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Ovechkin avoids punishment after spearing Neil

Dec 8, 2011, 3:30 PM EDT

An NHL spokesman has confirmed Washington Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin won’t be fined or suspended for his spear on Ottawa’s Chris Neil, according to Stephen Whyno of The Washington Times.

The incident occurred midway through the second period of Washington’s 5-3 win Wednesday night. Ovechkin, reacting to a hit thrown by Neil, utilized his stick in less-than-gentlemanly fashion and appeared to catch Neil in an uncomfortable place (no, not the back of a Volkswagen.)

“I’m not that kind of player… who would spear someone,” Ovechkin told Sportsnet after the game.

Neil was given a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct (diving) penalty on the play.

“Almost like a pitchfork right in the gut, so it’s frustrating (there was) no call on the play and I ended up getting the penalty for it,” Neil said afterwards. “We make mistakes out there, too. And so do the refs.”

  1. bcjim - Dec 8, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    The only way I see he could have been hurt is of he had no cup. Otherwise..how could that have resulted in that reaction? The force of the impact was just not severe looking. Purposeful? Eh, maybe but I couldn’t say for sure.

  2. govtminion - Dec 8, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    This is why I’m pleased to have someone like Shanahan running the show now. He’s played the modern NHL game, he knows what a spear looks like and what a dive looks like, and so he knew what this really was- Neil trying to draw a penalty. Good call by Shanahan.

  3. hystoracle - Dec 8, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    Great spear by Ovechkin.. Did a good job making it appear as though it was part of his normal stride. Definitely a cheap shot to the gut. Could have seriously injured the other player. Nice to know where the line is drawn with the NHL on who gets suspended.. If this exact same play happened the other way around Neil would have gotten a 5 game vacation.

    • dcfan4life - Dec 8, 2011 at 4:43 PM

      If a known badboy hockey player purposely spears a guy and that guy is genuinely injured yes, 5 game suspension. But if a wild but not malicious hockey player spears a guy possibly on accident, and its quite clear the guys reaction is way over the top, then yes, nothing should happen. Did you even see the play, and how ridiculous Neils reaction was? Cmon, if anything Ovie should have gotten a minor as well, but definately nothing else.

      • paulsdamnblog - Dec 8, 2011 at 5:12 PM

        Agree with you on the minor penalty if anything, but c’mon, Ovie’s not malicious? The guy is known to lead with his knee and he’s never been affraid to take “liberties” with other prone players. The difference between Ovechkin and other malicious players is the talent and personality he brings to the ice, that’s it. Yeah, he’s beens suspended and for good reason, but he still gets away with a lot of things that other players don’t.

      • caps44 - Dec 8, 2011 at 10:54 PM

        Problem is that spearing with contact is a major & game misconduct. Attempted spearing is a double minor. As for the other comments concerning Ovechkin’s “wildness,” several commentators are a little too late. Those penalties were two seasons ago. Yes, he was too wild in the early months of the 2009-2010 season and he paid heavily. Since then? nothing!

    • flavadave10 - Dec 8, 2011 at 4:52 PM

      Could have severely injured the other player? If the other player was Rick DiPietro or someone like him who has bones made of glass, then maybe.

      Also, Ovechkin’s been suspended by the NHL before, so there goes your argument.

  4. cshearing - Dec 8, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    I have no problem with no suspension. I did have a problem with the diving penalty on Neil.

    • flavadave10 - Dec 8, 2011 at 4:58 PM

      Neil did overreact a tad bit, which is why I think the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was called. Refs can’t see everything.

  5. stakex - Dec 8, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    Good call on the leagues part. Theres no clear intent by Ovechkin (it MIGHT have been intentional but its very hard to tell), and Neil clearly was over playing how nasty the contact was. There probably should have been a penelty on Ovechkin since, even if its an accident, a player is suppose to be in control of their stick. However a minor penelty is all that was warrented on the play.

    On that note, the title of this article is idiotic. Clearly the league did not think this was a spear, otherwise Ovechkin would have at least been fined.

    • Mike Halford - Dec 8, 2011 at 4:45 PM

      I’m on a word count. “Ovechkin avoids punishment after sticking stick in Neil’s groin” doesn’t exactly have a ring to it, either.

      • stakex - Dec 8, 2011 at 6:33 PM

        Fair enough.

  6. laurely515 - Dec 8, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    Yeah, I think Shanahan made the right decision here, but more than anything I really love the Mallrats reference.

  7. 187onsandusky - Dec 8, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    Didn’t realize Ovie shopped at Fashionable Male.

    Clearly some of Affleck’s best work.

    • michiganhockey11 - Dec 9, 2011 at 8:50 AM

      Glad I am not the only one who can appreciate the humor that Mr. Mike Halford slipped in the article.

      “Breakfast? Breakfast, shmreakfast. Look at the score, for Christ’s sake. It’s only the second period and I’m up 12 to 2. Breakfasts come and go, Rene, but Hartford, “the Whale,” they only beat Vancouver once, maybe twice in a lifetime.”

  8. sippindasyzurp - Dec 8, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    I think you all should take a look at Kerry Fraser’s explanation of why ovie should have gotten 5 and a game… It confirms what I had said before, Ovie is not doing himself any favors with these incidents cause referee’s will be on higher alert now

    http://tsn.ca/blogs/kerry_fraser/?id=382268

    • govtminion - Dec 8, 2011 at 6:08 PM

      If anyone’s credibility can be questioned, it’s Kerry Fraser. Good that he can make such judgement calls from his living room now, but was so maddeningly inconsistent about it when he was actually on the ice.

      *somewhere, Doug Gilmour is silently nodding his head*

  9. jpelle82 - Dec 8, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    caps should have hoped for a suspension…maybe they would win some games without him and light a spark under his ass to come back and play to his potential

    • stakex - Dec 8, 2011 at 6:41 PM

      Well an argument could be made that last night was the first time in a while Ovechkin looked like his old self, and i don’t just mean his goal. He was moving his feet all night, and generated several really good scoring chances. The worst thing that could have happened to Ovechkin is being suspended right after he finally starts showing a little confidence again.

      Another thing to consider: The last time Ovechkin looked really good, he was suspened twice in a rather short period or time and hasn’t really been the same ever since. I think your logic is a touch flawed.

  10. xxshookonexx - Dec 8, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    Looked like an overreaction by neal what do i know..hopefully this means when Neal goes after him next time…..he will actually stick for himself for once

    • seanp703 - Dec 9, 2011 at 2:23 AM

      Ovy will throw down bro. Did you not see the rangers game last year? He’s been ready a couple other times aswell, taken his helmet off and dropped the gloves. Hendricks and Bradley stepped in to protect the best hockey player on the planet.

  11. hawkinsob - Dec 9, 2011 at 1:41 AM

    Maybe Neil overreacted, but that was a super deliberate move by Ovechkin. Anyone who says “maybe” is kidding themselves. Look at the replay. Clear retaliation with an in-stride gut shot as he went by. The game announcers jumped all over it too because it was that obvious.

    • stakex - Dec 9, 2011 at 2:33 AM

      Well they jumped all over it because they were Ottawa announcers.

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