Hotstove: Ovechkin vs. Crosby

The Hotstove panel on Hockey Night in Canada examines the differences, both on the ice and off the ice, between Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.

The Hotstove panel on Hockey Night in Canada once again broached the differences, both on the ice and off the ice, between Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.

The latest exercise in comparing and contrasting the two NHL superstars came after Ovechkin's Capitals were beaten by Kovalchuk and New Jersey 5-0 earlier in the week.

After the game, Washington coach Bruce Boudreau watched, during a media scrum, as Devils' wing Ilya Kovalchuk laughed and joked with fellow Russians Alex Semin and Ovechkin.

Asked by a reporter if that bothered him, Boudreau replied, "I'll reserve my thoughts on that, if you don't mind."'s Pierre LeBrun said he spoke with the Capitals' bench boss on Saturday.

"He said he was startled when he heard that sound, it turns out it was Kovalchuk that was laughing and Bruce actually joked with me, he said, 'Maybe Alex, in Russian, said to Kovalchuk 'man we sucked tonight,'" LeBrun said.

"[Ovechkin] can do whatever he wants. They're gonna let him do whatever he wants to do on the ice ... [and] off the ice," Mike Milbury said.

"I'm kind of curious to see how it all plays out. Will they win multiple championships with this incredibly gifted player surrounded by incredibly gifted talent, or will it bust at the finish line as many of us think it might because they don't know how to play defence and they don't have discipline."

How they spent their summer

"Take Oveckhin versus Crosby, the serious student. He can't take draws very well, he goes home in the off-season and takes draws until he can take them with the best of them," Milbury said. "Can't score enough goals, goes home and shoots pucks into the dryer and now he scores 50 goals with the best of them.

"Ovechkin went home to Moscow and he did not shoot pucks into the dryer, I can guarantee you that. There's a lot of other things, if you read the GQ article about him, he was very up-front … he's a rock star he takes full advantage of it."

Eric Francis of Sun Media suggested the "Great 8" might not be able to elevate the game of his teammates.

"One thing that hasn't changed is that Crosby has always made those around him better and Ovechkin doesn't have that ability, at least not yet, once he learns that Washington … has a shot," he said.