Welcome to physical hockey, sponsored by Alex Ovechkin. He didn’t have a great full game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night, but the Washington Capitals’ captain set the tone with a big hit in the first period on Craig Adams.
“Ovi put that guy into the stands in the first period,” Alzner said. “That was pretty cool to see. That’s what we need to do. We’ve got to be like that against every team. It wears them down. We know from experience that it sucks getting hit.”
The rivalry might have been dulled by the absences of Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal and Kris Letang – a quintet that could run roughshod over the NHL if put together – but this game included plenty of hits. It wasn’t always the most entertaining hockey back and forth, but physically it was worth the price of admission.
“We wanted to come out physical. I think it was going to be a physical game no matter when we play those guys,” forward Jason Chimera said. “And I think we needed to spend a little bit more time in their end. But we played pretty good physically and I think Ovi made some huge hits, everyone was hitting in general.”
Hit stats are generally subjective, especially at certain arenas, but the notion that this game had 79 would not be surprising. Troy Brouwer was credited with 11 by himself, tying a Caps season high.