Ovechkin suspended for Campbell hit
It is the second suspension of the season for the two-time defending Hart Trophy winner.
Ovechkin, who was suspended for two games on Nov. 30, 2009, now is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Accordingly, he forfeits $232,645.40 in salary, based on the number of games in the season (82). The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Ovechkin will miss Washington’s next two games — March 16 at Florida and March 18 at Carolina. He will be eligible to return March 20 at Tampa Bay.
“We have no problem with the way Alex tried to finish his check. Unfortunately, an injury resulted. We are disappointed with the suspension but do not want to comment further,” Capitals vice president and general manager George McPhee said in a statement.
The Capitals said Ovechkin missed practice Monday because he had to be on the phone with Colin Campbell, the NHL’s director of hockey operations, to discuss the hit.
“If this was Sidney Crosby doing this, everybody outside of Pittsburgh would have cried foul: ‘Suspend him for the year,'” Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said in an interview with the team’s Web site. “I don’t think it does the game any good to have Alex suspended.”
Ovechkin was ejected from the nationally televised game for pushing Campbell from behind into the boards in the first period and received a major penalty and a game misconduct. Campbell, according to league sources, suffered a broken clavicle and at least one broken rib, and it’s questionable whether he’ll return this season. The team is calling it an upper-body injury and said Campbell will miss the Blackhawks’ three-game road trip this week out West that starts Wednesday night in Anaheim, Calif.
“Brian Campbell is one of the best skaters in the National Hockey League,” Boudreau said. “If he thought danger was coming, and he saw Alex right behind him, he would have moved. I think he was trying to spin away and the spin didn’t work, and he got caught in the ice and he fell into the boards.
“That’s me, and a lot of people are going to bash that thought. But that’s my opinion.”
The Capitals came back from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 in overtime.
Campbell consulted with team physicians on Monday, and the team is expected to issue a statement on Tuesday.
Campbell has seven goals and 31 assists on the season. He is a key defenseman for the Blackhawks, who are second overall in the Western Conference two points behind San Jose.