Monday, March 15, 2010

Over the line?

I'm sure many have seen the hit that Alex Ovechkin laid on Brian Campbell over the weekend. If you havent seen it here is the video.

I think the reactions to the hit have changed tone a bit after hearing that Campbell may now miss the rest of the season with a broken collarbone, broken ribs, and a Grade 2 concussion, and I think that is fair. Bob McKenzie has a solid point that in every part of life the severity of the consequence as the result of some misguided behavior plays into the punishment.

Considering that this is part of a string of incidences involving Ovechkin, and now by far the most significant in terms of the resulting injury, the NHL needs to take a hard line with its star player and let him know that these hits are unacceptable. Furthermore, reaction to the hit needs to not only come in the form of supplementary discipline by the NHL, but the league's players should be vocal about abolishing the dangerous, necessary, blind side hits, which put every player at risk. The NHL has always had a tradition of allowing the players to police the game, and while dropping the gloves can sometimes be effective in controlling an isolated match, that will not have any effect on the over arching problem.

Instead, it is important that respected NHL leaders speak out about these hits and adamantly lobby for fitting discipline by the NHL. I applaud Bill Guerin for calling out his own teammate, Matt Cooke, for his dangerous hit on Marc Savard, which consequently may cause Savard to miss the rest of the season with a concussion. I know some will criticize Guerin, citing conduct detrimental to the team, but I think that every player, especially a Guerin (well-respected veteran and has roles in the NHLPA), has a higher duty as a hockey player to deem these plays as intolerable.

Personally, I think that Colin Campbell should hand out a suspension to Ovie of no less than three games to send an adequate message that he needs to be in more control in his physicality on the ice.

1 comment:

Mike said...

Ya but think about all the money that gets donated to the players fund everytime Ovi gets suspended. Cha-Ching!

Really the two games is adequate, but really it doesn't end up affecting anything long term. If Campbell doesn't get hurt, there's no call. Those hits have to be policed even when there's no injury, not just when some freak occurence happens and a dude breaks his collarbone.

But the real problem will be what happens when Ovi does this in the playoffs, which he will. Not a chance on God's green Earth he gets suspended then, a la Malkin last year.