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Ejected Canes’ forward Ferland: ‘A clean hit ... I don’t agree with the call’

Canes’ Ferland: “I thought it was a clean hit”

Hurricanes forward Micheal Ferland disagreed with the five-minute penalty and ejection he received in the second period for his hit on Nic Dowd in the 4-3 overtime loss to the Capitals in Game 2 of their playoff series on April 13, 2019.
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Hurricanes forward Micheal Ferland disagreed with the five-minute penalty and ejection he received in the second period for his hit on Nic Dowd in the 4-3 overtime loss to the Capitals in Game 2 of their playoff series on April 13, 2019.

Long dressed in a purple-patterned shirt and purple knit tie, Micheal Ferland was unapologetic for his match penalty in a way not many players in his position often are. Then again, not many believe they’re entirely innocent — and have reason to believe it.

The Carolina Hurricanes forward was given a match penalty for a hit to the head — an infraction that carries with it a five-minute penalty and an ejection — during the second period of Saturday’s 4-3 overtime Game 2 loss to the Washington Capitals, but both Ferland and Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour insisted that the primary point of contact with Capitals forward Nic Dowd was Ferland’s back as he let up on the hit.

“To be honest with you, I let up,” Ferland said. “I seen him reach for the puck, I could have finished with my shoulder and I didn’t. I came and hit him with my butt. I thought it was a clean hit. I don’t agree with the call.”

Asked whether he was worried about being suspended, Ferland shrugged.

“Like I said, I don’t think it was a dirty hit,” Ferland said. “I don’t think I deserve to be suspended. I take pride in my game of being a clean hitter. I never want to hurt anybody. So, I don’t think it was a bad hit.”

Dowd, who went immediately to the Capitals’ locker room, returned as soon as the penalty had been assessed and was ticketed for two high-sticking penalties later in the game.

Brind’Amour, who later defended the officials’ job as difficult, maybe even too difficult for humans, was nonetheless frustrated to lose a player and have to kill a lengthy major penalty, although the Hurricanes did, successfully.

“I thought it was a good hit,” Brind’Amour said. “Originally, it did look bad, when you first watch it live. But then you watch it, and you see it, I get to sit and stare at it on the screen, he doesn’t hit his head. The contact is, the first point of contact for sure, is not the head. That’s frustrating. We lose a player, have to kill a five-minute penalty, that gets frustrating for sure.”

MAN BEHIND THE MASK Petr Mrazek has been stellar in goal for the Hurricanes since allowing a questionable goal to Nicklas Backstrom to start Game 1, and his point-blank save on John Carlson at the regulation buzzer got things to overtime. He survived a scary moment in the second period when a Carlson shot caught him in the mask and knocked it loose.

“It catch me a little bit on the chin there,” Mrazek said. “When I fell, I didn’t have the mask on and I hit the ice pretty hard with my face. I think that was worse than the shot.”

MORE FROM THE TOP Andrei Svechnikov and Lucas Wallmark are tied for the Hurricanes’ lead with three points apiece through two games, and while Sebastian Aho broke his scoring drought Saturday, it’s hard to keep up with Nicklas Backstrom (three goals, one assist) and Alex Ovechkin (one goal, two assists) without the Hurricanes’ top two lines contributing more.

“We have to be better, our line in general,” Hurricanes captain Justin Williams said. “I haven’t been good this series, and if you talk to our other top scorers, we have to be a lot better. And we will be in Game 3.”

TAILWINDS Justin Faulk, at fault for both of the goals that gave the Capitals a 2-0 lead, finished minus-3. … Saku Manaelanen, who was left behind at the team hotel and had to take a cab to the arena, drew into the lineup for Greg McKegg. “He was fine,” Brind’Amour said. “He didn’t play that much. I didn’t get him out there that much.” … The Hurricanes’ pregame soccer warmup produced an unwanted guest when a shot dislodged a ceiling tile and a dead rat fell to the concrete floor.

Sports columnist Luke DeCock has covered the Summer Olympics, the Final Four, the Super Bowl and the Carolina Hurricanes’ Stanley Cup. He joined The News & Observer in 2000 to cover the Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a columnist in 2008. A native of Evanston, Ill., he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has won multiple national and state awards for his columns and feature writing while twice being named North Carolina Sportswriter of the Year.
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