Monday, May 07, 2012

Alex Ovechkin, Dan Girardi Involved in Questionable Hits

Much has been made since Saturday's Washington win over the New York Rangers of a hit by Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin on New York defenseman Dan Girardi. Puck Daddy has more. Let's go to the videotape.

It doesn't sound like Ovechkin will face a suspension, which will surely endear him to Ranger fans as they play Game 5 at the Garden Monday night.

I don't have a real problem with the decision. At 0:09 of the video, you can see Ovechkin make what I believe to be contact with Girardi's shoulder. He may have hit Girardi's head, but I believe the principal point of contact was the shoulder.

Since Ovechkin left his feet before contact, a charging call is the correct one here.

The problem I have with this issue is how much control the media has over the fans. The Ovechkin hit was talked about, debated, and shown many times over the weekend. Fans had a chance to throw opinions out there and debate whether Ovechkin -- a repeat offender -- should face discipline.

But -- via my SB Nation friends at Japer's Rink -- what about this hit?

Puck? Gone.

Hendricks? Unsuspecting of the hit.

Contact? High.

I don't think Girardi should be suspended for this hit, but if you feel differently about the Ovechkin hit, how can you not think that way here? No, Girardi didn't leave his feet, but that's not the only qualifier for a questionable hit. Just ask Claude Giroux.

Giroux should have a hearing on this one. Wouldn't be surprised if he sat a game, simply because there appears to be more intent to make contact with the head, and direct contact with the head was indeed made.

The NHL has made some tough decisions, and I haven't agreed with all of them. But the league got the Raffi Torres call right, and I believe they have come closer to being right on most of the decisions made this postseason, outside of the Shea Weber debacling.

As the playoffs go on, it doesn't seem like a strech to say there are more difficult decisions to come for the Department of Player Safety.

No comments: