Your nation's Capitals take on the hated Pittsburgh Penguins/Pengwhines/Pengweenies tonight at 7 at the Verizon Center and in front of a national audience on Versus.
It's round five of Alexander Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby, with the Penguins taking three of four of last year's meetings.
This year both teams have added another Russian stud to the mix. The Caps have Alexander Semin (12 goals, 12 assists), and the Pens have Evgeni Malkin (14 goals, 14 assists).
A few analysts ('sup, Barry Melrose?) have said that many GMs claim they would have taken Malkin over Ovechkin in the 2004 entry draft. I'm not going to claim that no GMs said that, but I'm going to call them out as the dirty liars that they are. Because before that 2004 draft, Ovechkin going number one was as much of a lock as Crosby going number one in 2005. And even in 2005 some scouts claimed that, had Phil Kessel been available, Crosby just might have been number two on their draft board.
A) Easy to say when it's not your pick.
B) Phil freaking Kessel? He's alright, but he was picked fifth last year. You're fired if you suggest Kessel over Crosby.
C) Sometimes when you have the number one pick, there's a pick you just HAVE TO make. Crosby in '05 was one. Ovechkin in '04 was another. LeBron James in the NBA in 2003. Reggie Bush in the NFL in 2006 ... whoops!
But enough about that crap, because the real talk is Ovechkin vs. Crosby.
And when I say "the real talk," I mean in USA Today, SI.com, ESPN.com, and on the Versus Web site (the network also ran banner ads on NHL.com and washingtonpost.com hyping the game).
So there's your pre-game reading.
Ovechkin's 18 goals lead a group of five Caps already in double-digits less than 30 games into the season. That group also includes Semin (12), Dainius Zubrus (12), Chris Clark (10) and Matt Pettinger (10).
Malkin and Crosby are the only Penguins with more than 10 goals thus far in the campaign.
In other news, is there any chance that Ryan Whitney gets introduced to Donald Brashear tonight? Please?