By Ian Oland
Carolina Hurricanes forward Micheal Ferland was ejected from Game Two in after delivering a questionable hit to Capitals center Nic Dowd in the second period.
Dowd left the game briefly but returned late in the second period.
The play began with Dowd getting high-sticked by the chasing player, Warren Foegle. Dowd doubled over, which is when Ferland, skating laterally, hit Dowd’s shoulder with his flank.
Dowd returned to the bench, then retreated to the locker room, likely to undergo the concussion protocol. He missed one shift.
Ferland was assessed a match penalty for a hit to the head and ejected. The Capitals did not score on the ensuing power play.
Pierre McGuire spoke to Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour after the penalty. “I don’t see head contact,” Brind’Amour said. “[Ferland] has never been suspended, so he doesn’t hit like that. The frustrating part is they say it was a hit to the head but I don’t see it as a hit to the head.”
Brind’Amour continued: “There was a hit to the head earlier in the game on one of our guys,” presumably referring to Ovechkin’s hit on Brett Pesce. “I think we just let ’em play. That’s what I’d like to see.”
During the second intermission, NBC analyst Eddie Olczyk said he believed officials got the call wrong.
“Clearly, when you slow it down and you see the replay, the contact is not made by the shoulder to the head,” Olczyk said. “[The head] ends up hitting the back of Micheal Ferland. And look, our officials in the National Hockey League get the calls 99.9 percent of the time. They see it live. They huddled up. I talked to Stephen Walkom, the head of NHL officials, and he tells the officials, ‘Don’t guess. Don’t guess.’… Rod Brind Amour was absolutely irate and deservedly so.”
Without unambiguous evidence of Ferland hitting Dowd in the head, it’s likely the match penalty will be rescinded.
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