Erik Kallgren touches on the hapless play that caused Ovechkin's injury

Published April 25, 2022 at 8:58 PM
BY MIKE ARMENTI
Leafs rookie goaltender Erik Kallgren has come under fire for an unfortunate play during the 3rd period of Sunday's matchup against the Washington Capitals that led to Caps captain Alex Ovechkin taking a tumble into the boards shoulder/head first, forcing him to leave the game. He did not return and is currently listed as day-to-day.


Obviously, with Ovechkin on the breakaway, Kallgren was simply looking to poke check the puck away. However, since Ovechkin was already slightly off balance and had bobbled the puck, he wasn't in a position to avoid the stick of Kallgren, who was very remorseful following the unfortunate accident.

As humble as Kallgren is, it's somewhat surprising that so many people are accusing him of playing dirty and attempting to intentionally injure Ovechkin. Following the game, which ended in a 4-3 shootout win for the Leafs, Kallgren spoke about the Ovechkin injury and appeared very sincere in his concern for the 36-year-old sniper.


"I think he skated into my stick and tripped on it. It was not my intention to trip him and I hope he's well."

-Kallgren on how the play unfolded

"I just tapped him.. like, obviously he was frustrated. I didn't mean to trip him. I didn't mean to cause an injury, so I hope he's fine."

-Kallgren on skating over to give Ovi a tap and to check on him after the play

"He's obviously a great player. I've watched him since forever, so it's a bit surreal to face his shot. It's a lot of fun."

-Kallgren on playing against Ovechkin for the first time in his young NHL career


Clearly, there was nothing intentional about Kallgren tripping Ovechkin while trying to play the puck. Goalies poke check players in every single game on the NHL schedule. This was just one of those random things that happens from time to time. It's awful to see, but there was clearly no ill-intent on Kallgren's part.
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