Colin Campbell finally showed some guts Tuesday, suspending Alex Ovechkin for two games after his collision with Carolina’s Tim Gleason.
It was unclear as to whether or not Ovechkin would receive further punishment from the National Hockey League, other than the game misconduct he served in the game. NHL officials have been rather inconsistent in serving ‘superstar’ players with suspensions and Ovechkin — a player with a track record of running at players with no consequences — presented the league with a prime chance to set an example.
The fact that Ovechkin was rather blatant in his pursuit and hit on Gleason made it a little bit easier for the league to issue a suspension.
Even Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau admitted that Ovechkin plays “pretty reckless.”
Ovechkin showed little remorse Wednesday after being ejected from a game against the Sabres, claiming that he’s not going to change the way he plays the game. However, he changed his tune Tuesday and expressed relief that Gleason was able to return to the game just two shifts later.
“I regret that this has happened,” Ovechkin said in a statement released by the team. “I’m glad that Tim wasn’t injured because I never ever want to see anyone get hurt.”
Ovechkin continued by commenting on the injury he sustained from the blow, which was apparently far worse than Gleason’s as he was unable to return to the game. It appears he will not miss significant time — he was skating in warmups at the Capitals’ practice Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s not a bad injury,” Ovechkin said. “I thought it was going to be worse, but thank God I can walk, I can skate. Of course, it’s a little bit sore, but it’s not that serious.”
Ovechkin will lose $98,844.16 in salary because of the suspension.
Boudreau said he won’t try and change his leading scorer’s approach to the game. While he believes it is risky, being a league leader in scoring every year is hard to argue with — not matter the style of play — and idiotic to try and change.
“He’s pretty reckless,” he 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.”
“Alex plays hard,” Boudreau said. “All the time. I don’t think there’s a malicious bone of him trying to hurt anybody. He just plays hard and he plays to win every shift. And it’s a really fine line between taking that away from him, and I don’t see how you can take it away other than talking to him and saying, ‘We don’t want to put you in that situation any more.’ But when he gets out there, he just wants to win so badly he does whatever we can for that team to succeed.”
Chris | PPT