at the Hockey Hall of Fame yesterday to promote Energizer Canada's Power of 8 campaign in which consumers will have the chance to have Ovechkin come to their local arena and lead a hockey practice for a kids' team.

Should his career continue on the rapid pace it has started out with, there will come a day when Alex Ovechkin won't just be visiting the Hall -- he'll be enshrined in it.

MIKE.ZEISBERGER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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