Hockey's version of Capital punishment normally involves young Washington superstar Alexander Ovechkin humiliating an opponent on the ice with a nifty one-on-one move, or rocketing a laser past a helpless netminder.
But Alexander The Great accidentally delivered pain of a different kind on Friday night when he nailed teammate Chris Clark on the side of the head with a slap shot during a 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
Ovechkin -- with six goals and 13 points in 10 games -- was attempting to hit the net, of course, but these days everything the Washington Capitals touch seems to goes wrong.
Having won just once in their past seven games, the Caps arrived in Toronto yesterday without Clark, whose ear was pretty much mangled by the whizzing puck. He might still make it in time for tonight's game against the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre, although he remains questionable at best.
"I didn't want to shoot high because there were a lot of people over there," Ovechkin told reporters following the Canucks game.
Another two Caps regulars are questionable for tonight's tilt, as well.
Defenceman Tom Poti, who has missed the past two games with a groin strain, will attempt to take the morning skate before making a decision on his availability.
Forward Alexander Semin, meanwhile, aggravated a right ankle sprain against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday and is day to day.
That, however, didn't stop the Capitals from signing their other young sniper to a two-year, $9.2-million US extension.
Next on the negotiation agenda is Ovechkin, who is in the final year of a bonus-laden entry deal that will see him earn up to $3.85 million this season. The two sides are said to have had informal talks to this point. Without a new contract, Ovechkin could become a restricted free agent next summer.