Hey NHL: Where is the Justice for Ovechkin??!!

November 04, 2009 | Ed Frankovic

So I have been following all of the coverage surrounding the Alexander Ovechkin injury and the more I read about it the more incensed I have become. So when is the NHL brass going to come out and condemn the circumstances surrounding it?

After all, the most entertaining player in the league is on the shelf, week-to-week, because he made a couple of clean hits and Ken Hitchcock’s Columbus Blue Jackets decided that instead of getting even with a legal check in retaliation they would simply jump the Great #8 while he skated by their bench during a stoppage in play, likely injuring Ovechkin. To me this is just like a couple of thugs hiding out on the street and mugging the pedestrian as he walks by. Once caught they would get jail time yet the NHL, in this instance, so far has done NOTHING!! And to literally add insult to injury Hitchcock is going around in the media bragging about going after a guy who is a major meal ticket for the NHL.

“That would be correct. That’s the name of the game. Why, is that against the rules now?… Run, chase, hunt down, hit, whatever word you want to use that would be correct,” responded Hitchcock when asked if Columbus was targeting Ovechkin.

Well yes Ken, jumping a guy by your bench during a stoppage in play is against the rules and using the words “hunt down” to describe it is even more despicable and is a disgrace to sports and the NHL. In fact, this whole incident, from the punch by Jason Chimera to the mugging by Jared Boll to Hitchcock’s comments, has no place in the league and Gary Bettman and Colin Campbell need to come down hard on the Blue Jackets for this incident IMMEDIATELY, because if they don’t then their game is going to become a joke very quickly.

 “Hunt Down”… are you kidding me? What has the NHL become Wild Kingdom??!!

All the NHL is doing by not doing anything is making Ovechkin, who is selling lots of tickets and driving up TV ratings exponentially for the league, likely have to deal with this scenario on a game-by-game basis going forward. What is he going to have to watch behind his back at every stoppage in play now? It would surely seem so since Hitchcock and company have drawn up this blue print that teams can use without even the threat of an ounce of punishment? Ridiculous, if you ask me.

You want to keep a good product that is gaining serious traction, and that is what the NHL mostly is these days because of the speed and flow of the game, then you need to stomp this type of stuff out now, otherwise we might as well all get ready to go watch pro wrestling instead. This roller derby type of activity needs to be taken out of hockey immediately.

Amidst all of the thuggery around Ovechkin on Sunday I also can’t help but point the finger at Don Cherry of Hockey Night in Canada, who seems to have incited players to go after Ovechkin with his weekly diatribes against the two-time Hart Trophy winner. Yes, this is the same guy who has ripped European players for years for being soft and now finally the NHL has a megastar in the Great #8 from Russia who hits and scores yet all Cherry wants to do is bash him on Coach’s Corner and say “that somebody is going to get him??” Which way do you want it to be Don??!! Are you happy now that Ovechkin has been injured while being mugged on the ice? Was Columbus’ thug-like actions the “manly” way to try and get back at Ovechkin because he happens to hit effectively while the puck is in play? 

Cherry’s statements are totally hypocritical.  Hypocritical on this issue just like he was on Ovechkin and “show-boating” last year when Alex did his 50th goal celebration. You wanna talk about show-boating? Cherry is one of the all time biggest show boaters ever! All you have to do is break out the old videos from his coaching days or see the “look at me” outfits he wears every Saturday night.

Seriously though, the NHL needs to wake up fast. There are things happening in the game right now that need changing and it all starts with checking. It seems now that if a guy makes a clean hit on a player then immediately he is jumped by one of his opponents and forced to fight. What is that? What happened to the give and take that used to occur within the game in the NHL? If you get hit clean, find a way to either check that player later during play or even better yet, keep your head up, go around him, and score a goal next time you are on the ice. That is a sure fire way to deter that type of activity. This stupid code, and that is all it is, that exists now in response to clean checks needs to be removed, pronto!

And the NHL needs to come out immediately and condemn the actions of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday against the Caps and Alexander Ovechkin as well. Allowing teams to “Hunt Down” star players and then brag about it is no way to have your league operating.