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Alex Ovechkin & Sidney Crosby

Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby play for the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey teams, respectively. The evenly matched athletes are embroiled in what ESPN has called “the best rivalry in hockey.”

Both men agree that their rivalry is professional, not personal. “To say that we absolutely hate each other, I don't think so," Crosby said, and Ovechkin agreed. "Off the ice, I can shake hands and say hi like normal people," the Russian athlete said. "But on the ice, you don't have friends.”

Ovechkin and Crosby are also competitive in terms of salary. According to The New York Times, Ovechkin has a 13-year contract with the Capitals worth $124 million, and the upcoming season is Crosby’s last under a five-year deal worth $43.5 million, according to The Associated Press. This puts Ovechkin’s annual salary at approximately $9.5 million and Crosby’s at $8.7 million.

Mitchell Layton | Getty Images