Monday, March 15, 2010

Ovechkin Suspended for 2 Games - Fair?

During Sunday's thrilling Capitals 4-3 OT comeback win against the Chicago Blackhawks, Alex Ovechkin was ejected after what appeared to be a boarding infraction when he pushed Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell and Campbell fell injured on the boards.

I'm going to post the hit here so that once again, you can make the call:

I will concede to this: The hit wasn't the best hit that Ovechkin could have made. I don't agree that he hit him in that situation. Knowing that Ovechkin has probably the strength of a god, he should have known better and probably have drawn back while Campbell recovered the puck - THEN lay a big hit on him.

HOWEVER, the most was given to Ovechkin as a result of this hit. Following the incident, Ovechkin heads to the penalty box for a five minute major. Then, it was learned that he received a 10-minute game misconduct. THEN, Ovechkin is ejected from the entire game!

Luckily for the Capitals, this happened early on, and gave the team ample time to adjust so that they could comeback from a three-goal deficit to win.

Unfortunately for Ovechkin, today there was a hearing and it was decided that the Capitals' superstar forward was going to be suspended - again - for two games...

Now, like I said, I'm not entirely defending the hit. Ovechkin has to learn how to keep his strength in check, regardless of how "reckless" he wants to play. But did it warrant a suspension? No. It didn't even warrant the ejection even, and the major penalty would have done.

Where Ovechkin hit him (referring back to the video), it was actually on the shoulder pad of Campbell, and not entirely from behind, as originally thought. Also, the hit occurred a little further than where a typical boarding penalty would be called. Nonetheless, Ovechkin still hit Campbell in a dangerous spot, and in the position of an official, of you are on the fence with a call, especially like boarding, you would go ahead and call it.

So in a perfect world, Ovechkin would have been still called for a five-minute major penalty for boarding. A game misconduct might be a little more, but the hit was dangerous, and I would even let that go. But an apologetic Ovechkin still had to leave the rest of the game? Not so sure about that one.

As harsh as it may sound, Campbell is slightly also at fault for not obeying one of those rules that every hockey player is told from youth: keeping your head up. Campbell could have been more prepared for an incoming body. Campbell was also not in the best place to play the puck; thus, putting anyone who came across him at risk for hitting him dangerously. There is no benefit to this, as that is no strategy, so it wasn't done purposely.

Here's where the biggest of big problems lies... Why isn't Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins suspended? Where was his penalty/game-misconduct/ejection/suspension sequence? In my previous two posts, I make reference to Cooke's elbow to Boston's Marc Savard's head. This hit ended Savard's season, and puts the Bruins without a key player. However, it was concluded that Cooke will receive no punishment...

O_o... Yet, for a much less intentional hit that was not to the head, rather an unfortunate situation of bad timing aka shit happens, Ovechkin got a suspension added to his in-game punishments. Funny, because this Cooke hit just occurred last week!

It is in hope that the NHL gets a consistent system together - and not consistency regarding lack of suspensions for headshots. The second the NHL got some good press for the Olympics and the success of the Capitals, then things like this take precedent. I will not disclose further thoughts as to how I feel about how they made this decision to suspend Ovechkin. But, if you know me personally, you already know what I have to say.

At least Versus and Direct TV have reached a new deal today. Now to get hockey on a better channel... Not gonna happen under Gary Bettman's watch unfortunately.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not entirely familiar on what's a legal body check and whatnot, but that hit didn't seem all that bad and quite frankly, I'm surprised Campbell was injured on that play. My only issue was that the hit appeared to be from behind. Again, I'm not super familiar with hockey rules, but since hitting from behind is illegal in lacrosse, I'll assume it's illegal in hockey too.