The worst image possible was lying in front of the Washington Capitals
, and the NHL as a whole -- All-Star forward Alex Ovechkin
, flat on his back after slamming into the boards at TD Banknorth Garden on Tuesday.
Late in the second period, Ovechkin, who leads the League with 31 goals and is tied for second with 60 points, attempted to get around Boston Bruins
defenseman Zdeno Chara
, but got tangled up with his fellow All-Star, lost his balance and slid hard into the boards shoulder-first. He was down on the ice for about 15 seconds while being attended to by the Capitals' training staff.
He eventually got up and made his way to the Washington bench, and then headed down the hallway to the dressing room. More frustrated than injured, he spiked his gloves and helmet as he walked up the tunnel.
Chara was assessed a hooking penalty.
Ovechkin missed the final 5:35 of the second period, but was on the ice to start the third period.
Capitals spokesman Paul Rovnak said Ovechkin had a "stinger" that felt better after about 15 minutes.
While many in the hockey community were frightened, Ovechkin said he wasn't.
"It was just a hockey moment -- it is OK," Ovechkin told the Washington Post.
Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau
also downplayed the incident.
"As far as I know (he's OK)," Boudreau said. "He's a pretty tough kid."
This past weekend, Ovechkin and Chara were teammates for the Eastern Conference at the All-Star Game, with both turning in dazzling performances
Chara set the League record for hardest shot, at 105.4 miles per hour. Due to a pre-event wager he made with the other contestants and matched by the players' clubs, the League and the NHLPA, he earned his favorite charity, Right To Play, $24,000.
Ovechkin won the Breakaway Challenge wearing sunglasses and a floppy hat with a Canadian flag attached.
Contact Adam Schwartz at email@example.com.