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Pens wonder about Ovechkin's blade

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

After watching Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin beat him with four shots through two games of an Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series, Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said Tuesday he would not be surprised if Ovechkin plays with an illegally curved stick blade.

"I haven't taken a look at it," Fleury said. "The puck sometimes sticks to it pretty good, even if it's bouncing."

According to Rule No. 10.1, the NHL does not allow for a blade curve of more than three-quarters of an inch.

Ovechkin, a three-time scorer of at least 50 regular-season goals, has never been caught using an illegal stick during a game. Former New York Rangers coach Tom Renney once challenged a blade used by Ovechkin, but officials determined it was legal.

Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar said yesterday he could not advise coach Dan Bylsma to request an in-game measurement of Ovechkin's blade. A successful challenge would give the Penguins a power play, but they would be penalized if the blade proved legal.

"To be honest, I've never checked it out," said Gonchar, who is a Russian friend of Ovechkin. "Next time I'm with him, I will."

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