Rivalries come and go in sports all the time. There have always been battles through the years between teams. Whether it be due to repeated playoff meetings, divisional match ups or strictly geographical. Celtics- Lakers, Michigan-Ohio State, Buffalo Bills-Miami Dolphins, Cowboys-Redskins, Senators-Leafs, Flames-Oilers and of course Yankees-Red Sox and so on.
With that also comes personal rivalries. Usually those are sparked when 2 elite level players are either so good that they match up well or are involved in a team rivalry and it escalates to a “Whatever you can do, I can do better”. It seems that it is more a basketball thing because 1 player can make more of a team impact then the other sports. Recent memory has Magic vs Bird, Jordan vs the NBA...Jordan was just that much better, Reggie Miller vs Spike Lee (Ok that may be a stretch but hey, it is funny), Kobe vs Shaq. But right now there is a new battle that is taking form and it is probably the best thing for the NHL - Sidney Crosby and sidekick Evgeni Malkin going head to head with Alexander Ovechkin and his boy wonder Alexander Semin.
Despite the collaboration at the All Star game between Malkin and Ovechkin there still is some dislike I believe. Semin and Ovetchkin have been very critical of Crosby of late and both sides have thrown out some barbs, both on the ice and in the media. Crosby has taken exception to how Ovechkin handles himself on the ice, especially his celebrations while on the other side Ovechkin has said that Crosby is a talker and a whiner. This give Capitals-Penguins games a nice bit of intrigue above and beyond the game and may just be what hockey needs, 2 of the top players going head to head with real emotion and dislike. Bird Magic saved the NBA, maybe this will do the same for the NHL. Should be interesting to see how this storey plays out.