Blog Entry

The easy way out

Posted on: December 1, 2009 5:56 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2009 6:04 pm


Me thinks the NHL’s chief disciplinarian owes a big thank you to Tim Gleason.  You know, for sucking it up.

See the Carolina Hurricanes defenseman missed only two shifts from the knee-on-knee hit delivered Monday by Washington’s Alex Ovechkin and seen on all kinds of highlight reels since. And that made it a whole lot easier for Colin Campbell to limit the league’s best player to a two-game suspension.

It could have been longer. Campbell nailed Montreal’s Georges Laraque with five games a couple of weeks ago for a knee-on-knee mainly because it sidelined Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall for the next two months. But since Gleason wasn’t hurt, and Campbell didn’t feel obliged to follow that precedent.


Obviously the league doesn’t really want its most dynamic attraction sitting out. But Ovechkin always plays close to the edge and often over it, enough for his own coach to calls him “reckless,” so Campbell couldn’t avoid punishing the two-time MVP entirely. He’s done that too often in the past, keeping Ovechkin from being branded a repeat offender, but only because his previous indiscretions – and there have been several – have drawn slaps on the wrist.

Ovechkin has been fined what is the equivalent of pocket change at different times in his career for slew foots and hits from behind. But he’s never been suspended, even when he took Pittsburgh’s Sergei Gonchar out of two playoff games last spring with a knee-on-knee hit.

This time, there was no choice if only to help dispel the perception that different rules apply to Stars and fringe players.

Campbell had to suspend the Capitals superstar, just not for too long. Thanks to Gleason.

Category: NHL

Since: May 28, 2007
Posted on: December 2, 2009 8:05 am

The easy way out

Everyone needs to watch the replay again. If you notice Gleason has the puck near the boards after receiving the pass. This is where Ovechkin is planning to make the check. Gleason turns to the centre of the ice to try and avoid the hit. Ovechkin is already leaning to make the hit near or at the boards but he has to change his momentum to make the play and as such his leg is left open and this is where the collision takes place. The announcer is clearly not hockey savvy or he would have known that in order to change your momentum your lower body has to turn first. Sure this turned out to be an open ice hit but it should have been a defenceman passing the puck out of his zone and taking the check along the boards in a safe manner. I know some of you disagree and that's fine but like I said in my previous post, you gotta move the puck and take the check or this kind of reactionary thing is going to happen. It happens all the time but most of the time it isn't a superstar involved because they don't usually hit. Unfortunately for Ovie he has been the centre of attention for a while now because he does hit and guys try to avoid him because he hits hard. If he was a third or fourth line grinder this hit would be brushed off as an aggressive player reacting to an avoidance play.

Since: Jul 28, 2008
Posted on: December 2, 2009 1:40 am

The easy way out

Um, no it isn't.

Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: December 2, 2009 12:27 am

The easy way out

Gotta disagree with a lot of what you said, ak. I do agree that there was nothing malicious about. I don't see any intent to injure Gleason on the play. The term "reckless" is being thrown around ad nauseum. Isn't that just a euphemism people use for the word "dirty"? Look, just because Ovie made a dirty play there doesn't mean he's a dirty player. There are plenty of good clean players in the league who have laid out dirty hits. Ovie may be on his way to becoming a dirty player, but I wouldn't call him one yet. Ovechkin is a skilled enough player that he can still avoid that kind of hit. He knew full well when he leaned into that hit that he had his leg out. He did lean in with his shoulder, but he also stuck his knee out enough to initiate that collision. And I definitely disagree with the "take a hit like a man" comment. It was an open ice check. Of course Gleason will try to avoid it. I'm sorry, but that's human nature to avoid being hit in that situation. You can teach a kid all you want about "being a man", but that doesn't mean he still can't hurt by having his head slam to the ice or something. Learning how to receive checks is something that needs to be taught, but instruction is for play near the boards. An example would be not putting yourself in a dangerous position while facing the boards. So many of these boarding injuries could be avoided if offensive players weren't so careless along the boards. Or teaching them how to properly receive a check while making a pass along the boards. Open ice checks are just flat out dangerous anyway, clean or dirty. How many guys do you see get hurt on clean hip checks in center ice? Open ice checks happen extremely quickly and there is little anyone can do to receive them properly. At least along the boards, the boards are there to cushion a blow. Even on clean open ice hits a player may often not have any time to react. It's instinct to try to avoid it. And I just don't understand this continued attitude to excuse his play. If this was the first time he did it, I could understand. But it's not. He has done this before.

Since: Jan 10, 2007
Posted on: December 2, 2009 12:19 am

Goldstein is dirty

Wes you are one of the worst NHL writers going. I gave up on your years ago, and am only commenting because you are trashing Ovechkin. You need to read Puck Daddy everyday and learn something.

Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: December 2, 2009 12:18 am

The easy way out

I think you might be biased

Since: May 28, 2007
Posted on: December 1, 2009 10:43 pm

The easy way out

I am not a Caps fan or a Pens fan and I don't care what country a guy comes from. I watched the hit right after it happened and I was pretty disappointed in Ovechkin, probably because of what the announcers were building it up to be before I first saw it. I just watched the videos a number of times and after seeing the hit again from various angles I really don't think there was anything malicious about the collision. His shoulder is clearly leaning in to make the clean hit and his back leg was extended away from his body. He was not in a position avoid the knee on knee after Gleason's move to the inside and unfortunately the collision followed and now Ovie is gone for two games. I think the only reason he is suspended is because of the announcers reactions and his history of close calls.
I'd like to point out that there is also a responsibility on the offensive player to avoid a hit like this. Sure he was trying to avoid the hit completely but sometimes the safer route is to move the puck and take the check. Too often nowadays we see a player try to avoid a hit instead of taking it in a safe and protected manner and guys end up injured, either one or both. Stop the collision avoidance tactics, move the puck out of the zone, take the hit like a man and we don't have this conversation. It all starts with minor hockey and the coaches not taking the time to teach kids to properly give and more importantly receive checks and this is the fallout we are left to deal with. Instead of talking about a highlight reel goal we are discussing whether one player should or should not be suspended. It's a shame really.

Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: December 1, 2009 10:43 pm

The easy way out

God. Blah, blah, blah.  So frickin predictable.

Um, yeah.  My squad won the Cup last year, knocked the Caps out of the playoffs for the umpteenth time, and have two players every bit as good as Ovechkin in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.  *Yawn* I could care less about the Caps, they are like the Browns to me.  Pretty much harmless, a joke.  Until they win something or beat my squad when it matters, I will look to teams like the Flyers, Red Wings and Rangers when I consider rivals, ok with you? Either way, I could care less.  I prefaced my comments because of morons like you who dont bother to read the commentary and give it credence.  Instead, you assume its the second grade drivel you are accustomed to. 

Since: Aug 18, 2007
Posted on: December 1, 2009 10:37 pm

The easy way out

You must have completely lost your mind. Please see video where ov8 sticks out right leg just in time to clip unsuspecting player and both getting injured. His own coach admitted to the reckless way OV plays. Please do not comment anymore unless you either actually watch the UTUBE and read a little from the leagues to see what they have posted and videoed. U just look like a moron posting this dribble.

Since: Aug 4, 2009
Posted on: December 1, 2009 10:31 pm

The easy way out

Don't give me this crap that you're a "hockey fan", blah, blah, blah,...It's pretty obvious by your post you have "hate" for Ovie. 

He's not dirty.  He plays with passion and heart.  Is he sometimes "reckless" or over zealous?  Yes,...but that does not make him dirty.  Also, the fact that you pointed out you're a Pens fan makes your statement that much less crediable. 

Since: Aug 4, 2009
Posted on: December 1, 2009 10:21 pm

The easy way out

After watching the hit several times I think it's BS that Ovi got suspended.  He did not "lead with the leg" as the commentators (on the video) kept saying.  Gleason made a quick move to the left after Ovi was already in the hitting motion and because of that their legs/knees hit.  It's pretty easy to see.

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