Shanabanned: Alex Ovechkin Suspended For Three Games

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.”

  • Darla Doxstater

    Not surprised that Ovi gets slammed (it wasn’t clean, but it wasn’t that dirty, either), while the jerk in the ‘Whines uniform gets off scot-free. Tell me again there’s no bias.

  • Jim

    I don’t have a problem with Shanahan’s explanation, but I’m a bit baffled as to how Michalek gets off with nothing.  I think we could have benefited with a video explaining that one, but from what I can tell there isn’t one.  Why isn’t there a video explanation for every hearing?

  • Dark Stranger

    I’d say there is definitely bias going on here.  No suspension for Michalek who’s hit was an even worse hit and retaliatory.   And for Ovi, so much for a Statute of Limitations for the time frame considered for bad behavior.

  • Strohl2

    Not cool. Both feet left the ice…not sure why he would do this…:(

  • Sonja Andrews

    Really?  Having seen both hits in context … either both deserve additional discipline or neither of them do.  But to punish one and not the other is capricious.  It’s not discipline.  It’s revenge.

  • Aleks

    I shall call it the Ovechban…

  • Bobby Gee

    Bias?  YES!  Michalek got NOTHING for his more dangerous hit and Ovie gets 3 games.  Shameful, total BS.  When Ovie was suspended in March 2010 for his hit on Campbell, it was in a nationally televised NBC game, same as the Pens game.  Coincidence?

    Ovie went into a long sustained funk after the 2010 suspension.  I hope he isn’t similarly affected, especially now that he seemed to be regaining his form.

    Some are suggesting Ovie should skip the ASG to send a message to the league for their decision to suspend him again.  While he might be justified, he better be prepared to get an additional game suspension.  Nick Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk were punished a few years ago for skipping the ASG to spend time with their families.  Unless he has a health related reason, Ovie could get a similar punishment.  Since the Caps are in a dogfight for the SE lead and every point is crucial,  I think Ovie as Caps Captain will put the team first.

  • J.P.

    Christ on a cheese cracker! That’s just a godawful, mind-numbingly bad display of asshattery coming from Sir Brendan Doucheweasel. It’s perfectly fucking clear that that this is a send-a-message-that-star players-don’t-get-preferential-treatment moment. Even if said star’s hit wasn’t as bad as Michalek’s hit, well, too fuckin’ bad says the man in charge, who’s apparently too distracted by the giant red clown shoes on his feet to be able to think logically.  Hey Shanahan, if your clown shoes, face paint, and bulbous nose are making you look worse than your predecessor, it’s probably time to rethink the process that led to this particular miscarriage of justice. Hell, Campbell’s infamous wheel of justice probably could’ve done a better job of dispersing even-handed discipline than whatever trainwreck of a thought process came up with this.
    Was a suspension on Ovi warranted? Probably. Was a suspension on Michalek warranted? Definitely. Michalek admits to targeting Hendricks’ head in retaliation for Ovi’s hit and it was a worse hit, to boot. If you’re gonna suspend Ovi, you have to suspend Michalek. It’s not that hard to figure out.
    Ya know, having the worst refereeing  in all of professional sports is bad enough. When the league’s face of discipline hands out rulings like this this, it makes the NHL look worse than the bush league entity it already is.

  • Dark Stranger

    You’re the not only person who believes that Michalek’s hit is more dangerous.  My husband watched both the hits on You Tube and believes that that is the case.  And he’s not the only one.

  • Yk

    And Shanahan pal Zetterberg also got nothing today. ??

  • michael01a

    To say the truth, the hit looked pretty scary – a lot of force applied to the head. if it was a bit higher or lower and the helmet didn’t absorb it, there would be a concussion.
    The problem is – i can’t see, how Ovi can avoid it in the future.
    Stop hitting at all? Stop hitting guys, that are shorter?
    But hitting (not dirty elbows to the head etc) is a part of the show.
    There are vizors to save from the pucks to the face.
    There are pads to save from the pucks to the body.
    So, just make the helmets better and oviproof and stop punishing him for beieng himself.

  • micahel01asucks

    are you not getting the part where he left his skates? otherwise the hit is fine.

  • michael01a

    i aint arguing with somebody, whose nickname sucks 🙂

  • Travis Eshleman

    Ovechkin left his skates. However it was noted that the head was not a target, it was not the initial contact point, it was not blind side. This should have been a 2 or 4 minute penalty for charging. This does not fit the definition of a head shot per the rule book. While I don’t know the rule book back to front as some people seem to; to my knowledge charging is not a suspend-able offense.  

    I take issue, as should every other player in the NHL whether they have been fined/suspended or not, that his “history” was taken into consideration.  According to the current CBA, because his last suspension more that 18 months ago he would not be considered a repeat offender, thus should not have been taken into account.  I find this bending of the rules to fit the suspension concerning.

    Lastly, the fact that Michalek gets no discipline aside from the on ice penalty is appalling.  This was a textbook definition of targeting of the head… even if he did “miss” and hit him in the neck.  His hit had more potential to cause injury than the hit provided by Ovechkin.

  • Peter


    I’m with you on most of this– but Shanny says that once you leave your skates, it doesn’t matter what your initial point of contact is. You are responsible for any contact once you’re airborne.

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  • mcawful

    I’m so bummed.  I’m not gonna debate the hit.  I agree with the above “not clean/not dirty” statement.  Depressing.

    Was anybody else expecting Shanahan to whip out a banana and a condom in the beginning?  I’m creeped out.