Thursday, January 7, 2016

Watch: Thomas Hickey Takes Violent Elbow from Marcus Johansson

Isles defenseman Thomas Hickey took a heavy hit from Washington's Marcus Johansson during the first period of Washington's 4-1 victory over the Islanders in Brooklyn. New York broadcaster Butch Goring wasn't happy with the call (Johansson got two for an illegal check to the head) and claimed that there was clear intent to injure on the play.

The NHL's Department of Player Safety will likely have a look at this one tomorrow.

After the game Hickey didn't seem to angry about the hit. Here's what he said, according to Caps beat writer Isabelle Khurshudyan:

Later in the period, after returning to the game, Hickey was plastered by Tom Wilson into the boards.

There was little to no reaction from the Islanders after each play, and that fact left former Islanders Goring and Pat Flatley a little miffed. "I was a little surprised the Islanders didn't get into it a little quicker," said Goring. "Especially with that cheap shot on Hickey. I would have that though that that would have really got the ire of the Islanders [and caused them] to get much more involved physically."

Goring wanted Flatley's take, and the former Islander was more than happy to admit he felt the same way. "The push back is not there right now," he said from his post at ice-level between the two benches. "I'm not sure why. It's a very big game it's a measuring stick for the rest of the year."

Some of the hottest fire came from the Islanders dressing room after the game. “If they want to play that way, we can do that too next time,” said Isles defenseman Travis Hamonic, who took a hit up high from Alexander Ovechkin in the third period.

On the ice there wasn't much edge from the Islanders. They were outskated and outhit. There was a moment where Isles' enforcer Matt Martin appeared to challenge Wilson to fisticuffs, but it never materialized and the team never picked up its energy enough to match the high-flying Capitals.

Washington seem to take this game as more of a statement game than New York did. Very little separated these two teams in the first round of the playoffs, a series won by Washington in seven games. This season it appears that the Capitals are opening the gap.