Canes teen in concussion protocol after fight

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Carolina Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov, 19, is in the concussion protocol after being knocked out by Alex Ovechkin in a fight during Monday night's Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.

Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour made the announcement, saying he assumed thatSvechnikov would miss Thursday's Game 4.

Svechnikov is the youngest player in the NHL playoffs. A native of Barnaul, Russia, Svechnikov has said he grew up idolizing Ovechkin, his countryman who is 14 years his senior. Svechnikov appeared to provoke Ovechkin in the first period, and the two exchanged words before dropping the gloves. Svechnikov got a few jabs in before Ovechkin dropped Svechnikov with three hard rights.

Svechnikov's head hit the ice on the way down. He stayed down on the ice for several minutes, then was helped off by Carolina athletic trainers. He did not return to the game.

It was Ovechkin's first fight since Dec. 12, 2010. He received a five-minute major penalty.

"First of all, I hope he's OK," Ovechkin said Monday night. "Yeah, I'm not a big fighter, and he's the same. He asked me to fight and said, 'Let's go.' I hope he's OK. You don't want to see a guy get hurt or something. And you just go a different way."

Brind'Amour said Tuesday he isn't so sure that Svechnikov asked for the fight.

"There's two version going around. I'll just leave it at that," he said.

Capitals coach Todd Reirden had a different take on the whole thing: "I see it as two willing combatants. That's part of our sport, and one player won the fight and one player lost the fight."

When asked Tuesday if fighting is still necessary in hockey, Brind'Amour said: "I don't know if it's ever been necessary. It's been part of the game forever. No, I don't think it's necessary. I don't think you're ever going to get it away from the game. It's tough to see, though. That's the worst part of it that you see when guys get hurt. That's always tough to see."

The Hurricanes won their first home playoff game in a decade, routing the Capitals 5-0. Washington has a 2-1 series lead.

Brind'Amour said Monday that Svechnikov had left the building before the game was over.

"Svech means a lot to us. Young kid. Just turned 19. He has a special bond with our group, with me too," Brind'Amour said. "When you see that, it makes you sick. I'm still sick to my stomach about it. ... It's a little bit tough, because I just heard Ovi talk about it; he said our guy challenged him. So, if that's the case, it's a little different. If you watch the video, he slashes him twice -- Ovi, whack, whack -- then Svech gets him back. I don't know if there's words exchanged, but one guy's gloves come off way first. And that's Ovi, not our guy.

"So, it's a little but frustrating, because he got hurt. It's his first fight. He's played 90 games. He's never fought in his life, and I'm pretty sure Ovi knew that. So, that stuff bothers me."

Svechnikov scored two goals and tallied one assist in the Hurricanes' first two games in this series.

Ovechkin won his record eighth Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy this season as the league's top goal scorer. He had one goal and two assists in the Capitals' first two games in these playoffs.

"I just hated seeing that. I just hated the whole part of it. Just something you never want to see," Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton said. "I just feel so bad for [Svechnikov], and hopefully he gets better soon. The game doesn't really matter when something like that happens; you just can't get it out of your head. I just hope he's OK."

With Svechnikov likely out for Game 4, the Hurricanes recalled forward Patrick Brown from AHL-Charlotte on an emergency basis. Brown, who had 19 goals and 16 assists in 70 games in the minors, has one goal and one assist in 28 career NHL games.

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