Andrei Svechnikov says Ovechkin asked him to fight

Ben Krimmel
April 20, 2019 - 1:28 pm

Like most bare-knuckle brawls, on skates or otherwise, it was over very quickly.

The result: Andrei Svechnikov was left sprawled on the ice after receiving several vicious punches from Washington captain Alex Ovechkin.

The brief brutal seconds of violence punctuated the early minutes of a Monday night Game 3 blowout of the Capitals at the hands of the Hurricanes. On Saturday, on the eve of Game 5, with the series tied at two games apiece, Svechnikov told reporters it was Ovechkin who initiated the bout and challenged him.

“He did ask me first for fight," Svechnikov, a 19-year-old born in Siberia, said. "I am not superhero, (to) ask first for fight."

When asked by reporters if he consented to the content: "I said yes. Like I said I just want to stand up for myself.”

This differs from the view of Ovechkin, who said Svechnikov asked him to fight.

"First of all, I hope he's okay," he said after Game 3. "I'm not a big fighter and he's the same. He asked me to fight and I said, 'Let's go, yeah.' I hope he's okay. You don't want to see a guy get hurt or something."

Carolina head coach Rod Brind'Amour had a different view of the sequence of events which preceded the fight when speaking to reporters after Game 3.

"I just heard Ovi talk about it," Brind'Amour said. "He said our guy challenged him, so if that's the case, it's a little different. But if you watch the video, because I've got to watch it, he slashes him twice, Ovi. Whack, whack. And then Svech gives him back. I don't know if there’s words exchanged, but one guy's gloves comes off way first and that's Ovi's, it's not our guy's."

Svechnikov has not returned to the ice since the fight but hopes to be available for Game 6 Monday night in Raleigh. 

The young Russian forward told reporters he reporters Saturday Ovechkin, a 33-year-old born in Moscow, did speak to him after their fight.

"He call me right after the game and I just talk with him a little bit, you know," he said.

Did Ovechkin apologize?

"Yeah, a little bit, you know?" Svechnikov answered. "I said sometimes it happen. You never know."

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