Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 12/02/09 at 02:00 AM ET
On Tuesday, Colin Campbell grew a pair and the league announced that superstar Alex Ovechkin will be hit with a two game suspension for his actions Monday night in Raleigh. This is Ovechkin’s first suspension, but hardly the first time he’s been involved in some questionable play. His star status has protected him a couple of times in the past, but finally, the league has decided to make the superstar sit (even though he would probably sit out with a sore knee anyway).
While some are complaining that the suspension is unfair and others are complaining that it’s not enough, I’m okay with it. Sure, somebody like Laraque gets five for the same thing, but until now, Ovie wasn’t in the NHL’s “naughty” book. The next time (and there WILL be a next time), he might get a longer suspension. The next time, he might end up injuring himself even more than he did this time. But the point of the suspension is to try to make sure there isn’t a next time. Ovechkin has to understand that his reckless brand of play puts the careers of other players and even his own career in jeopardy.
The key thing that some people are forgetting when they say “the suspension is moot because he’s going to sit out with injury anyway” is that Ovechkin will have to forfeit salary for those two games. And don’t forget about the mandatory but nominal $200 fine imposed by the league for the game misconduct.
Ovechkin won’t be exiled to the poor house because of this. He’ll hardly notice the forfeiture of salary.
While he continues to say things like “I’m not going to change” and “It is what it is”, it sounds like even Bruce Boudreau is getting a little tired of it. Boudreau has always defended Ovie when he’s been involved in some questionable play. He’s always stood behind Ovie when the player has been criticized by the press and fans. And now, it sounds like he’s ready to give the superstar some advice. From a TSN article:
“He’s pretty reckless,” Boudreau said. “It’s hard telling a guy that scores 60 goals a year to change the way he plays. At the same time, I don’t want to see him getting hurt. Maybe he has to pick his spots a little better. The open-ice hits, you just look around the league. It’s not only the hitter, it’s the guy that gets hit. ... It’s something that will have to be addressed by us, I guess. ... Not only as a coach, but as somebody who admires him, I just don’t want him to put himself in harm’s way, so we’ll see.”
Naturally, Boudreau’s main focus is on protecting Mr. Leonsis’ investment, but at least it’s a start
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David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.