Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NHL [Print without images]

Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Source: No David Steckel punishment

By Pierre LeBrun
ESPN.com

TORONTO -- The NHL has looked at a hit Washington Capitals left wing David Steckel put on Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the Winter Classic on Saturday and deemed it incidental contact, a source told ESPN.com Tuesday.

Steckel avoided any league discipline for the hit that momentarily knocked Crosby woozy near the end of the second period of the game, won 3-1 by Steckel's Capitals. In fact, a Caps source told ESPN.com Tuesday that they didn't even get a phone call from the league regarding the hit.

In Pittsburgh, the Penguins on Monday believed the hit was not legal.

"How tall is Steckel?" Crosby was quoted as saying in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I find it hard to believe that his shoulder hit me in the head ... at 6-foot-5 ... by accident."

Video replays showed Steckel hit Crosby's head with his shoulder.

"It was definitely dirty," Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "Sid was just skating by and he definitely wasn't near the puck.''

Steckel said it was an accident.

"I didn't even know that I hit him," Steckel told the Washington Post. "I was coming back with the 3-on-3 and when the puck went the other way I was facing one way and I came back and joined the rush. I didn't even know it was him until I looked back. I haven't even seen the hit yet. Obviously it wasn't intentional. I was just trying to get up to the play and he was there when I turned around, I guess."

Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com.