Ovechkin, Malkin hold heart-to-heart for TV

Updated: December 11, 2006, 10:29 AM ET
By Scott Burnside | ESPN.com

For all the carping about Versus and their NHL broadcasts, you've got to hand it to them when they see the possibilities.

As was the case Sunday afternoon, a day before the first meeting of the season between Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.

Instead of trotting out a standard (is there such a thing?) Russian interpreter to talk to the Penguins' flashy rookie, Evgeni Malkin, the Versus folks got Malkin's good friend Ovechkin to sit down and do the translation of an interview conducted by Versus reporter Bob Harwood.

The result won't make you forget about "The Godfather" or even "Slap Shot," but it was fun television. There was Ovechkin, his perpetual impish grin in place, giving it to his long-time pal about not having won a championship (Ovechkin pumped his fist talking about winning one in the Russian elite league). There was Malkin, through Ovechkin, warning that he wouldn't be shy to put the body on him in Monday's game.

Harwood noted that Malkin has a tendency to jump into the glass (a la Brett Favre) after scoring and Ovechkin smiled and laughed ferociously.

"We are Russians, that's why," Ovechkin explained with a smile.

Malkin also told Ovechkin about a recent conversation he'd had with Pittsburgh Penguins coach Michel Therrien during which Therrien challenged Malkin to play up to his potential and be a top-15 NHL scorer.

Kudos to Versus for thinking outside the box on this one.