Late in the first period Wednesday night, a Caps power play turned into a 5-on-3 disadvantage when New York’s Derek Stepan managed to draw two minor penalties out of one collision, seen here.

Whether or not you agree with the penalty call(s) is up to you. Certainly, there were bodies flying everywhere. But I think we can all agree that no heads were hit during the incident.

And yet here was the call on NBC Sports Network, by Doc Emrick and Pierre McGuire.


Emrick: Stepan closed off, and boomed into by Ovechkin, and there’ll be a penalty coming up.

McGuire: Doc, this is a head shot.

Emrick: And Callahan goes over.


McGuire: And he should. This is a headshot. I understand everybody wants physical hockey. They go right after Stepan’s head here. You see Derek Stepan, and watch, right into the head. And I don’t know if it’s a fly-by or not, but that does some serious damage to Martin Erat. Let’s see. [Ovechkin] doesn’t get the head, he gets the arm. The head hits the ice. So there’s no contact to the head, but there’s a lot of physical contact, and Erat gets the worst of it. So there’s the hook from Erat, and there’s the rough by Ovechkin, and they get both of those because of the Rangers’ aggressive short-hand play.


Now I really, really, really hate to feed into the Caps fan’s conspiratorial belief that the national media are biased against them. But McGuire, a longtime Ovechkin critic, called this a head shot four times before having a good enough look to determine that no, Ovechkin did not in any way hit Stepan’s head. And then he said Stepan’s head hit the ice, despite a replay showing that no, despite a hard fall, Stepan’s head did not hit the ice.



Again, maybe it’s a penalty, maybe it isn’t. But it’s not a head shot. And the Comcast SportsNet crew somehow managed not to make that mistake.

Watch the full sequence below, via Russian Machine, from where these screengrabs came.