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Was Alex Ovechkin benched or not?

Philadelphia Flyers v Washington Capitals

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals skates with puck during the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Verizon Center on March 4, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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Last night’s 1-0 Flyers win over the Capitals didn’t come without its share of drama. While Ilya Bryzgalov was busy earning accolades for the shutout, questions surrounded the absence of Alex Ovechkin during the second period.

For over seven minutes following the only goal of the game, Ovechkin sat planted at the end of the bench. Perhaps because he admittedly turned the puck over then later failed to block the shot that led to the goal.

“It’s tough loss for us, I think,” Ovechkin told reporters. “My mistake cost us two points and it cost us the game.”

Coach Dale Hunter, meanwhile, denied he benched his leading scorer.

“Guys, it’s not a benching. Maybe he missed a shift. Guys, I was matching lines,” Hunter explained. “I definitely was matching lines, it was one of those things that he wasn’t the right match up. I didn’t want him against [Jaromir] Jagr and Jagr’s line.”

Fair enough. But when a guy sits for over seven minutes, that sure seems like a benching.

And if Ovechkin was being taught a lesson in accountability, as’s Chuck Gormley asserts, it points to a bigger problem for the Caps -- the fact its captain has to be taught accountability with the season on the line.