Ovechkin smash! (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)
Alex Ovechkin has been suspended three games for his hit on Penguins defensemen Zbynek Michalek–here’s our post on it if you haven’t seen the hit, which happened in the second period of Sunday’s game. He will miss upcoming games against the Bruins, Lightning, and Panthers, and won’t be back in action until the February 4th game against the Canadiens twelve days from now. He will forfeit $154,677.75 in salary for the three games.
Ovechkin is the first Capitals player to receive supplemental discipline this season, making the Caps the 22nd team to have a player suspended, with only 8 teams still untouched. To some extent Ovechkin is a “repeat offender”, at least according to the spirit of the law, though the rulebook clarifies this as a player with offenses on his record within the last 18 months, and Ovechkin’s last suspension was 22 months ago. Given Ovechkin’s reputation for leaving his feet on hits, though, Brendan Shanahan–celebrating his 43rd birthday today, which you’d think would put him in a better mood–clearly decided to make a point.
Here’s Brendan Shanahan’s video explaining the suspension. Console yourself with the swooshy sound effects.
While I am generally anti-brain-damage overall, the team will miss Ovechkin horribly, especially in the game against the Bruins tomorrow. With Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green already out, Ovechkin’s three-game absence will leave Alex Semin as the last “Young Gun” standing. …Godspeed, Alex Semin.
In a team that’s still finding their feet under Dale Hunter’s new system, Ovechkin has often been relied upon to drive offensive play–we have to confess we’re not sure what the Caps will look like tomorrow, but in a game against the reigning Stanley Cup champions, they’ll need an inspired effort like they were able to pull together when similarly shorthanded Sunday.
Michalek, who also had a hearing today to answer for his retaliatory hit on Matt Hendricks, escaped any suspension or fine. Speaking to the Washington Post’s Katie Carrera this morning, Hendricks said, “You don’t want guys going hunting for each other — trying to put them out with concussions, things like that. But at the same time, if this game isn’t played physically, it’s not a very good hockey game.”