Alex Ovechkin (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)
Capitals star Alex Ovechkin wasn't called for a penalty after taking a two-handed swing for a loose puck, but Penguins fans were irate after that two-handed swing connected with the ankle of defenseman Kris Letang. Was Ovechkin at fault? Depends on your perspective.
Capitals superstar winger Alex Ovechkin had already made a mark on Tuesday's Penguins/Capitals game by scoring a tremendous breakaway goal late in the first period. But early in the third period, he found another way to add to the rivalry between the two Metropolitan Division teams: by taking a two-handed swing – either at Pens star defenseman Kris Letang's ankle, or at the puck, depending on your perspective – that has led to strong feelings among both fan bases.
Letang had to leave the game for a brief stretch, when, during a chase for a loose puck, Ovechkin's slash crumpled him and sent him smashing into the end boards: (GIF via @PeteBlackburn)
From the perspective of many Capitals fans, Ovechkin was merely swinging his stick in desperation at the puck, and there was no penalty called on the play. From the point of view of irate Pens fans, the slash made direct contact with Letang's ankle, and that's all that counts.
All things considered, this is the type of play that perfectly illustrates the inherent subjectivity of sport. Ask yourself this: if the roles were reversed – if it were Sidney Crosby swinging for the fences and connecting with the ankle of, say, Caps defenseman John Carlson – would Washington fans currently conducting a passionate defense of Ovechkin do the same thing for Crosby?
To ask it is to answer it. Fans are going to see what they want to see.