Penguins' Evgeni Malkin: Hit on T.J. Oshie 'not dirty'
Evgeni Malkin was happy when the league office called Thursday to tell him he was not receiving supplemental discipline for his hit the night before on the Washington Capitals’ T.J. Oshie.
“I think it was not dirty,” Malkin said after Pittsburgh Penguins practice Friday. “My elbow was not high and my shoulder’s in a good position. I know he’s coming to me, and I just like maybe a little bit turn my shoulder – but I am not like trying to target his head. I am just, like, protecting myself. But (it was) a little bit of (bad) luck.”
Malkin was assessed a match penalty for delivering a shoulder to Oshie’s chin early in the third period of what ultimately was a 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. Match penalties are automatically reviewed by the league.
Oshie lied on the ice for a moderate amount of time, during which officials decided to eject Malkin. Oshie returned to the game and scored the winning goal in the game’s final 90 seconds.
Malkin said he was surprised he got the match penalty.
“But I see why,” Malkin said. “He stayed on the ice like probably 5 minutes and… we’ve seen the league changed the rules a little bit, and they see my shoulder touched his head and they think it’s a bad hit.
“It’s a quick game, so maybe I think referee did not see (the contact) or not; they just see Oshie and Oshie is on the ice like 10 minutes. (At first it was), ‘Sit in the box,’ and then they came to get me out (to send him to the locker room). You know, it’s not great for me because it’s game tied and I want to stay on the ice in the third period and help the team. But again, it’s something that happened; it’s (bad luck).”
In order for a player to be disciplined for such a hit, two conditions must be met. The main point of contact must be the head and the contact must be deemed avoidable.
There’s no question the main point of contact was Oshie’s head. He had to go to the locker room for concussion testing.
The avoidability of the hit is the gray area in this case. Malkin did not initiate contact or change his path to deliver a hit. Oshie skated into Malkin’s body as he attempted to get past the Penguins center. Oshie suggested after the game that Malkin may have thought he was about to be hit and therefore braced himself for contact.
Malkin hasn’t been suspended in his 13-year NHL career. A $5,000 fine for spearing Los Angeles’ Dustin Brown during a game last season is the only supplemental discipline he has faced.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.