The New York Islanders have a problem. The opposition continue to take liberties with them without fear of retaliation, as no one on the islanders went after Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin after his dangerous goal against Jean-Gabriel Pageau on Monday night.
With 13:25 left in the second half as the Islanders went 3-0 up, Alex Ovechkin put all of his 238 pounds in a hit on Jean-Gabriel Pageau, forcing him out of the game.
Pageau did return, but in his absence the Islanders conceded two goals, with a lost three-goal lead and an eventual 4-3 overtime loss.
Ovechkin lashed out at Pageau pic.twitter.com/DDEZLhS7uA
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) January 17, 2023
The hit was the game’s turning point as the Capitals stole the momentum and never returned it.
Well, penalty or not, that doesn’t excuse the islanders for not going after Ovechkin. We saw Islanders defender Alexander Romanov jump for the hits legalist.
“You hate seeing a teammate get hit so hard. We’re brothers in here. You never like to see that, but I’m glad to see he was okay,” said Noah Dobson after the game.
Hudson Fasching, Brock Nelson and Matt Martin also commented on the hit, but all ended their thoughts with the fact that Pageau had returned to the game.
Lane Lambert, Islanders head coach, was asked after the game if he would like to see more reactions after such a goal.
“I think if you look at the scoresheet Matt Martin had 10 hits tonight. I think there was a reaction,” Lambert said.
This was the fifth Islanders player to be injured on a questionable hit this season and the fifth time the Islanders have failed to stand up for their teammate.
Bortuzzo not forced to answer for hitting Pelech
On December 6, Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech lost his balance behind the Blues’ net in a 7-4 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
While on one knee, Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo rushed in and crushed Pelech and sent the 2022 All-Star defenseman hard into the boards – head first.
Bortuzzo meets Pelech pic.twitter.com/fbDqbSNF5n
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) December 7, 2022
Pelech appeared dazed and confused and had to be carried off the ice by the coach and a teammate. He did not return to the game.
There was no retaliation against Bortuzzo.
Given how fast the game was and how the islanders started a transition, there’s a likely chance that no islanders on the ice saw the hit at the moment. And since it happened early in the third period, there was no pause for players to watch and react accordingly.
“Well, I think it went pretty quickly. He was a little off balance. So you know, from that standpoint, that’s really all that happened,” Lambert said.
Pelech has missed the last 18 competitions but is nearing a return as he progresses in training.
Ritchie aims at Palmieri and gets a shove
On December 16 against the Arizona Coyotes, Kyle Palmieri suffered what appeared to be another head injury after colliding with Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly in his first return game after a 10-game absence.
In the third period of the 5-4 loss at Mullet Arena, Palmieri suffered a concussion after Arizona Coyotes forward Nick Ritchie hit him late and high up.
Ritchie was given two minutes for interference, but it appeared to be a aimed hit.
As you can see, Sebastian Aho went after Ritchie, but not much more was made of the hit.
“Yeah, you don’t like that, and from where we were on the bench I couldn’t really see the hit,” Matt Martin told NYI Hockey Now. “You could see it and hear it, and then you saw the replay. The referees let him off the ice because of a concussion, but they don’t want to look at the goal either, so it’s interesting. But I think he’s alright. Not a hit that I’m sure would like to see.”
Palmieri has missed the last 15 games and 24 of the last 25 games.
Holmstrom’s knee is taken out, Bennett gets away without Scott
With less than 10 seconds left in the second half against the Florida Panthers on December 23, Simon Holmstrom ran through the slot and took a swipe from Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe before Sam Bennett hit his knee.
Officials called the slash but missed Bennett’s hit, which could have been a five-minute major.
The islanders immediately crowded around Holmstrom as it was a frantic game.
“I think he thinks about the damage there pretty well […] I feel like maybe there should have been two penalties. Just never seen that happen to anyone. And especially my friend.”
Holmstrom missed six games but hasn’t looked like himself since his return.
Joseph retaliation on Wahlstrom, no response
On December 27 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Oliver Wahlstrom was the victim of retaliation.
Before the end of his first shift, Wahlstrom put a big punch at Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Chad Ruhwedel in the right corner of the Penguins’ zone.
Big hit from Oliver Wahlstrom, although he may have suffered the worst of it pic.twitter.com/3n9ZUuPtqS
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) December 28, 2022
What isn’t shown on the show is that Penguins defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph went to Wahlstrom to speak up for his teammate. While Wahlstrom was down, Joseph punched him and Wahlstrom’s head went right into the boards.
Joseph was not fined for the play.
“When he was on the forecheck he hit it pretty well and so their player came straight to his defense but nothing was done about it,” Lambert said after the game.
Wahlstrom is out indefinitely, missing the last eight games.
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