Personal thoughts…

Tech, Hockey, and random thoughts…

Ovechkin, No Suspension

Alexander Ovechkin apparently will not be suspended for his hit from behind on Briere.

One wonders if Ovechkin’s name was Claude Lemieux how long would the suspension be? I’d guess he’d get three games and twice that if Briere had been hurt.
I love Ovechkin, his raw enthusiasm and skilled physical two-way game is infectious. He’s one of the most quiteable players in the NHL. As a made for TV player he makes Crosby look like a shy immature little child. (And I mean no offence to Crosby skilk-wise, he just isn’t nearly the caharcter Ovechkin is)… but I still don’t see how you defend this hit, and not suspend him.

Far lesser incidents have seen instant suspensions, the NHL apparently doesn’t believe this warrants even a mention. I think it says something that even Washington fans were largely shocked he didn’t recieve a suspension for at least a couple games.

You can see the YouTube video of the hit here on YouTube or download a clearer video here. (19.29MB)

Briere has dumped the puck well before the hit, his head was up and he was slowing down approaching the bench about to step in off the ice for a line-change. Ovechkin is skating full throttle at him from behind and slows slightly as he gets ready for the hit and slams Briere into the boards face first. Apparently in NHL-land this is a perfectly legal hit warranting only a 5 minute major and a game misconduct.

I’m sorry, I like Ovechkin too.. but this was clear. He had more then enough time to move off and chase the puck down the ice, instead he chose to hit Briere from behind into the boards as he was abou to step onto the bench. Since when has this ever been permissable? If Ovechkin wasn’t one of the big faces of the “New NHL, and a very marketing friendly image” he’d have been suspended without question and no one would dispute it.

It’s not nearly the “Worse then Bertuzzi!!” it’s being made out to be by so many fans, but it’s awfully bad, and could easily have caused serious injury. Ovechkin was well aware of what he was doing, made no attempt to avoid it and fully intended exactly what the results were. This wasn’t part of the hockey game, this wasn’t knocking Briere out of the play or attempting to get the puck. Ovechkin actively ignored the direction of the play, and went for Briere. I honestly can’t see this as anything but blatant favourtism by the NHL.

We all know why the NHL turned a blind eye to the thoughtless and dangerous play. It turned the same blind eye when Pavel Bure did things that were thoughtless and dangerous. The league doesn’t suspend players who put fannies in the seats. Nobody wants to see Ovechkin suspended so I suppose everyone’s interests are best served if disciplinary standards don’t apply to a certain class of player. The owners don’t want Ovechkin punished, the media doesn’t want it, the fans don’t want it and the players don’t want it (even though it probably does grate on some who have been suspended for less.) Nobody wants it. Still, failing to suspend a big star does send the wrong message, it does offend one’s sense of justice, and it does damage the credibility of the league disciplinary system.

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December 4, 2006 - Posted by | NHL-Other

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