In case you missed it, the Washington Capitals absolutely steamrolled the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2 last night to take a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Caps will now carry over a HUGE amount of momentum into Games 3 and 4 on home ice, where the Lightning could be without star player Nikita Kucherov.
Why? Because he kicked Brett Connolly, that’s why. What?! Just watch for yourself:
What on Earth is he thinking!? There’s no way this is unintentional, right?! There’s no need for Kucherov to lift his right leg the way he does… there’s obviously no need for him to then kick Connolly either. So again… what on Earth is he thinking!? Is this just a case of poor sportsmanship on Kucherov’s part? Keep in mind that this is during the final moments of play and his team is down 6-2 at this point…
Any way you look at it, this is NOT a good look for the Lightning and their star player. You can’t just go around kicking players when things aren’t going your way. The worst part? When Connolly confront Kucherov, Kucherov just steps off the ice and into the safety of his team’s bench. Again… NOT a good look.
For what it’s worth, Kucherov may have been trying to slewfoot Connolly rather than kick him. While a slewfoot isn’t exactly a noble play either, it isn’t quite as egregious as a kick. Check out this play that happened just moments prior to Kucherov’s kick on Connolly.
Looks like Kucherov was upset for getting slewfooted by Connolly himself and then looked to return the favor? The problem is that it didn’t work and all that happened was he ended up throwing a kick instead. For a third time… NOT a good look.
You can be sure that NHL Player Safety will be reviewing this play for supplemental discipline. No call from the league yet regarding an in person or phone hearing, but we expect news to be officially released later this morning.
What’s your call? Does this dangerous play warrant supplemental discipline? If so, how many games is Kucherov looking at? And if he is suspended, what does this mean for the Lightning? The regular season Eastern Conference champions have struggled through the first two games of the Eastern Conference Final and cannot afford to lose their top scorer.
Source: Brady Trettenero
Photo Credit: Zuma Press