The NHL actually suspended Ovechkin 2 games for his knee-to-knee hit on Carolina Hurricane defenseman Tim Gleason. [Here's the hit: Ovechkin Knees Gleason] Granted this is not the first time Ovie has committed some, shall we say, borderline hits (especially multiple boardings and at least one other knee hit that comes to mind). This hit wasn’t even that bad. This suspension reeks of a punishment for cumulative acts and the NHL trying to pretend its stars are no different from other players. I guess I have to commend the NHL, but it is hard to laud them all that much since the punishment is late coming (for Ovie generally, not this hit specifically) and what it should have done for this type of conduct.
Don’t get me wrong. Ovechkin is a great player (obviously) and not dirty. But he certainly plays on the edge. And so must suffer the consequences, including suspension and injuring himself.
It is interesting to wonder what would have happened if this act was committed by someone like Sean Avery, or even someone less vilified, like Voros. I’d be willing to wager that the suspension would have been longer and the backlash much more severe. The league suspended a marquee star, but is the treatment actually equal for all?
By the way, does Ovechkin get to serve his 2 game suspension while recovering from the injury — games he would have missed anyway??? If so, that is yet another rule that must be changed.