Threat of Tom Wilson will keep Canes from retaliating on Ovechkin

Josh Luckenbaugh
April 16, 2019 - 10:08 am

The natural question after a knockout blow like Alex Ovechkin delivered to young Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov Monday night is: Will Carolina retaliate?

Alan May doesn't expect the Hurricanes to go after Ovechkin when the teams face off again in a pivotal Game 4 Thursday. Why? Tom Wilson.

"This is just one of those things that's a big highlight for a couple of days," May told The Sports Junkies Tuesday. "If they think they're gonna go after Ovechkin, then the Caps can do the same thing and start going after their players."

"And Wilson can just skate over to their bench — he's the toughest player on the ice — he can say, 'Anyone does anything like that again, I'm grabbing Sebastian Aho, and he'll never play hockey for the rest of this series.'"

While that certainly would be effective, it's not a card the Caps necessarily want to play given Wilson's checkered past with NHL suspensions. But as May noted, Washington shouldn't sit back and tolerate their guys getting pushed around during stoppages in play, either. 

"Ovi was probably frustrated with the amount of sticking that (Svechnikov) has done. If we went back and did the replays of every one of these games and showed the amount of times that kid was cross-checking after the whistle, coming in late with hits — there's a reason the players have been going after that guy and hitting them as hard they can," said May.

"Some guys step up in this. I'd like to see some of the Caps' young guys start to do some of the same type of thing."

There may not be any more boxing matches on the ice like Monday night, but expect another physical battle when these two teams square off again Thursday night in Raleigh, N.C. 

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