In Scary Fight, NHL Superstar Knocks Out Rookie

Andrei Svechnikov, 19, did not return to the game after bout with Alexander Ovechkin, 33
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2019 8:06 AM CDT
Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin, right, punches Carolina Hurricanes' Andrei Svechnikov during their fight Monday night.   (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

(Newser) – NHL superstar Alexander Ovechkin is used to making headlines in the playoffs, but not like this. The 33-year-old captain of the Washington Capitals got into a scary fight with 19-year-old rookie Andrei Svechnikov of the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday, and Ovechkin knocked the teen woozy with a flurry of punches to the head, reports the CBC. Svechnikov was "knocked out cold," per the Charlotte Observer. (The fight can be seen here.) The rookie fell to the ice and had to be helped up and into the dressing room after the first-period fight, and he did not return to the game. It was just the fourth fight of Ovechkin's career and his first in nearly a decade. He has 14 years and about 40 pounds on Svechnikov, who is also from Russia and grew up watching Ovechkin play.

"First of all, I hope he’s OK," Ovechkin said after the game, per the Washington Post. "I’m not a big fighter, and he’s the same. He asked me to fight and said, ‘Let’s go.’ I hope he’s OK." No word from Svechnikov, but Carolina coach Rod Brind'Amour sounded a little skeptical. "If you watch the video, [Ovechkin] slashes him twice ... then Svech gets him back. I don’t know if there’s words exchanged, but one guy’s gloves comes off way first—and that’s Ovi, not our guy." But even if Svechnikov did challenge Ovechkin, Brind'Amour (a tough player in his own day) thinks Ovechkin should not have accepted. Svechnikov has "never fought in his life, and I’m pretty sure Ovi knew that," he says. "So that stuff bothers me.” Carolina won the game, 5-0. (See a coach's memorable, expletive-filled pep talk.)

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