Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was fined $5,000 by the NHL on Thursday for spearing Boston Bruins rookie Trent Frederic, an amount that is the maximum allowable under the collective bargaining agreement.
Ovechkin delivered a spear in an upward direction to Frederic’s groin with five minutes left in the third period of the teams’ game Wednesday night in Boston. Ovechkin was given a minor penalty for slashing and Frederic one for cross-checking on the play.
Asked about the fine after practice Thursday, Frederic said: "It’s out of my pay grade. The NHL does a good job in all that stuff, so I just leave it up to them."
The two players exchanged shoves minutes earlier after Frederic hit Ovechkin. Frederic dropped his gloves, but nothing transpired.
"I thought it was kind of natural," Frederic said. "When I dropped him, he went in the boards weird, and when he got up, he wasn’t happy about it. The read I got was, `I don’t know if you want to fight me or what?’ So, that’s the read I had. Maybe (my gloves) came off a little quick. But just kind of protecting myself at the same time, too."
Frederic and Capitals tough guy Tom Wilson fought during a game in Washington earlier this season. Bruins teammates credited Frederic for helping spark a comeback victory in that game.
The Capitals went on to win the game Wednesday night 2-1 in a shootout. Ovechkin had one of his most active games of the season with 16 shot attempts — five on goal — and six hits in over 23 minutes of ice time.
"He’s a big body, he plays hard, he finishes checks," Frederic said. "He gives it out just as much as he takes it."
Frederic said he was feeling fine and didn’t make much of his tangles with Ovechkin.
"I think I was just playing hard," he said. "He’s a good player, so anytime you can get a good check on him, obviously you’re trying to do it. Just playing him hard. The respect I give him is just by playing him hard."
The Capitals had the day off Thursday. Boston and Washington face off again Friday night, with Bruins centre Charlie Coyle potentially out a second consecutive game after entering the league’s COVID protocol Wednesday.