The Capitals were a bit displeased with the monster hit Nazem Kadri delivered to Alex Ovechkin in the first period of Game 5. From Toronto’s perspective, however, they didn’t see anything wrong with it.
Late in the first period, Kadri delivered a hip-check to Ovechkin that hit him square in the knee. Ovechkin went flying and lay on the ice for several moments. He was eventually helped off while not putting any weight on his left leg. You can see the play in the video above.
“I thought he got rid of the puck and I just kind of tried to get a piece of him and he tried to get out of the way,” Kadri said after the game. “It's not like I stuck my knee out or got my arms high or anything like that. It happened pretty quick. From what I saw, I thought it was okay.”
Kadri said that while he was trying to hit Ovechkin, he certainly was not trying to injure him.
“It's a pretty tender area so that could be extensive,” Kadri said. “You don't want that to be an extended injury.”
“At the end of the day,” Kadri added, “I'm cheating my teammates if I don't try to get a piece of him because he's dumping the puck in and going around our defenseman. At the end of the day, I've got no choice. I've got to try and hold him up and save my defensemen.”
Toronto head coach Mike Babcock agreed.
While Kadri easily could have been given a five-minute major for clipping, he was instead assessed a two-minute minor for tripping. Even that was too much in Babcock's mind.
“It's interesting, [Barry Trotz] probably thought there should have been a major, I thought there should have been no penalty,” Babcock said. “That's the beauty of the playoffs. The other night when [Roman Polak's] done for the year, our bench thought it should have been a major and they thought it should be no penalty. That's kind of the playoffs so we try to get someone in between who's probably more reasonable than a coach.”
Luckily for the Caps, Ovechkin returned for the start of the second period. Though Kadri was glad to see Ovechkin was not seriously hurt, that does not mean he was all that thrilled to see him back for the second period.
Said Kadri, “I'm not quite sure I was happy to see him come back on the ice.”
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