- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 21, 2016

Barry Trotz said that the cross-check delivered by Philadelphia Flyers left wing Brayden Schenn to the back of Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov’s right leg late in the second period of the Flyers‘ 2-1 victory in Game 4 on Wednesday was “a dangerous play” and said he spoke with NHL officials about it.

Kuznetsov was trying to jam the puck into the net from the front of the crease after a pass from Justin Williams at 14:07 of the second period of the playoff game. He was unsuccessful, and once goaltender Michal Neuvirth covered the puck with his glove, freezing the play, Schenn skated in from behind Kuznetsov and delivered a cross-check to the back right of Kuznetsov’s right knee.

The Capitals‘ center turned and grabbed Schenn by the collar of his sweater, setting off a brief skirmish among those on the ice. No penalty was called on any player once the incident had been extinguished.

Trotz referenced a similar hit by Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds on Alex Ovechkin — one that occurred at 9:15 of the second period of Game 2 — when Ovechkin was trying to push in a loose puck and Simmonds cross-checked the back of his right knee once a whistle blew the play dead.

“Once is maybe a coincidence,” Trotz said on Thursday. “Twice is not. I think it’s a dangerous play. I think it should not be in our game, and any player who’s looking to try to wreck a guy’s knee or injure him — especially when the play is dead — that should definitely be out of the game. Every player on every team would tell you that’s disrespectful if they watch it. They’ll just say, ‘That can’t be in the game.’”

Capitals right wing Tom Wilson, who was not on the ice at the time of either play, saw Schenn hit Kuznetsov on Wednesday.

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“There’s really no way to put it, but that’s pretty cheap,” Wilson said. “You come in after a whistle and you target a guy’s knee like that, there’s really no time for that. That’s just another kind of thing that we — a little piece of motivation that we can use.

“They’re targeting a guy like Kuzy, cross-checking him in the knee — I mean, that’s a pretty dangerous play, so we’ll just use that as a little motivation to send those guys home. We don’t like that, and obviously, [he’s] one of our best players. We’re just going to kind of play within the rules and hopefully send him home and send him packing.”

The first-round series has been remarkably physical, with at least 20 penalties assessed between the teams in two of the games. Schenn also hit Kuznetsov into the crossbar of the Flyers‘ goal in the third period in Game 1, and Schenn himself was the target of a play occurring during a stoppage when, late in the second period of Game 3, Capitals left wing Daniel Winnik pulled Schenn’s right foot out from beneath him with his stick shortly before a faceoff.

Trotz said that he spoke to Mick McGeough, who is the supervisor of officials for the teams’ first-round playoff series, about the hits on Thursday morning and said that McGeough would inform officials working future games in the series to watch for similar behavior. Asked whether that would change anything, Trotz said he didn’t know.

“I let the referees know when I saw it last night, but it didn’t happen again,” he said.

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