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Islanders Lack of Retaliation Returns, No Response After Ovechkin Hit

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New York Islanders

The New York Islanders have a problem. The opposition continues to take liberties against them without a fear of retaliation as no one on the Islanders went after Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin Monday night following his dangerous hit on Jean-Gabriel Pageau.

With 13:25 left to play in the second period with the Islanders riding high up 3-0, Alex Ovechkin put all of his 238 pounds into a hit on Jean-Gabriel Pageau, forcing him to leave the game.

Pageau did return, but in his absence, the Islanders allowed two goals in a blown three-goal lead and an eventual 4-3 overtime loss.

The hit was the game’s turning point, as the Capitals stole the momentum and never gave it back.

Now, penalty or not, that does not excuse the Islanders for not going after Ovechkin. We have seen Islanders defenseman Alexander Romanov jumped for the legalist of hits.

“You hate to see a teammate take a hard hit like that. We’re brothers in here. You never like to see that, but I’m glad to see he was okay,” Noah Dobson said following the game.

Hudson Fasching, Brock Nelson, and Matt Martin also voiced their opinion on the hit, but all finished their thoughts with the fact that Pageau did return to the game.

Islanders head coach Lane Lambert was asked following the game if he’d like to see more of a response after a hit like that.

“I think if you look at the score sheet, Matt Martin had 10 hits tonight. I think there was a response,” Lambert said.

This was the fifth Islanders player to get injured this season off a questionable hit and the fifth time we’ve seen the Islanders fail to stand up for their teammate.

Bortuzzo Not Forced to Answer For Hit on Pelech

On Dec. 6, in a 7-4 loss to the St. Louis Blues, Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech lost his balance behind the Blues net.

While on one knee, Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo charged in and crushed Pelech, sending the 2022 All-Star defenseman hard into the boards–head first.

Pelech seemed dazed and confused and needed to be helped off the ice by the trainer and a teammate. He did not return to the game.

There was no retaliation on Bortuzzo.

Given how fast the play was and how the Islanders were starting a transition, there’s the likely chance that no Islander on the ice saw the hit at the moment. And given that it happened early in the third period, there was no intermission for the players to get a look at it and respond accordingly.

“Well, I think it happened pretty fast. He was a little bit off balance. So you know, from that standpoint, that’s really all that happened,” Lambert said.

Pelech has missed the last 18 contests but is inching closer to a return as he takes strides at practice.

Ritchie Targets Palmieri, Gets One Push

On Dec. 16 against the Arizona Coyotes, Kyle Palmieri suffered what appeared to be another head injury in his first game back from a 10-game absence after colliding with Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly.

In the third period of the 5-4 loss at Mullet Arena, Palmieri was forced to enter concussion protocol after Arizona Coyotes forward Nick Ritchie hit him late, up high.

Ritchie received two minutes for interference, but it seemed like a targeted blow.

As you can see, Sebastian Aho went after Ritchie but not much more was made of the hit.

“Yeah, you don’t like that, and where we were on the bench, couldn’t really see the hit,” Matt Martin told NYI Hockey Now. “You could see it and hear it, and then you see the replay. The refs make him go off the ice for concussion protocol, but they don’t want to look at the hit either, so it’s an interesting one. But I think he’s alright. Not a hit you like to see for sure.”

Palmieri has missed the last 15 games and 24 of the previous 25 games.

Holmstrom’s Knee Taken Out, Bennett Gets Off Scott-Free

With less than 10 seconds to play in the second period against the Florida Panthers on Dec. 23, Simon Holmstrom skated through the slot and took a slash from Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe before Sam Bennett connected with his knee.

The officials called the slash but missed Bennett’s hit, which could have been a five-minute major.

The Islanders immediately huddled around Holmstrom as it was a hectic play.

“I think he’s pretty well considering the damage there […] I feel like there should have been maybe two penalties. Just never like seen that happen to anybody. And especially my friend.”

Holmstrom missed six games but hasn’t looked like himself since his return.

Joseph Retaliation on Wahlstrom, No Response

On Dec. 27 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Oliver Wahlstrom was a victim of retaliation.

Before his first shift ended, Wahlstrom laid a big hit on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Chad Ruhwedel in the right corner of the Penguins’ zone.

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