Ovechkin escapes punishment for spearing Neil

Alex Ovechkin has escaped punishment for spearing Chris Neil on Wednesday

By Ken Warren

NEWARK, New Jersey – Alex Ovechkin has escaped punishment for spearing Chris Neil on Wednesday.

While NHL discipline chief Brendan Shanahan suspended Andy Sutton of the Edmonton Oilers indefinitely, Ovechkin skated away free from his stickwork on the Senators rugged winger. The incident happened after Neil hit Ovechkin with a clean, solid hit along the end boards in the Senators zone. As the play moved up the ice, Ovechkin caught Neil “above the belly button”.
Ovechkin received no penalty, but Neil was nabbed with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty because officials deemed he had taken a dive to embellish the stickwork.
Neil couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if the skate – er, stick – was on the other foot.
“If the roles were switched around, it probably would be a little different,” Neil said on Thursday, before it was learned that Ovechkin received no supplemental discipline.
In one breath, Neil paid the ultimate compliment to Ovechkin, calling him “the best player in the league”. Yet he was clearly upset with how Ovechkin chose to retaliate.
“If you want to get back at me, make a clean hit on me,” Neil said. “I told him on the ice that he’s better than that and he knows that, as well.”
While Neil was sporting a bruise from the play, the pain from being labelled a diver hurt more.

“I’m one of the most honest players with the way I play,” he said. “If (the officials) didn’t see it, how can they call an unsportsmanlike (penalty)?”

View video of the incident under the Video tab above or at the bottom of the main screen.

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