Ovechkin avoids punishment after spearing Neil


An NHL spokesman has confirmed Washington Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin won’t be fined or suspended for his spear on Ottawa’s Chris Neil, according to Stephen Whyno of The Washington Times.

The incident occurred midway through the second period of Washington’s 5-3 win Wednesday night. Ovechkin, reacting to a hit thrown by Neil, utilized his stick in less-than-gentlemanly fashion and appeared to catch Neil in an uncomfortable place (no, not the back of a Volkswagen.)

“I’m not that kind of player… who would spear someone,” Ovechkin told Sportsnet after the game.

Neil was given a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct (diving) penalty on the play.

“Almost like a pitchfork right in the gut, so it’s frustrating (there was) no call on the play and I ended up getting the penalty for it,” Neil said afterwards. “We make mistakes out there, too. And so do the refs.”

Already without Eberle, the Oilers could also be missing Hall tonight

Taylor Hall
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Taylor Hall is sick and reportedly “doubtful” for tonight’s game in Dallas.

Hall did not skate with the Oilers this morning. If he can’t play, Edmonton’s top two lines against the Stars could feature Ryan Nugent-Hopkins between wingers Teddy Purcell and Benoit Pouliot, followed by Connor McDavid centering Lauri Korpikoski and Nail Yakupov.

The Oilers — forced to start the season without top-six winger Jordan Eberle — have scored just once in their first two games, losing 3-1 in St. Louis and 2-0 in Nashville.

Edmonton returns home after tonight’s contest to play St. Louis on Thursday. Then it’s back out on the road for games against Calgary and Vancouver.

Sabres waive d-man Donovan

HKN Sabres Senators
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Buffalo has put blueliner Matt Donovan on waivers, per Sportsnet.

Donovan, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency after spending his entire professional career with the Isles organization.

The fact he’s being waived isn’t a huge shock. Donovan failed to draw into a single Sabres game this year despite a whittled-down blueline; Jake McCabe, recently called up from AHL Rochester, drew into the lineup for Monday’s win over Columbus at the expense of Carlo Colaiacovo, who played the first two games of the year.

The fact both McCabe and Colaiacovo were ahead on the depth chart didn’t bode well for Donovan. Today’s move could also suggest that Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played this year due to injury, is ready to return.