NHL Hockey

Ovechkin punch puts Carolina rookie into concussion protocol

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

By AARON BEARD

AP Sports Writer

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) A barrage of punches from Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin could have an impact on the Stanley Cup champions' playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Ovechkin floored Carolina rookie Andrei Svechnikov with a right hook during the first period of Monday night's 5-0 loss to the Hurricanes in Game 3 of their first-round series. This was a rare fight for Ovechkin, one that knocked the 19-year-old Svechnikov from the game when he banged his helmet on the ice as he fell backward and ended up in concussion protocol.

Svechnikov, who had two goals in his playoff debut last week, was helped to the locker room and didn't return. That left his status unclear with the Capitals up 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour said Tuesday he "would assume" Svechnikov will miss Thursday's Game 4, and the team will be careful with his return.

"First of all I hope he's OK," Ovechkin said. "You're right: I'm not a big fighter ... He asked me to fight, I said, `Let's go, yeah.' So, I hope he's OK. You don't want to see a guy get hurt or something."

It was Ovechkin's fourth career fight and first since 2010, according to HockeyFights.com. It was his first in the playoffs, while Svechnikov had not been in a fight all season.

"How do you comment on it? It's a little bit tough because I just heard Ovie talk about it. He said our guy challenged him," Brind'Amour said after Monday night's game. "If that's the case, it's a little different.

"But if you watch the video, because I got to watch it, he slashes him twice, Ovie - whack, whack - and then Svech gives it back. And then, I don't know if there's words exchanged, but one guy's gloves come off way first. And that's Ovie, it's not our guy."

It was less than a year ago that Svechnikov got the chance to meet a player he had long looked up to before the Capitals closed their Cup run and before Svechnikov was the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.

"It's just an honor to have met with him," Svechnikov said then of meeting Ovechkin.

This time, things weren't quite so friendly.

The two Russians fought with 9:01 left in the first period. Ovechkin - with a 40-pound weight advantage - locked a firm hold on Svechnikov's collar while throwing a steady bombardment of punches.

He eventually landed one squarely in the center of Svechnikov's face. And as the rookie started falling backward, Ovechkin kept his hold and delivered a final blow toward Svechnikov's forehead as they fell.

As Ovechkin skated to the penalty box for a 5-minute fighting penalty, Svechnikov was flat on his back, dazed and struggling to sit up as teammates Jordan Staal and Justin Faulk skated to him.

Svechnikov eventually was able to stand but was wobbly as he was helped off the ice.

Brind'Amour said he was "still sick to my stomach about it."

"It's a little bit frustrating, because he got hurt, it's his first fight," Brind'Amour said. "He's played 90 games, he never fought in his life, I'm pretty sure Ovie knew that.

"So that stuff bothers me, because that's...," Brind'Amour said, his voice trailing off, "but it's done."

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Updated April 16, 2019

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Teams Score Time
NFL
Buffalo 27 F
Carolina 14
Teams Score Time
Interleague
New York 1 8th
Kansas City 2
New York   7:15pm
Kansas City  
American League
Cleveland 2 F
New York 3
Seattle 3 F
Toronto 7
Baltimore 1 F
Boston 9
Detroit 2 F
Tampa Bay 0
Minnesota 4 8th
Texas 3
Chicago 0 2nd
Los Angeles 0
Houston 0 3rd
Oakland 0
Cleveland   1:05pm
New York  
Seattle   3:07pm
Toronto  
Houston   4:05pm
Oakland  
Detroit   6:10pm
Tampa Bay  
Baltimore   7:10pm
Boston  
Minnesota   8:05pm
Texas  
Chicago   9:07pm
Los Angeles  
National League
Chicago 2 F
Pittsburgh 3
Milwaukee 1 F
Washington 2
San Diego 4 F
Philadelphia 8
St. Louis 13 F
Cincinnati 4
Los Angeles 8 F
Atlanta 3
Miami 0 7th
Colorado 2
San Francisco 4 4th
Arizona 1
Chicago   1:35pm
Pittsburgh  
St. Louis   6:40pm
Cincinnati  
Milwaukee   7:05pm
Washington  
San Diego   7:05pm
Philadelphia  
Los Angeles   7:20pm
Atlanta  
Miami   8:10pm
Colorado  
San Francisco   8:10pm
Arizona  
Teams Score Time
Buffalo 27 F
Carolina 14
Chicago 13 F
New York 32
Miami 14 0:34 4th
Tampa Bay 13
Cleveland   4:00pm
Indianapolis  
New England   7:00pm
Tennessee  
Kansas City   7:30pm
Pittsburgh  
Detroit   8:00pm
Houston  
Dallas   10:00pm
Los Angeles  
New Orleans   Sun 4:00pm
Los Angeles  
Seattle   Sun 8:00pm
Minnesota  
San Francisco   Mon 8:00pm
Denver  
BMW Championship
Pos Name Score Thru
1 Hideki Matsuyama -12 1:00pm
2 Patrick Cantlay -11 1:00pm
2 Tony Finau -11 12:50pm
4 Justin Thomas -10 12:50pm
5 Corey Conners -9 12:20pm
5 Lucas Glover -9 12:40pm
5 Adam Hadwin -9 12:40pm
5 Chez Reavie -9 12:30pm
5 Rory Sabbatini -9 12:30pm
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES AT MICHIGAN
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 4 Kevin Harvick 2
2 11 Denny Hamlin 14
3 42 Kyle Larson 17
4 19 Martin Truex Jr 15
5 41 Daniel Suarez 11
6 18 Kyle Busch 22
7 47 Ryan Preece 29
8 24 William Byron 3
9 9 Chase Elliott 6
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT BRISTOL
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 2 Tyler Reddick 38
2 98 Chase Briscoe 6
3 23 John Hunter Nemechek 9
4 51 Jeremy Clements 5
5 22 Austin Cindric 1
6 08 Gray Gaulding 13
7 61 Timmy Hill 21
8 7 Justin Allgaier 3
9 1 Michael Annett 15
NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES AT BRISTOL
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 24 Brett Moffitt 1
2 51 Chandler Smith 7
3 4 Ross Chastain 2
4 52 Stewart Friesen 3
5 98 Grant Enfinger 14
6 2 Sheldon Creed 24
7 88 Matt Crafton 11
8 99 Ben Rhodes 4
9 4 Todd Gilliland 17