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.