Heward: Ovechkin not a dirty player

2

January

Lightning defenseman Jamie Heward was teammates with Capitals star Alex Ovechkin for two seasons. He said they were pretty tight. That is why Heward said he strongly believes Ovechkin had no evil intent when he sent him head-first into the corner boards Thursday night at the Verizon Center.

"Once I found out it was Alex, he's in my opinion, he's probably one of the cleanest players in the NHL as far as being honest," Heward said. "He'll play hard on you, but now that I know it was him, I know it wasn't intentional. I  played with him for two years. We were pretty tight when I played there. I totally agree, and I think it was an accident."

Heward, who sustained a concussion from the hit, made it back to Tampa Friday afternoon after what he said was a "quiet" night in a Washington hospital. He said his headache right now is an "eight and a half, nine" on a scale of 10, has some whiplash-like pain at the top of and back of his neck, and that he recalls little of the incident. In fact, he said the first thing he recalls is being in the ambulance.

"If today is any indication of how I'm going to be feeling for a while, it's going to take a while," Heward said.

He said Ovechkin has not tried to contact him, but that is okay.

"He doesn't have to," Heward said. "If he calls me, great. If not, I'm not too concerned about it. I know how he feels. He said it in the paper and talked to some of the guys after. He talked to (friend Evgeny) Artyukhin and told him he's sorry. Some of the other guys on the Capitals left messages and he told them the same thing. As a hockey player, if he doesn't contact me, it could be just a superstition thing, and I totally understand. We'll talk some day. We'll have a beer in the summer or something like that, and we'll rehash it."

[Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:38pm]

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