Expect a much different playoff meeting between Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby from eight years ago, when the Caps and Penguins met in a seven-game series of the Stanley Cup conference semi-final.
Crosby was 21 years of age at the time, Ovechkin was 23.
In 2009, both players were superstars, but they also saw themselves as agitators. Both did their best to throw the other off of their game – on the ice and in the media.
Now, a 29-year-old Crosby will put his focus on helping Pittsburgh become the first team to win back-to-back Stanley Cups in more than a decade, while a 31-year-old Ovechkin knows a second-round exit would be a wasted opportunity for a Caps team that had a spectacular regular season.
I expect fewer “head games.”
The only similarity may be that this series could go seven games again, like it did eight years ago.