PITTSBURGH -- Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen reiterated his stance that he never tried to hurt Penguins captain Sidney Crosby in Game 3, explaining that the play that ended up concussing Crosby and that will keep him out of Game 4 tonight in Pittsburgh, was so fast he couldn't avoid it.
"I wish I had one hand on my stick and my hands were way down," Niskanen said Wednesday after the Capitals' morning skate. "The collision happened fast."
He also expects that, in an emotionally charged atmosphere, there might be teammates of Crosby's out for retribution. "Possibly," Niskanen said. "It's a hockey game. Hockey players are emotional guys. If that happens, we'll cross that bridge."
Niskanen, Crosby's former teammate from their time together with the Penguins, said he hasn't reached out to Crosby yet after the collision and fully expected Crosby still to be angry about the hit. He said he'll likely be in touch with his former teammate once everything settles down.
"When I was here, I got along with him really well," Niskanen said. "He was a good leader, great teammate."
Capitals star Alex Ovechkin also talked about the hit and Crosby's absence from the series because of another concussion.
Ovechkin said it was hard to see Crosby go down the way he did.
"He's a player you don't want that stuff to happen," Ovechkin said. "I hope he's going to be fine... He's the best player in the game, and he's key for their success."