Alex Ovechkin's hit on Brian Campbell remains polarizing more than a week later, and the reactions to the hit from hockey bigwigs continue to surprise. Don Cherry, for example, had only mildly harsh words for the Caps star.
"Listen kids, never when a guy's kind of stumbling into the boards push him, but I really don't believe he meant to break his [collarbone]," Cherry said. "It's stupid what he did, he should never have done this, it's almost like icing, but I don't think he meant to break his shoulder and all that and I love what Brodeur [sic] said: it wasn't Ovechkin, it was the boards. Well, that's like pushing a guy off the building and saying it wasn't the push, it was the ground that did it. He should never have done that, never ever ever, but I don't think he meant to hurt him that bad, so here I am sticking up for Ovechkin."
Well, sort of sticking up for him. While confusing his coach for New Jersey's goalie. Here's who's not sticking up for Ovechkin: Chicago owner Rocky Wirtz.
"He doesn't need to do that," Wirtz told Crain's during a Business of Sports taping. "It's an angry outburst, for whatever reason, that he has to deal with. I just think he's too great a player, and he doesn't need to do that. The puck wasn't even near him, and he shoved [Campbell]. He could have skated the other way. It wasn't by accident. He knew exactly what he was doing."
Wirtz's solution to the spate of serious hits in recent months, or at least the perception of a spate, is to enact eye-for-an-eye punishment, which will obviously never happen in this or any other sports league. But it does make for a great soundbite.
"If any one of our great players put Ovechkin out for the season, he should be out for the season, too," Wirtz told Crain's. "Make it commensurate. If you're really going to hurt a player, knee to knee, make a head hit, and you're out for the season, then let them suspend that player for the rest of the season. I'll tell you, you wouldn't see those knee-to-knee and head hits anymore."
(Via Pro Hockey Talk)