Will Alex Ovechkin get called on the carpet?
The NHL rolls out a red carpet when the Washington Capitals superstar is around, but VP of safety Brendan Shanahan has to decide whether Ovechkin is going to face a suspension for his actions in Game 4 Saturday.
In the second period of the club’s 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers, Ovechkin ignored the puck, left his feet and went for a head hit on defenceman Dan Girardi. This is exactly, what the NHL wants to stop.
Given Shanahan’s history with star players (Nashville D Shea Weber for example) in these playoffs and the fact Girardi didn’t even miss a shift, it’s doubtful Ovechkin is going to get anything for his actions.
Ovechkin was given a minor for charging and the CBC analysts couldn’t rush to his defence quick enough.
“I’m not giving him a suspension because it happened too bang-bang,” said former Caps coach Bruce Boudreau, working for HNIC as an analyst. “I think it was reaction that he left his feet for protection.
“Even though he did it, he was looking at the puck, then he sees a guy there and he goes, ‘Oops, I’m going to get him.’ He was more protecting himself.”
Only former goalie Kelly Hrudey disagreed. We’ll find out pretty quickly where Shanahan stands.
AROUND THE BOARDS:
The Rangers were outshot 14-3 in the first and Washington G Braden Holtby wasn’t forced to make any stops for the final 9:31 of the period. That spared viewers the pictures of his parents “Ooohing and Awwing” in the stands. Nice story but it became a little tiresome in triple-OT ... Excellent shot of the worker having a smoke while the Rangers got off the team bus in CBC’s opening ... Caps RW Mike Knuble did his best dive job to try to knock the puck by New York G Henrik Lundqvist in the third. The NHL and the officials didn’t fall for it. No goal ... Why did the Caps tie the series up? They beat New York at its own game by winning the blocked shots category 26-7. Dale Hunter hockey right there ... Blueshirts D Stu Bickel played 3:43 in the first which was 19 seconds more than he saw in the triple-OT game Wednesday. Bickel finished with 7:02.
THE MORNING SKATE:
Don’t get the sense New York coach John Tortorella was having a nice chat with C Artem Anisimov when the cameras caught the duo having an animated discussion. Tortorella was doing all the talking and sending a long message. Apparently the advice worked, Anisimov tied it up at 1:10 of the second and even earned a pat on the back from Tortorella ... Anybody remember when Caps D Mike Green was a Norris Trophy candidate? No, me neither but he sure looked like one on the winning goal in the third. Only his second in 35 games. “Nice to get one, especially since I hadn’t scored in a while,” he told CBC’s Elliotte Friedman .... Holtby looked brutal on Rangers second goal. He should have played the puck instead of standing there signalling an icing that had been waved off. The result: Marian Gaborik ties it up 2-2 on a pass from Anisimov.
THINGS I THINK I THINK:
G Henrik Lundqvist made a brilliant glove stop on Ovechkin early in the first and one on Nicklas Backstrom in the third. Both were unreal. Why couldn’t he stop Ovechkin’s lousy shot that slipped through the glove at 12:43 of the first. Lundqvist has to make the easy saves as well ... Tried watching part of Team Canada vs. USA at the world championships, couldn’t get through 10 minutes of the first. Give me the intensity of the NHL playoffs anytime ... If you’re wondering why you had to watch re-runs of Gunsmoke Saturday night, host Ron MacLean got that out of the way at 12:30 p.m. “It’s Derby Day,” said MacLean. He forgot to mention NBC runs the league.
RUMOURS DU JOUR:
The coaching carousel is going to turn soon. Waiting to find out if Guy Boucher (Tampa), Alain Vigneault (Vancouver), Joel Quenneville (Chicago) and Todd McLellan (San Jose) are going to be back. If Boucher or Vigneault get fired, they will vault to the top of coaching list in Montreal. All five are having their positions reviewed and Quenneville is on the thinnest ice. GM Mike Gillis wants Vigneault back in Vancouver but needs clearance from ownership ... The suitors will line up for New Jersey C Zach Parise on July 1. Detroit is going to make a pitch along with Minnesota. Don’t be shocked if the Bruins try to find a way. They haven’t got much room under the salary cap but GM Peter Chiarelli has a history of shrewd moves ... Montreal GM Marc Bergevin has work cut out for him. He has to sign G Carey Price and talk is he’s seeking a contract similar to the seven-year, $49 million deal to Nashville gave G Pekka Rinne earlier this season. No column is complete without a little gossip.
Have a nice Sunday.