After Justin Williams put home yet another goal in this first-round series to give the Washington Capitals an overtime win and 3-2 lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs, the media waited outside the black curtain separating them from the visitor’s area at Verizon Center. When they let the media past, players stretching and riding recumbent bikes sported forlorn looks.
The Leafs are one game away from elimination, but that was not the main storyline after the game. Instead, it was Nazem Kadri‘s reckless leg-to-leg hit on Alex Ovechkin, who does not break. We’re sure of it.
“When they’re something you don’t like or something you think is a little dirty,” said TJ Oshie, “you want to respond with a goal,” which he did on the ensuing power play.
Capitals head coach Barry Trotz declined to comment on the hit.
“First of all, I’m just going to keep my own opinion about the hit,” he told reporters. “But when you see a star player down, you’re always quite concerned. He’s the face of this franchise.”
The Leafs, however, saw things a little differently than TJ and company.
Here’s Kadri’s full explanation, with the questions paraphrased.
What was your view of the hit?
I thought I got right on the puck and then tried to get a piece of him. He tried to get out of the way, it’s not like I stuck my knee out. It happened really quick. From what I saw he’s okay. I’m hoping he’s okay, it’s a pretty tender area. That can be sensitive. But he came back. He was running around when he came back so he must be okay.
Were you surprised to see him back in game in the second period?
Ah, I’m not quite sure I was happy to see him come back on the ice. For sure, I’ve got a lot of respect for that guy. But at the end of the day I’m cheating my teammates if I don’t try to get a piece of him because he’s dumping the puck in and going around our defencemen. At the end of the day I got no choice, I’ve got to hold him up and try to save my defencemen.
What were you trying to accomplish with the hit?
“I tried to get a piece of him, he tried to get out of the way. It’s not like I stuck my knee out or got my arms high. It happened pretty quick. I thought it was okay.”
How did you feel when you saw him laying on the ice?
I was hoping he’s okay. It’s a pretty tender area. That can be extensive. You don’t want that to be an extetended injury. Glad he came back.
Here’s what Leafs head coach Mike Babcock said after the game regarding the hit heard around DC, which it was a trending topic on Twitter.
Well I thought, you know, it’s interesting. Trotzy probably thought it should have been a major, I thought there should have been no penalty. That’s the beauty of the playoffs. The other night when Polak’s done for the year our bench thought it should have been a major, they thought it should have been no penalty. That’s kind of the playoffs so we try to get someone in between who’s probably more reasonable than a coach.