The National Hockey League suspended Alexander Ovechkin three games today for his hit on Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Zbynek Michalek in Sunday’s 4-3 overtime loss. Michalek also had a hearing on Monday for his hit on Matt Hendricks but he escaped any suspension or fines. Michalek’s hit was penalized during the game while Ovechkin’s was not.
The NHL has been cracking down on hits to the head and former player Brendan Shanahan is in charge of handing out the rulings. Shanahan pointed out that the Gr8 left his feet and hit the opponents head despite initial contact with the shoulder. In addition, Ovechkin’s past suspensions played a significant role in the judgement.
This suspension comes at a terrible time for the Capitals, who are already missing Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green due to injury. It also isn’t good for the league because Ovechkin likely won’t go this upcoming weekend to Ottawa for the All Star Game as a suspended player. The Gr8 is allowed to play in that exhibition game but must miss Tuesday’s contest against Boston and then next week’s tilts at Tampa Bay and Florida. Given how much flack Ovechkin gets from the Canadian media, it really makes no sense for him to go the meaningless game. The Gr8 will constantly be bombarded by reporters about the hit and likely villified in the Canadian press, as he routinely gets treated now. The only losers in all of this are the many fans who still love Ovechkin.
So basically if Ovechkin goes to the all star game he’ll get slammed for the hit more and if he doesn’t go, he’ll get ripped for bailing on the young fans. The guy can’t win. If I was him, I’d skip the whole weekend, go to the Carribean, and recharge my battery for a run at the playoffs and beyond.
Notes: The Caps sent defensemen Tomas Kundratek back to Hershey today meaning either John Erskine or Jeff Schultz will play against the Bruins..Speaking of the Bruins, goalie Tim Thomas chose not to attend today’s team ceremony at the White House and posted his rationale on facebook citing the growth of Government by both parties, among other items. It is a free country and people can do what they want, but if you ask me this was a selfish move that will draw unnecessary attention to him and his team and adds another distraction to the Bruins quest to defend Lord Stanley. I think it was a terrible decision by Thomas because whether you agree or not with the policies of the Commander in Chief, you have to respect the position. Therefore, he should’ve gone and kept his mouth shut, but apparently he was thinking only of himself.