The Washington Capitals game against the Florida Panthers on Friday was wacky and had a bit of everything: high scoring, both starting goalies getting benched, both teams scoring three unanswered goals, a wild overtime period, and a shootout. There was also some physical play, including a controversial high hit levied by Alex Ovechkin.
Less than a minute into the second period, Ovechkin nailed Panthers defenseman Mark Pysyk with a high hit at the top of the circle in the offensive zone.
The Panthers later announced that Pysyk would not be returning to the game due to an “upper body injury.”
In his postgame interview, Panthers head coach Bob Boughner expressed his opinion on the hit, calling it “a head shot.”
Boughner added that he hoped the Department of Player Safety will review the play.
#FlaPanthers coach Bob Boughner wants NHL Department of Player Safety to review Alex Ovechkin’s high hit that injured Mark Pysyk: “I hope they do because if you see the replay, it’s high. It’s a head shot. And the league’s trying to clamp down on that.”
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) October 20, 2018
Here is the hit in question. Ovechkin was not penalized on the play and Pysyk played the puck immediately prior to being hit.
Here’s another look.
The alternate angle which shows the point of impact more clearly. Ovechkin rises up slightly into the hit and connects with Pysyk’s face.
The Panthers broacasters, which includes Hall of Fame defenseman Denis Potvin, had this to say on the hit.
Denis Potvin: “Oh boy. That’s a shoulder to the nose right there.”
Steve Goldstein: “That was a high hit by Ovechkin. That was up in the head area on Pysyk after he got rid of the puck.”
Denis Potvin: “That was right up in the chops. Ovechkin is a 235-pound player. There’s the hit – look at that – right to the chops and down goes Pysyk.”
Steve Goldstein: “That’s right in the face.”
The last time Ovechkin was suspended, it was for a hit on Zbynek Michalek in January 2012.
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