Against the Senators, Alex Ovechkin put together the kind of performance that, at least for one night, reminded teammates and viewers of what they’ve been waiting to see consistently from the Washington captain this season.
Strong physical play is a hallmark of a successful Ovechkin and he’s not exactly mild-tempered on the ice. Midway through the second period Ovechkin was checked by Ottawa’s Chris Neil in the defensive zone and as the two players made their way up ice, the stick of the Capitals’ left wing appears to spear Neil in the midsection. (Video of the play here, h/t Russian Machine)
Ovechkin was not penalized on the play, while Neil was given a minor for unsportsmanlike conduct - diving.
The NHL typically reviews plays like this one, though it’s unclear if Ovechkin would face any type of supplementary discipline, be it a fine or a suspension. According to the league rulebook, there is no specified fine or suspension for spearing.
“I try to skate,” Ovechkin said when asked about the play. “I’m not that kind of player. Everybody said it was spear, but I don’t try to spear somebody. We’re all players and I’m not that kind of guy. . . . I was surprised at what happen. I did not know.”
Said 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.”