Ovechkin Incurs Fine, No Suspension

By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Alex Ovechkin spoke by telephone yesterday with Colin Campbell, the NHL's vice president in charge of discipline, about Saturday's controversial hit on Buffalo Sabres captain Daniel Briere, which resulted in Ovechkin's first career ejection.

Campbell told the Washington Capitals' star winger that he wouldn't be suspended but instead fined $1,000 for his shoulder check to Briere's back, which sent the smallish Sabre hurtling headfirst into the sideboards. Ovechkin was assessed a five-minute penalty for boarding, a game misconduct and automatic fine of $100.

"We talk about it," Ovechkin said after practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. "He tell me we understand you don't try to give some dirty hit. I tell him same. . . . I just want to hit him, but [Briere was] turning and I don't have time to do something."

"I'm happy it's done," he added. "I hope Briere is okay."

Capitals Coach Glen Hanlon said he was relieved but not surprised by the league's decision not to suspend his leading scorer.

"The league looked at Ovie's record," Hanlon said. "He's not a dirty player. He's not somebody who is a repeat offender. We obviously look at it differently than Buffalo does, because it was their player that could have been injured. [Buffalo Coach Lindy Ruff] was right. If it was Ovechkin who was hurt, we'd be up in arms ourselves."

Heward Has Surgery

Defenseman Jamie Heward has encountered a setback in his recovery from the frightening injury suffered last Thursday when Dallas's Mike Modano's skate blade cut his face.

Saturday's planned 45-minute surgery turned into a nearly five-hour procedure after Heward's surgeon, Jules Feledy, discovered more damage than anticipated.

Heward's nose cartilage had also been severed, as had a superficial nerve and artery. Following the surgery, the 35-year-old was unexpectedly held overnight at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Heward was not wearing a visor when the injury occurred, but said he plans to wear one -- at least for a while -- when he returns. He also acknowledged that a visor might have prevented the gruesome cut, which required about 100 stitches to sew up.

Heward had hoped to practice yesterday, but now he won't get on the ice until tomorrow at the earliest. Head athletic trainer Greg Smith said he doesn't expect Heward to be game-ready for at least a week, probably longer.

"I went in for an extreme makeover," said Heward, who has managed to keep his sense of humor, despite the pain, swelling and bandages.

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