Alex Ovechkin is a honest hockey player.
Washington Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin declined a penalty call against Vegas on Wednesday. The ref appeared to call Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty for holding on Ovechkin. Ovi waved his hands in the air, however, telling the ref not to make the call.
Even though the penalty would’ve given the Capitals a power play, Ovechkin didn’t feel like it was the proper call. Ovechkin indicated to the official that he simply lost his balance and Pacioretty didn’t do anything to warrant a penalty.
Check out this great sportsmanship from Ovechkin below:
The Golden Knights acknowledged the classy gesture, but were confused at the same time:
Ovechkin just declined a penalty???
We're cool with it, but what???
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) April 21, 2022
Players declining penalties in the NHL is rare simply because power plays are so important. Even if a penalty call is unfair, most opposing players won’t speak up because it gives their team an advantage.
The only time NHL players will decline penalties is if they have great respect for the game and want to see the right call made. Having played in the league for 17 seasons, Ovechkin cleary has a good idea of what is a penalty and what isn’t.
Ovechkin’s legacy continues to grow, as he also scored his 49th and 50th goal of the season Wednesday. Ovechkin joins Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy as the only NHL players in history with nine 50-goal seasons.
While Capitals fans likely wish Ovechkin hadn’t spoken up about the penalty, we love to see moments like this. There’s been lots of diving and embellishment in the NHL this season, so it’s good to see there are still honest players in the game.