April 16, 2019

Alex Ovechkin Knocks Out Chippy Opponent in Fight: In only the fourth fight of his storied NHL career, Alex Ovechkin squared up against Andrei Svechnikov and knocked out the 19-year-old winger, putting him out of the first-round playoff game and into the league's concussion protocol. Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour wasn't happy about what happened to Svechnikov. "He's played 90 games, he's never fought in his life, and I'm pretty sure Ovi knew that," he said. "That stuff bothers me." Later he softened his tone and said, "He said our guy challenged him, so if that's the case, it's a little different."

posted by rcade to hockey at 08:19 PM - 8 comments

"Back in my era, no one ever apologized for a fight. That's kind of the stock thing that Ovi did, now you say, 'Oh, I hope he's all right.' Every hit from behind, every big-time hit in the middle of the ice, players are saying, Well, I hope he's okay.' Well, I never sent a text, I never sent a thank you, I never sent a letter. I never had anyone visit me when they hurt me, so, you know what, it happened." -- ex player-turned-broadcaster Alan May

posted by rcade at 08:25 PM on April 16, 2019

There's a difference between a dirty hit and a mutually-agreed-upon fight (if that really is what happened on Monday). When the two players decide to drop the gloves and go at it, they do so pursuant to their roles as professional hockey players. And I can see how, as professionals, you want to win the fight, but you don't want to hurt the opponent. So Alan May be damned, I think Ovi sincerely didn't want to hurt Svechnikov, he did what he had to do under the circumstances, and now he genuinely feels bad for the kid that he has to sit because he's concussed.

The kid showed grit squaring off against the bigger, stronger, heavier Ovechkin. And I don't anticipate a rematch.

posted by tahoemoj at 11:59 AM on April 17, 2019

I don't question Ovechkin accepting a challenge to fight.

But the idea you can choose to fight somebody in hockey while not wanting to hurt them seems pretty dubious to me. It would be more honest if Ovechkin said "you don't want to see a guy get seriously hurt" than "you don't want to see a guy get hurt."

He wanted to hurt Svechnikov. Svechnikov wanted to hurt him. That's the whole point of punching somebody repeatedly in the head.

Hockey fights haven't yet become baseball fights. There are genuine punches thrown and they often continue until somebody is getting creamed.

posted by rcade at 02:19 PM on April 17, 2019

the idea you can choose to fight somebody in hockey while not wanting to hurt them seems pretty dubious to me.

Let me rephrase. Of course you want to "hurt" your opponent--as in, make them feel pain, or hurt.

You don't generally want to "hurt" your opponent--as in INJURE them. I know almost every hockey player wants to deliver a big hit, but you don't want the recipient of that hit to break a bone or be concussed.

posted by tahoemoj at 03:42 PM on April 17, 2019

Hockey fights haven't yet become baseball fights

The undercard to this one was Ryan v. Ventura. Mixed age and weight divisions, one round, no holds barred.

The time I really wished baseball was like hockey was when Pete Rose ran into Ray Fosse in the 1970 All Star game. I would have loved to see someone from the AL squad ring Rose's bell.

posted by beaverboard at 01:07 AM on April 18, 2019

Here's the thing that people either don't care about or are completely overlooking: the wind seemed to have been taken out of Washington's sails after that fight. Sure, they continued to play dirty, but they got completely dominated in all other aspects of that game. I mean, they had one single solitary shot on goal in the 2nd period.

posted by NoMich at 09:00 AM on April 18, 2019

As much as I loved celebrating Ryan's pugilism, I believe that Ventura decided halfway to the mound that he couldn't punch a legend but couldn't turn around either.

posted by rcade at 11:20 AM on April 18, 2019

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