Alex Ovechkin had two big moments last night. The first one was obviously his goal. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend watching it on NHL.com because it is an amazing goal. There was, however, a more negative highlight from Ovechkin last night that might warrant punishment from the league. Here is the play in question:
Needless to say, Ovechkin hit Neil in a very… sensitive place. Ovechkin was not penalized for the play (yes he probably should have gotten a penalty for it). Chris Neil received a two minute minor for unsportsmanlike conduct. Here’s what the two players had to say after the game:
Ovechkin: “I’m not that kind of player. Everybody said it was spear, but I don’t try to spear somebody.”
Neil: ”It’s frustrating but we make mistakes out there, too. So do the refs… hopefully the league will review it and make the right call”
The league will look into this and will decide if punishment is necessary. I can see why Ovechkin might get fined for it, but under no circumstances should he get suspended. If he gets suspended, the NHL is in far worse shape than I thought. If it was a head shot, that’s definitely deserving of a suspension, but Ovechkin hit Neil in the groin. From the video, it appears that it wasn’t even intentional. Ovechkin has a very long stride when skating, so he probably inadvertently tapped Neil there. The “hit” in question didn’t even look that hard. I don’t think any punishment is necessary. Clearly an accident and Neil definitely did not help his case by diving afterwards. Hockey players wear chest pads, so if it hit him above the waist, it shouldn’t have hurt at all. If it hit him in the groin, if Neil was wearing a cup, he wouldn’t have even felt it.
Let me know what you think about the hit in the comments. Should Ovechkin face any punishment for this?