Two of the best teams in the NHL met on Sunday morning as the Capitals battled the Blackhawks in Chicago. Although the game featured a dramatic three goal comeback by the Capitals, who won the game 4-3 in overtime, it is making headlines for the wrong reasons.
With 7:44 left in the first period Ovechkin pushed Brian Campbell from behind into the end boards after Campbell had reversed the puck to his defense partner. Campbell was in a very vulnerable position when the much bigger Ovechkin made contact. Both men were traveling at high speeds when Ovechkin needlessly pushed Campbell from behind who then flew very awkwardly into the boards. Ovechkin received a five minute major and a game misconduct on the play.
Not only did the Blackhawks blow a three goal lead going into the third, they also lost in overtime putting an end to a hellish weekend for the young team from Chicago. Unfortunately for the Hawks it appears the news just got a lot worse.
TSN is reporting that Brian Campbell may miss the rest of the season due to a broken clavicle and broken ribs which were suffered as a result of Ovechkin's hit. Ovechkin said after the game that "it was not a hard hit. He just fell bad." In truth however, it was a dangerous, selfish, and reckless hit on a player who was in a vulnerable position and who did not have the puck.
Maxime Lapierre received a four game suspension for a very similar hit on Sharks forward Scott Nichol on March 4th. There was no penalty assessed to Lapierre on the play and Nichol missed about a week with an upper body injury.
The NHL has come under scrutiny recently after Matt Cooke was not suspended after his blatant head shot on Marc Savard. It will be interesting to see how the NHL handles this recent Ovechkin hit, and a good chance for the league to ease the perception that certain players are held to a double standard. After all, Alexander Ovechkin is not a first time offender, so just how many chances will the NHL give him before he is disciplined?