Alex Ovechkin seized the lead in the NHL goal-scoring race Sunday and helped his team defeat the mighty Anaheim Ducks for the second time in nine days — but the Russian star’s big night came with a heaping side of criticism.
“I didn’t know he was going to dive tonight the way he did all over the f—— ice. That part of it’s a little [more] embarrassing, pardon my language. He’s a great player. He’s going to score goals and make plays. That other stuff’s embarrassing,” Ryan Getzlaf, the opposing captain, told reporters in the post-game scrum.
“The slash on me. The slash on his hand. When we ran into him and he dove down. All those things. It’s embarrassing to the game.”
Ovechkin lit the lamp twice in Sunday’s 5-3 victory over Getzlaf’s Ducks in Anaheim; his 36 goals vault him ahead of Rick Nash for the league lead.
Both Getzlaf and Ovechkin could be candidates for the 2015 Hart Trophy, so the shot flung from one star at the other underscores the NHL’s battle with embellishment.
Encouraged by players to crack down, the league has been monitoring diving more intently than ever this season. Already five players — including stars P.K. Subban, James Neal and Gustav Nyquist — have been slapped with $2,000 fines for diving/embellishment. Any player fined this season has already been given a prior warning in private. It is believed at least 25 players have been given warnings.
The Ducks and Capitals won’t meet again this season unless both teams qualify for the Stanley Cup Final.