BOSTON — The battle between Washington star forward Alex Ovechkin and Bruins defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg has been in the spotlight since the two clubs learned they would clash in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
They haven't disappointed, with Ovechkin and Seidenberg in particular exchanging huge hits throughout the first two games. While most have been clean and hard, things did take a nasty turn midway through Game 2 on Saturday.
They pair came together in a scrum at 8:10 of the second period, and the pushing and shoving escalated to what appeared to be a pretty solid cross-check from Ovechkin up high on Seidenberg. No penalty was called on the play, and Seidenberg shrugged off the non-call after the game.
"I mean, it was scrum — stuff like that happens," Seidenberg said. "It's up to the refs to call it, so I don’t really care. … It’s a tight game, and I think worse things have to happen for them to call it."
Seidenberg seemed willing to forgive both Ovechkin and referees Dan O'Halloran and Tom Kowal for not making any penalty calls on the play.
"Guys lose their temper, and I mean, it wasn't really losing temper, it was just a little cross-check," Seidenberg said. "I didn't really think about it, so it’s not a big deal to me."
Bruins coach Claude Julien was a little less understanding about the missed call and hinted at the possibility of the league looking at what has become a bit of trend with the Capitals getting their sticks up high in the series. Jay Beagle was called for a high-sticking double minor after cutting David Krejci in Game 1.
"I'm not going to go with those kinds of details," Julien said when asked about Ovechkin avoiding any penalty on the exchange with Seidenberg. "The one thing is, this is the second cross-check in two games. Krejci got cut below the nose by the cross-check in Game 1, and now that one, and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it except that there's no call on it, on the play. Whether they missed it or not, it could be."
"And then the league has a second opportunity to review it, and you’ve got to let them do their jobs," Julien continued. "So, those to me are extremely dangerous things that we keep talking about wanting out of the game, and I've seen suspensions from that before. But we'll the let the league take care of it, and we'll focus on what we have to do to win the next game."
The fact that Ovechkin did resort to such tactics could indicate that the Capitals star is getting frustrated by the Bruins' smothering defense, but Seidenberg wasn't ready to go there, noting that Ovechkin did get an assist on Washington's first goal and created several other chances.
"It's not about me frustrating him," Seidenberg said. "It's just about us shutting him down and playing him tight and not giving him any opportunities. He was on his game today. He skated hard, and we did our best to try and stop him."