Update 4:58 p.m.: According to Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Zbynek Michalek was not fined or suspended for his elbow against Matt Hendricks.
It’s believed that the league did not discipline the defenseman because Michalek’s knee hits Hendricks just prior to the hit causing him to lose his balance and lunge forward.
Original post: Capitals winger Matt Hendricks said he was “feeling good” Monday and that he suffered no ill effects from the elbow Pittsburgh defenseman Zbynek Michalek delivered in the second period of Sunday’s 4-3 overtime loss.
Michalek, who was scheduled to have a hearing with NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan this morning, received a two-minute minor for elbowing in the contest. Afterward, Michalek said that the penalty was warranted.
Here is Hendricks’s breakdown of what happened on the play:
“I knew he was in the vicinity, I knew he was coming but I didn’t expect that,” Hendricks said. “I tried to play the puck behind the boards to [Troy] Brouwer, behind their net. You try to put yourself in good position to take hits and stuff; the same time I was a couple feet off the boards going towards the puck. I don’t think it was a clean hit but he got an elbowing penalty for it, put us on the power play.”
Via Seth Rorabaugh from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Empty Netters blog, Michalek spoke about his hit this morning:
“It was a hockey play,” Michalek told reporters in Pittsburgh. “It was a hit, I guess from behind. I had my hands up, I guess. We’ll see how it goes.”
The gritty fourth liner didn’t want to comment on whether he believes Michalek should be suspended but that as a hitter himself, Hendricks wants to see the game stay physical without the dangerous plays.
“You do you want it to be physical, you don’t want head shots,” Hendricks said. “You don’t want guys going hunting for each other -- trying to put them out with concussions, things like that. But at the same time, if this game isn’t played physically, it’s not a very good hockey game. You see the all the skill take over; makes the game easy on a lot of the players.”
Michalek was the recipient of a questionable hit by Alex Ovechkin roughly five minutes earlier in the period, and questioned whether the discipline was being distributed to all players evenly regardless of their role in the league.
“It’s not the first time he’s hit me or somebody else like that,” Michalek said. “Some players are more protected than the others. It should be an even field. Next shift I took a penalty. It was a good call. I elbowed the guy. I just told the ref that if he’s going to make the call on me he should make it on him, too. It should be an even field no matter who makes the hit.”
More from Post Sports:
— Ovechkin won’t comment on hit before hearing
— Caps preparing for possible Ovi suspension
— Backstrom skates for first time since Jan. 6
— Ovechkin faces disciplinary hearing for hit
— Malkin’s goal vaults Penguins past Caps in OT
— Loss overshadow’s Ovi’s three-point outing