Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin had to be helped off the ice after a low hit from Toronto’s Nazem Kadri.

The Leafs forward caught Ovechkin’s left knee with a shoulder, sending him flying. The hit took place with 2:28 to play in the first period of Friday’s night’s Game 5.



Ovechkin remained on the ice while he was evaluated by the Capitals’ medical trainer. He was helped off the ice by teammates Nate Schmidt and Nicklas Backstrom.

Kadri was given a minor penalty for tripping.  Based on the nature of the hit, it looked like it may have deserved a clipping call.

44.1 Clipping – Clipping is the act of throwing the body, from any direction, across or below the knees of an opponent.   A player may not deliver a check in a “clipping” manner, nor lower his own body position to deliver a check on or below an opponent’s knees.

An illegal “low hit” is a check that is delivered by a player who may or may not have both skates on the ice, with his sole intent to check the opponent in the area of his knees. A player may not lower his body position to deliver a check to an opponent’s knees.

44.2 Minor Penalty – A player who commits these fouls will be assessed a minor penalty for “clipping.”

44.3 Major Penalty – If an injury occurs as a result of this “clipping” check, the player must be assessed a major penalty (see 44.5).

44.4 Match Penalty – The Referee, at his discretion, may assess a match penalty if, in his judgment, the player attempted to or deliberately injured his opponent by clipping.

44.5 Game Misconduct Penalty – A game misconduct penalty must be assessed anytime a major penalty is applied for injuring an opponent by clipping.

In comparison, tripping is defined a when a player “place[s] the stick, knee, foot, arm, hand or elbow in such a manner that causes his opponent to trip or fall.”

NBC’s Mike Milbury disagreed with the call altogether.

“I’m telling you right now, [the referees] blew the call,” Milbury said. “This is a hip check. I don’t like hip checks, I don’t think they’re any good for the game. It’s a legitimate check.  Kadri doesn’t go below the knee. It’s not clipping, it’s not tripping. It’s well within the time frame for making body contact. What they should do is get rid of hip-checking.”

“That should not have been a two-minute penalty in my book,” Milbury continued. “It was an emotional reaction to who went down and how hard he went down. That’s a legitimate hip check and I think he should’ve just stayed on the ice and that would’ve been the end of it. A riot in the stands, but the referee blew the call.”

Ovechkin avoided injury on the play.  He was back out on the ice for the second period of the game.