Chris Neil speared

At 8:12 of the second period on Wednesday, Ottawa’s Chris Neil was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. The ref’s decision was that Neil embellished after a phantom hit by Alex Ovechkin.

What actually happened was somewhat different. Neil plowed Ovechkin in the corner before the hit in question. Ovechkin recovered from and skated off in tandem with Neil. As Ovechkin accelerrated, his stick went into Neil’s midsection. Kinda hard. And by midsection, I mean yambag. And by yambag, I mean scrotum.

See for yourself (hit is around the 20-second mark):

When asked about the hit, Ovechkin commented, “I’m not that kind of player who would spear someone.” He does, after all, know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of a spear. Remember Danny Briere back in ’06?

I’ll leave it up to you to decide if this hit was deliberate or not, but it certainly did happen. Chris Neil should not have been assessed a penalty, and Alex Ovechkin should not have gotten away with it.

That said, the Senators certainly got their make-up calls later in the game. And if Alex Ovechkin truly meant to spear Chris Neil, we would be discussing funeral plans for Chris Neil right now.

UPDATE: Chris Neil discussed the incident after the game. Via WaPo’s Katie Carrera, Neil said, “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.”

Will we hear about this tomorrow? Oh hell yes. Even Alan May agrees,  saying, “I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a fine for it.”

What do you think?

Additional reporting by Ian Oland.

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  • Katie

    Maybe a fine but anything more than that and I would be shocked.

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  • Jack

    I’m going with not even fine. It didn’t look intentional. Maybe Neil gets a penalty shot in the parking lot with a soccer ball at 10 paces.

  • Eddie

    It looks to me like Ovi’s stick and Neil’s yambag, as you so eloquently put it, just happened to be in the same place at the same time. Didn’t look malicious to me, just bad timing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Chubes KH Chuba

    no call; no foul

  • J.P.

    Eh, Ovi’s not even looking at him when it happened. Looks unintentional, and looks like it’s more to the stomach than the ‘nads, actually

  • Avtopilot

    Well, Ovi could just allow his stick to do the damage not stopping it at the right time. But definitely, there was no poking move – if the league penalize it harder, than e.g.  highsticking – it would be wrong.

  • Liz

    I definitely don’t think that was an intentional hit. A hit, yes. But it was accidental. They just happened to be skating really close together. And I think Ovi’s a smart enough player to know not to spear someone. 

    I definitely agree with Ian on this in that if Ovi really meant it, it would have done a LOT more damage.

  • Pattyo

    Ovi was just trying to give him a little tap in the stomach, and hit a little lower. Neil DEFINITELY shouldn’t have been penalized, but ovi shouldn’t get fine either.

  • Spruha

    This is totally dumb. Two wrongs don’t make a right. So they messed up the call, the time to correct it was oft after they stopped the play. I agree with the article above, if ovi wanted to spear someone, it would have been Obvious.

  • Yvk

    Maybe some fine, but in reality shouldn’t be anything. NHL network talking about it. Interestingly, they showing some episodes from Pens-Bruins game related to Crosby, and at one moment they showed video in which BBs player harassing Crosby and they quickly exchanged with stick poking in midsection. To their honor that didn’t dropped on ice and pretended that they have a hole in stomach.  

  • Yvk

    Maybe some fine, but in reality shouldn’t be anything. NHL network talking about it. Interestingly, they showing some episodes from Pens-Bruins game related to Crosby, and at one moment they showed video in which BBs player harassing Crosby and they quickly exchanged with stick poking in midsection. To their honor that didn’t dropped on ice and pretended that they have a hole in stomach.  

  • Livia

    In the AP recap on the Capitals’ site, Chris Neil said that Ovi’s stick hit him in the abdomen: “…it was like a pitchfork right in the gut…”

  • DClark1032

    Shocked? A chance for the league to penalize Ovechkin? Of course they will if they can. However, rule 62.1 Spearing – Spearing shall mean stabbing an opponent with the point of the stick blade, whether contact is made or not. The deliberate nature of the “stabbing” word in the rule indicates to me that there has to be some intent to do so. Establishing intent is iffy in this matter. Ovi had motive, after the solid hit by Neil. And Ovi is a repeat offender, something that goes into the consideration by the league. But, in the video it seems to me like he was not looking in the direction of Neil’s yambag, or that he was doing what he normally does after a hit that he wants payback for: hit back directly with the shoulder or the hands. I am objectively pretty sure that he did not mean to do that, but I would not be shocked if the NHL hands down a suspension.

  • Avtopilot

    suspension for not controlling the stick while skating?

    Do we often see suspensions for unintentional highsticking?

  • Darla Doxstater

    Not intentional.

  • http://twitter.com/SO_CAL_Brat Jenn Maxwell

    I doubt Neil would even be talking about this had there not been a penalty called on him.
    I love his post game “Crosby-esque” comment basically begging the NHL to review the play. Dude…throw some ice on those little yambags of yours and move on.

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  • Peter

    this make the story less awesome , I’m ignoring it

  • A-Town down

    2 points…

    1.The fact that Neil went to the locker room after the “hit” to the midsection, to me, says it all. What would he need bandaged or xray’d? His stomach? Internal bleeding? What a puss. Only trying to get the diving call reversed or have Ovi served. Brouwer gets knuckles to the face, and he doesn’t rush off to the locker room. Neil should be ridiculed for life. IMO,the jab was to the belly.

    2. I am surprised RMNB didn’t bring this up on Ward’s ‘slashing’ call in the final minutes of the third. I don’t remember who was hit, but the Ottawa player pulls his hand away, shaking it, and shouting in pain. In the instant replay, there was a clear view of how it went down. The stick came down no where near the player’s hand. NOT EVEN CLOSE. Pathetic. This just shows what kind of team the Ottawa Senators. Gutless, sad, pusses

  • Sam

    Ovie MAYBE should have gotten a slash. As far as I see it Neil did dive, usually someone dives because they don’t think the penalty would be merited anyways. There’s not going to be any fine or suspension. Also, the last thought that would go through my mind after getting hit in the beanbag would be to look at the ref. Also, cups. Wear one.

  • Dworinmd

    Have you seen what these guys can do with their sticks?  Their stick-handling skills are silly.  This was intentional, and I’m not really sure what prompted it.  Neil’s hit was totally routine.  There must have been something going on before that hit.  But looking at it from two different angles now allows me to see that there is no way that this was not on purpose.  The reason it is not worse is that Ovie doesn’t want to permanently hurt somebody, he just wants to give him a bit of a wake up call.  I don’t condone it, but there are far worse plays in the average hockey game that go unnoticed. 

  • Livia

    I don’t blame you a bit!

  • Austin

    Thats just Garbage. Ovechkin cant take a hit. so he has to go out and deliberetley injure Neal. Wht Bush league. he needs a fine and a suspension.

  • Rhino40

    “Yambag”…hahahahahahaha!

  • Super_Dad_Esq

    Looked like a tap at most.  I think the diving call was warranted.  

  • 28ISGREAT

    You mean “OVious”?

  • bob

    he’s as dirty a player in the Nhl as there ever was.  He charges everybody by launching himself into an oppenent.  When challeneged to fight he skates away like the cowerd he is.