Washington’s Alex Ovechkin is pulled off a motionless Andrei Svechnikov of the Carolina Hurricanes during the first period of Game 3 of their first round series on Monday. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Life is full of decisions that we regret.
I, for one, regret going to prom with my aunt while in high school.
If your name is Andrei Svechnikov, you probably regret dropping the gloves with Alex Ovechkin during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference first round series between the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night.
With the Hurricanes down 2-0 in the best-of-seven series — but up 1-0 in the first period of the game — Svechnikov and Ovechkin began to battle and trade shots while in the Capitals’ defensive zone. After some chatter, the Hurricanes’ rookie and debatably the greatest goal scorer in NHL history dropped the gloves.
The two traded shots before Washington’s captain caught Svechnikov with a firm right that caused him to crumple to the ice. In the process, his helmet became dislodged, his head slammed onto the ice and he appeared to be knocked out cold.
A different angle of the tilt displays the gruesome moment a little clearer.
The Hurricanes training staff quickly ran onto the ice to tend to the 19-year-old who, fortunately, was able to leave the game under his own power.
To nobody’s surprise, it was announced later that he would not return for the remainder of the game.
Following Carolina’s 5-0 victory on home ice to get themselves back into the first round matchup, the health of their young teammate was top of mind for the Hurricanes.
Dougie Hamilton on Svechkinov:”I don’t really know what to say. I kept thinking about him the whole game. I hated seeing that. I just feel so bad for him. The game doesn’t really matter when something like that happens, you just can’t get it out of your head. I just hope he’s OK”
— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) April 16, 2019
Having watched the video a few times now, you have to wonder why this tilt became a reality. Svechnikov entered the contest with exactly zero NHL fights to his name. In fact, the last time he dropped the gloves was during a preseason game while with the OHL’s Barrie Colts in 2017, according to hockeyfights.com.
While the opportunity to get under the skin of one of Washington’s top players and take him out of the game for five minutes is intriguing, the risk just isn’t worth it. Ovechkin may only have four NHL fights to his name — the last coming nearly a decade ago against Brandon Dubinsky — but his experience at this level and 40-pound weight advantage shouldn’t have been ignored by Svechnikov.
It’s not his job to beat the Capitals with his fists. After scoring 20 goals and collecting 37 points in his rookie season, the second overall pick in the 2018 draft should be trying to beat them with his high-end skill and ability.
Hopefully he’ll have the opportunity to return to this series when healthy and do just that.
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