Has the Caps-Pens rivalry sunk to a new low? You tell me.
Saturday night after the Penguins’ 6-2 Game Two victory, DK Pittsburgh Sports’s Josh Yohe reported that several Penguins players were critical of Alex Ovechkin after a shot from the Caps captain struck Ron Hainsey in the head. According to Yohe, some unnamed players suggested Ovi was reckless when he took the shot.
[Hainsey] indicated following the game that his helmet absorbed the majority of the blow and that he believed he would be OK.
One got the sense from a couple of Penguins after the game that they believed Ovechkin, while not necessarily acting with intent, was pretty careless regarding how he fired the puck in Hainsey’s direction.
Here’s the play in question.
With two minutes and twenty-one seconds left in the third period, Ovechkin fired a shot from the left circle. Hainsey, in an attempt to block the shot, skated into the path of Ovechkin’s wrister and was struck in the side of the head.
The shot appeared to be aimed short-side and towards the top corner of the net. It does not appear — and I can’t believe I had to point this out — to be aimed at Hainsey’s head.
The puck ramped up off the blade of Ovechkin’s stick before striking Hainsey in the right ear.
Ovechkin skated over to Hainsey to check on him. After Hainsey got up, Ovechkin appeared to apologize or wish the defenseman well, patting him on the rear as he skates off the ice.
These are all strange actions if Ovechkin were acting with malice.
Meanwhile, Hockey Twitter exploded after Yohe’s report, which the reporter further clarified on Sunday.
@im_not_nik @DavidMTodd I didn’t suggest that. A few of the Penguins did.
— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_PGH) April 30, 2017
Despite the absurdity of the accusations, ESPN Pittsburgh’s David Todd, a member of the Pro Hockey Writers’ Association, agreed with the players.
From @JoshYohe_PGH: Exactly my reaction when I saw Ovechkin’s shot last night. To be that far off target so quickly… pic.twitter.com/sR1omtRi73
— David Todd (@DavidMTodd) April 30, 2017
Monday after the Capitals’ morning skate, Ovechkin revealed that he did indeed apologize to Hainsey.
Ovechkin on Hainsey: "I apologized to him. You never want to hurt someone. It’s an accident. The puck flipped off my stick. It goes high."
— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) May 1, 2017
Hainsey will play Monday night in Game Three.
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