Capitals winger Matt Hendricks agrees that this Eastern Conference semifinal series with the New York Rangers has lacked a bit of the anger that sometimes characterizes these events. Doesn’t mean the two teams lack issues with each other. The Rangers were upset over Alex Ovechkin’s hit on defenseman Dan Girardi during Game 4 on Saturday. The play drew a two-minute charging penalty, but no further discipline from the NHL.
It appeared Ovechkin left his skates, though depending on the replay angle used you could either argue Ovechkin hit Girardi’s shoulder first or kept one skate on the ground. Or you could find one that supported a possible suspension. Whatever. The series still lacks the utter contempt New York had for the Ottawa Senators in the first round or the back-and-forth grousing that Washington and Boston displayed in their first-round series.
“Like I said earlier in this series, hate is a big word. We dislike each other,” Hendricks said of the Rangers. “We’ve battled through regular season. Last year in the playoffs, last year in the regular season. Since I’ve been here there’s a little bit of dislike. We both play the same type of hockey. And when games are close and tight like that you find those scrappy games. I think for the most part things have been clean because both teams know what’s at stake here. You can’t afford to take a bad penalty, take a suspension, do anything like that that’s going to hurt your team and hurt the outcome of the score.”
Hendricks was himself drilled at center ice by Girardi – another hit that seemed a bit high. No penalty was called however and Hendricks didn’t expect one. That’s in part because he put himself in a bad position in a bad spot on the ice. You get what you deserve, to a certain extent. But he wasn't exactly excited to be asked about it - or the Ovechkin/Girardi hit, for that matter.
“I don’t know. I think you guys make more of it than we do,” Hendricks said.
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