I know the series is over. I know we won, and the next series is coming up tonight, and this is mostly irrelevant now. But *something* happened on this play and it's been bugging me not understanding exactly what it was. Dougie Hamilton has his weaknesses, but he's not a quitter. And Rod Brind'Amour wouldn't accept what has been portrayed as happening on this play. Something about this was not ringing true for me.
So I tried to put myself in Dougie's position and go through the video frame-by-frame to see if I could figure it out, and I'm pretty sure I've got it. Please keep in mind here that my intent is not to exonerate Dougie and it's definitely not to blame someone else for a goal. My intent is just to clear up the thought process that went into a play that *looked* like a player didn't give 100 percent and clearly had an effect on him the rest of the series.
In the end, I think Dougie simply misjudged the puck location, and all of his actions that follow make perfect sense.
1. Dougie, skating back hard, takes a look and assesses the situation. He sees there's no icing. He sees Ovechkin. He sees the ref. The puck is headed to the corner.
2. Ovechkin picks up speed and turns toward Dougie. Dougie determines that Ovechkin is trying to get an angle on him for a legal hit, so he glides slightly to the outside in response. The puck is right in the middle of the no-play zone.
3. Ovechkin bears down on Dougie. Dougie angles into Ovechkin and prepares for contact. The puck bounces into the trapezoid.
4. Ovechkin realizes that Dougie misplayed the location of the puck, and the battle won't be in the no-play zone, where Dougie is. He decides not to hit Dougie.
5. Dougie is fully prepared for contact -- knees bent, shoulder down, body tight -- but Ovechkin has turned his attention to the puck since it's not where either of them thought it would be when the play started. No point having a puck battle when the puck's not there.
6. Ovechkin gets to the puck first and Dougie now has to try to make a play, having lost all momentum preparing for a hit that never happened.
7. Ovechkin ducks Dougie's weak hit attempt and turns away from the net. At this point, it's important to note that even though Dougie has made a bad play, the Canes are still not in any danger here. The puck is behind the net, and we have three guys back. Unfortunately, all three of them are looking at Ovechkin, when ...
8. Connolly comes off the bench flying into the play. All *four* Hurricanes in the frame are *still* watching Ovechkin and nobody has noticed Connolly.
9. Ovechkin makes the pass. Still, no Hurricanes player has identified Connolly. Nonetheless, Slavin appears to be in perfect position to make a play on the puck.
10. The puck somehow eludes Slavin's stick and Teravainen takes a weird angle with his stick, leaving Connolly free to get off a shot.