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Sunday March 14, 2010 8:19 pm

Ovechkin gets boot for boarding penalty




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, NHL,

Alex OvechkinIt’s happened already. Less than a week after concerns about what would happen if a star NHL player were to be suspended for a dirty hit, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin – arguably the greatest player in the game, receives a major penalty and a game misconduct for hurling Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell into the boards in the first period of a Sunday afternoon game. Ovechkin now faces the possibility of supplemental discipline after further review of the incident by the league.

Kudos goes to referees Dan O’Halloran and Frederick L’Ecuyer for having the guts to toss Ovi from the game for his crime. They knew the rules, and despite Ovechkin’s superstar status, they enforced the law of the NHL to the letter and the fans in Chicago didn’t have to put up with his brutal tactics much longer than half a period. Ovechkin logged just four minutes and 50 seconds of ice time, managing only a single shot on goal.

It’s still hard to fathom that the NHL brass can consider creating a blindside headshot rule that might result in a two-minute minor, if anything, while Ovechkin’s shove into the boards resulted in a five minute major and a game misconduct. The league claims it can’t create a new rule in the middle of a season, to which many have responded by inviting the league to take a look at the not-so-subtlely nicknamed “Sean Avery Rule”, which was an ‘interpretation’ of an existing one that was put into effect a day after Avery played in an unsportsmanlike manner.

The Hawks thing Campbell might be out for a short while, and some within the team are hoping Ovechkin is suspended after a league review, but don’t hold your breath. The league is taking a lot of heat for their no-action decision with Matt Cooke last week, so how they deal with this situation is completely unpredictable. They may choose to honor the rules by giving Ovechkin a few games off, or they may continue to do nothing, which everybody will understand without words that it’s because Ovechkin is Ovechkin. Either way, the NHL is far from safe, in many senses of the word.

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