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: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: December 1, 2009 10:14 pm

The easy way out

First off all Caps fan who read this, yes, I am a Pens fan, so save the responses that I am a hater.  Please remember my team has won 3 cups and have had guys like Mario Lemieux, Ron Francis, Larry Murphy, and Jaromir Jagr and now Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.  I have no reason to "hate" or be jealous so save that crap.  I am also a hockey fan in general and regardless of team, the behavior of Alexander Ovechkin on the ice is unaccpetable.  I am not foolish enough to question his ability or skill, he is among the finest in the NHL.  However, I have to question his character and tactics on the ice.

This guy does some pretty dirty crap on the ice.  There have been more examples than the two knee to knee hits including the one last year in the playoffs that he did not receive a suspension for?  The guy is constantly on the edge of cheap, questionable hits from behind, constant head-hunting, so much he gets away with that other players simply would not.

I have wrote this before, but he reminds me a lot of Eric Lindros.  Obviously Ovie is better, but Lindros also played with an edge and took a lot of shots at his opponents.  His play attracted a lot of attention from his opponents and made him a target throughout his career.  It also, in many ways, ruined it.  Being a marked man led to him spending a lot of time dealing with injury, particularly concussions.  Ovie does himself no favors playing like a cheap shot artist/headhunter, and it could cost him down the line.  I cant say I would feel bad if it does at this point. 

Being tough and playing with a physical edge to your game is fine.  However, being dirty and injuring players with cheap shots is crap.  Hopefully he will learn, but I doubt it.  Its a shame, hes such a great player.

Since: Apr 21, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2009 10:12 pm

The easy way out

Clearly, you do not understand the difference between reckless and dirty. Laraque was trying to hit Kronwall's knee after already taking a high stick.  Ovechkin was out of control and the injuries could have been much worse so I agree with the suspension. To say the only difference is the severity of the injuries and the quality of the offender is ignorant. I expect Pittsburg homies who hate Ovechkin to cry but from a supposed neutral commentator that is pretty lame. Maybe you should try commenting on politics.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: December 1, 2009 8:29 pm

The easy way out

That's exactly what Goldstein said.

Since: Jul 28, 2008
Posted on: December 1, 2009 7:28 pm

Re: The easy way out

I'm not sure setting a double standard in the NHL is a good thing, Wes.  This suspension says that as long as you score goals, you will be held to a different standard than if you are a grinder.  That isn't right.  Ovechkin is a new breed of hockey player who plays both types of game - offensive and gritty.
I would have been in favor of a five game suspension.  The fact that Ovie hit a guy who has strong kneecaps should not mitigate his punishment.  Colin Campbell, in my opinion, is a wuss.

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