Ovechkin deserves nothing for hit on Girardi

Ovechkin deserves nothing for hit on Girardi
May 5, 2012, 9:34 pm
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Alex Ovechlin has been suspended three times in his NHL career and fined twice.

With that in mind, there will be those, including NBC analyst Mike Milbury, who believe the Capitals captain should be brought in front of league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan for his hit on Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi midway through the second period of Saturdays 3-2 win in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

With all due respect to Milbury, Ovechkins hit deserves nothing more than the two-minute minor it received on Saturday. No hearing, no phone call, no suspension, no fine.

The play in question occurred 12:17 into the second period when Ovechkin drove his shoulder into the shoulder of Girardi. At the time, the puck was a few feet away from Girardis outstretched stick.

I just missed the puck, Ovechkin said. I saw he was coming, so I just hit him.

Asked if he hit Girardi in the head, Ovechkin seemed incredulous.

No, he said, I hit him in the shoulder.

Girardi had a slightly different view.

He hit my head a bit there, I think it was the right call, Girardi told reporters. Im not sure what it was, charging or interference. My heads kind of there, I think hes just
playing the game hard.

Capitals coach Dale Hunter called the hit incidental contact, adding that both players were protecting themselves and trying to get out of each others way.

If Shanahan decides to review the hit it will be because Ovechkin left his feet just before making contact. If he deems that the case, it is possible Shanahan slaps Ovechkin with a fine.

But suspending Ovechkin for the most pivotal game of the series would be completely irresponsible and unwarranted.