Pretty eventful night for Alex Ovechkin on Wednesday night during his team's 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators, which was the result of a four-goal third period rally by the Capitals.
During the second period, Ottawa's Chris Neil delivered a heavy, clean hit on Ovechkin near the corner boards. As the two players started to skate up the ice to get themselves back into the play, Neil appeared to get speared by Ovechkin somewhere in the midsection (whether the stick hit him in the stomach or the groin area isn't easily seen) and dropped to the ice.
He immediately went to the locker room for a brief period of time before later returning to the game.
You can easily argue that Neil did some work in an effort to sell a potential call to the officials (and it wouldn't be the first time he's been guilty of that), and you can also easily argue that, perhaps, the "spearing" motion was simply an extension of Ovechkin's skating motion. But even if that was the case (and I don't think it was ... it was most likely a retaliation following a big hit) players must have control of their stick at all times, and a penalty probably should have been called.
According to the NHL's rule for "spearing," a penalty is to be issued for "stabbing an opponent with the point of the stick blade, whether contact is made or not."
Ovechkin was not penalized, while Neil was issued a two-minute for diving. Here's the, via Kukla's Korner, for you to come to your own conclusions.
For the remainder of the game Ovechkin heard a chorus of boos every time he touched the puck.
He ended up getting the last laugh, of course, not only because his team came out on top, but also because he scored the type of goal we've been waiting for him to score all season, creating space for himself and leaving defenders in his dust before firing a puck past Senators goalie Craig Anderson.
That's the Ovechkin we're looking for.