Alex Ovechkin has a reputation for occasionally leaving his skates on hit. In the second period of Game 4 between the Washington Capitals and the New York Rangers on Saturday, he left them again to earn a charging minor for this hit on Dan Girardi:
This hit stirred up some debate about potential supplemental discipline on Ovechkin, who would be a repeat offender. Mike Milbury on NBC wanted a fine. Rangers analyst Dave Maloney (via Chris Botta) said this hit had "twice the severity" of the one that earned Rusty Klesla a hearing with the NHL on Sunday. Fans around social media openly wondered if this was actionable by the NHL.
I don't see it: Sure, it's a leap, which is why it was a charge; but it seemed shoulder-to-shoulder. The Department of Player Safety will take a look, but without contact with the head it's hard to imagine anything comes down on Ovechkin. Unless, if course, they view this as a reoccurring problem that needs correcting; ask Raffi Torres about that.
UPDATE: Reactions from after Game 4.
Said Ovechkin of the hit: "I just missed the puck. I tried to kick the puck and I saw he was coming, so I just got to protect myself," adding that "I think it was the shoulder" that he connected with.
Said Girardi: "He hit my head a bit there, but I think it was the right call. I'm not sure what it was, whether it was charging or interference or whatever, but my head's there, and he hits it. But I think he was just playing the game hard. I don't know," he said, adding that "he hit me in the head first."
Said Caps coach Dale Hunter: "I didn't see the replay yet, but of them were surprised they hit each other. It was incidental contact."
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