Former Lightning defenseman Jamie Heward and Capitals star Alex Ovechkin clear the air
So, we're standing under the stands of the Brandt Centre in Regina before Monday's game with the Senators and who should be there than former Lightning defenseman Jamie Heward, who is from Regina and helping out with the junior team there, the Pats.
Heward's Lightning career basically ended on Jan. 1, when he was run from behind, head first into the corner boards at the Verizon Center in Washington by Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin. Heward sustained a concussion and had to be carted off the ice into an ambulance. The thing that made the situation even more compelling was that Heward and Ovechkin were good friends when Heward played for the Capitals. And for what seemed a long time, Ovechkin never tried to contact Heward to apologize.
Every few weeks, we would ask Heward if Ovechkin had called or sent a message and always Heward said no.
When asked on Monday, however, Heward said the two finally spoke. He said it happened in late March, two weeks after the trade deadline, at which Heward and Olie Kolzig were traded to the Maple Leafs to dump some salary, and, as it turned out, for serviceable defenseman Richard Petiot.
"Washington came through and I was standing outside the hallway talking with some of the guys, and he just came out of the dressing room, a big smile on his face," Heward said. "He came right towards me. We had it out a little bit, 'What were you doing? What were you doing?' We both gave each other hell, but it was good."
Heward, who always maintained the hit was not dirty and he may have contributed to the situation by putting himself in a vulnerable position chasing the puck, said he always knew Ovechkin was worried about him. Heward said he still spoke regularly to former Capitals teammates Mike Green and Brooks Laich.
"He talked to his teammates all the time, and knew I was talking to certain guys," Heward said. "He would always ask how I was doing. Ovie is such a genuine guy all the time. He plays with such an edge, you can't fault him for anything."
Still, Heward, who said he has no ill effects from the concussion, admitted their first talk was pointed.
"He said, 'What were you doing turning back?' I said, 'What were you doing on the defensive side of the puck? You're supposed to be an offensive guy,' " Heward said. "It was just one of those things."
And it was good to clear the air.
"We all have friends who we get into little arguments with," Heward said. "It's the test of a true relationship how fast you get back to talk with him and straighten things out. If it had been two years without talking to him, I might have been a little bit more upset. I totally understand where he was coming from. It was important for me to know how much he cared about it. The fact that he talked to his guys about me all the time and asked how I was doing, made me feel pretty good."