- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Just after the midway point of the second period Tuesday night, Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov and Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner battled for position in the corner. Orlov went to the ice and awkwardly into the boards, and a scrum ensued as teammates came to the young Russian’s defense.

Afterward, the Capitals were less than happy about what one player called a “pretty obvious” slewfoot by Skinner.

“If you can get a hold of the tape, you can clearly see his leg come out and trip him there,” said one Caps player who spoke on condition of anonymity. “That’s a terribly dangerous play.”

A slewfoot is an intentional tripping motion by a player using his feet to take another player’s feet out from under him.

Replays seemed to show Skinner kicking out Orlov’s right leg with his right skate. But the Hurricanes forward did not think he slewfooted Orlov.

“I didn’t see the positioning of my feet. I just sort of stood my ground. He tried to come and hit me and he slipped,” Skinner said. “There’s not much I can do there. If he tries to step back and hit me, I can’t do much. I can’t sort of wrap my arms around him and protect him if he slips.”

But Skinner has something of a reputation for this sort of thing, at least in the Washington locker room.

“I know we’ve noticed it because we play them quite a bit. He’s tripping a lot, and he’s good with his stick,” the Capitals player said. “He’s smart; he knows how to use it well. But he also uses it and sometimes does things like that that aren’t right.”

Once the play continued up ice, Orlov and Skinner got into it, and the Capitals defenseman was given a 10-minute conduct for “abuse of officials.” Replays showed that he was wrapped up and clearly shoved linesman Jean Morin.

Orlov could be in line for a fine or suspension for that play.

If the NHL takes a look at Skinner’s play, he could face a fine, as well.

“That would be the ideal thing,” the Capitals player said. “Maybe learn a little bit of a lesson.”

• Stephen Whyno can be reached at swhyno@washingtontimes.com.

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