There are a lot of labels Alex Ovechkin has yet to shake in his NHL career. One that's stuck since his early days with the Washington Capitals: That he leaves his skates on too many of his booming checks.
In the second period of the Caps' 4-3 OT loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday, Ovechkin caught some air on this hit on defenseman Zbynek Michalek — and caught Michalek's noggin, too.
Ovechkin wasn't penalized on the play and Michalek played a regular shift for the rest of the game. Ovechkin scored a goal in the third period.
Was the head was the primary point of contact? If so, it should have meant a minor penalty at the very least. Was it shoulder then head? Looks that way. One thing's clear: It's skates off the ice.
Should it mean something more from the NHL? It's a reckless hit for a player that's had a few run-ins on the past (but not lately ... mostly because hits like this are rare for him now). Not sure that, within the context of the NHL's supplemental discipline, it'll be a suspension without an injury. In fact, without an injury, we'd wager there won't be one.
But would anyone have a problem if Ovechkin got at least a game in the press box for this?
UPDATE: Steve Whyno of the Washington Times got reaction from Michalek:
"To me, when the play happened, he just went for my head," he said. "I've been told that he left his feet. Hit my head. To me, it's a definitely a penalty. They didn't call it. It should have been called for sure."