Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz wants to see his teammates stick up for each other and he’s okay with the fact that it might result in them going down a man.
Carolina Hurricanes forward Eric Staal appeared to leave his feet and hit defenseman John Carlson in the head in the dying seconds of the first period. Carlson remained on his skates and started shoving Staal in retaliation, but it didn’t escalate beyond that before Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin grabbed Staal and tackled him to the ice.
Here’s footage of the incident:
In the end, Staal got two minutes for elbowing, but it was the Capitals that ended up at a disadvantage because Ovechkin got a double-minor for roughing and charging. Carolina’s Jiri Tlusty got a power-play goal early in the second period as a result.
“Absolutely the right thing for Ovi to do,” Trotz told CSN Washington. “That showed leadership. It was all about team. The Carolina player cross-checked our guy and it wasn’t necessary. Ovi jumped in and I’m all for that. That shows great leadership and great unity. We’ll kill those off all day long.”
The incident occurred after Carolina’s Jeff Skinner left the game as a result of Washington’s Matt Niskanen elbowing him in the head.