Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was basically ejected from the Capitals’ 5-2 loss in Game Six.
Ovechkin gave a sarcastic clap to officials and unleashed a torrent of profanities after being whistled for slashing Saku Maenalanen with 1:08 remaining in the third period. Referees responded in kind by giving Ovechkin a 10-minute misconduct, sending the future Hall of Famer to the showers early.
After the game, Capitals head coach Todd Reirden said that while Ovechkin could have handled the situation differently, he admired Ovechkin’s passion for the game.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 23, 2019
“He’s an all-in, emotional guy that cares a ton,” Reirden said during his postgame press conference. “You look back a few years ago, some people talked about his lack of care, four or five years ago, and I think it’s so far from that. He’s all about wanting to win. Emotionally, he wears it on his sleeve. That’s not how we want to handle it, but I think a little bit of it shows his passion and his desire to win. He feels he has a huge goal for us there that’s disallowed on a puck that’s loose that he can see, that certainly we can see from the bench, that’s not completely covered. So it’s a difficult one. You’d like to handle those situations different. Like I said before, five years ago, they’d be like why doesn’t he react and get mad? And now he’s unbelievably passionate about trying to do everything he can about pushing our team to the next level. And he knows he’s going to do everything in his power to help us do it. ”
Reirden then used those comments to springboard into his confidence in his team for Wednesday’s Game Seven.
“I expect him to be emotionally involved right from the drop of the puck at home and I believe in our team,” Reirden said. “I believe in our ability to play in big games with the group that we have – 90% of it that has been through this. Yeah, we’re dealing with some injuries and some difficult things, but this is what we work for and I’m really looking forward to watching my team play that Game Seven.”
Ovechkin felt robbed after scoring what appeared to be the game-tying goal midway through the third period. The Russian machine popped in a loose puck past Petr Mrazek to tie, but officials waved the goal off because they ruled he hit Mrazek’s pad.
The Capitals challenged the call on the ice. Minutes later, the NHL’s Situation Room in Toronto confirmed the ruling on the ice. After officials announced Ovechkin’s goal was indeed not a goal, the Great 8 could be seen screaming “that’s f*cking bullsh*t.”
In his final shift of the game, Ovechkin saluted the officials with an enraged sarcastic clap.
“I don’t want to be a bad guy or something, but it was not fun,” Ovechkin said.
A Google search suggests that this may be the first misconduct Ovechkin has received since 2010 after he boarded Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell.
During Game Six, Ovechkin scored a goal and had 5 hits in 21:27 of ice time. Ovechkin has four goals and four assists in the series so far. He has more postseason goals than any other NHL player since the 2008 loffs.
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