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CAPITALS: Alex Ovechkin, Dan Girardi Express Thoughts On Charging Call
WASHINGTON – Alex Ovechkin was called for charging on Dan Girardi midway through the third period of the Washington Capitals’ 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday – a move that could end up subjecting Ovechkin to a disciplinary hearing and a potential suspension.
Capitals center Brooks Laich and Girardi, a defenseman, were both in pursuit of a loose puck in the Rangers’ defensive zone when Ovechkin, instead of making a play for the puck, leaned his left shoulder forward, left his feet and collided with Girardi 12:17 into the second period.
Ovechkin appeared to hit Girardi’s right shoulder, but whether any conduct with Girardi’s head was made was unclear. Ovechkin said he hit Girardi in the shoulder; Girardi said Ovechkin hit him in the head first.
“I saw him coming, then he hit me,” Girardi said. “Obviously I knew he was gonna hit me, and he’s a big guy, but I saw it coming.”
Washington head coach Dale Hunter hadn’t yet seen a replay of the hit when asked after the game. New York head coach John Tortorella answered one question about the Capitals’ power play and didn’t answer any others.
“I think both of them were surprised they hit each other,” Hunter said. “It was incidental contact where both of them were looking down and they hit each other.”
If the NHL decides to review the hit, Ovechkin could be subjected to additional discipline. He was suspended for one game in January for a hit on Pittsburgh defenseman Zbynek Michalek, and the league typically takes a look at both the intent and aftermath of such penalties when the offending player leaves his feet.
Ovechkin had to be separated by officials following a strong exchange of words with the Rangers’ Brandon Prust before heading to the penalty box.
He said afterward he was trying to protect himself from Girardi while making the hit. Girardi, knowing his own intent, didn’t agree.
“I’m not even gonna get in the middle of that,” Girardi said.
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