Alex Ovechkin suspended two games for hit on Brian Campbell

Alex Ovechkin declined comment on his suspension.
Alex Ovechkin declined comment on his suspension. (Nick Wass/associated Press)
  Enlarge Photo    
By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 16, 2010

CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. -- Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin was suspended by the NHL for two games, without pay, as punishment for his hit on Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell in the first period of Sunday's 4-3 overtime win.

The suspension is Ovechkin's second this season and brings renewed scrutiny to the league's two-time MVP and his on-the-edge playing style. Campbell, according to reports, could miss the remainder of the regular season with a broken collarbone, a fractured rib and a concussion.

"If you look at it, [Campbell's] skates were parallel to the [wall]," Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Once Campbell dishes [the puck] off, he knows Alex is there. Alex doesn't hit him, he pushes him. As he's going down, it looked to me like [Campbell's] left leg stumbled and he almost toe-picked the ice."

The NHL, though, disagreed. The league takes into consideration a number of factors when determining whether to levy supplementary discipline, including the offending player's history, intent and whether the opponent suffered an injury.

In Monday's press release announcing the ruling, NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell (no relation to Brian) called Ovechkin's hit "reckless."

The hit on Campbell is the fourth incident this season involving Ovechkin that has led to an investigation by the league. The others:

-- Oct. 22 -- Fined a collective bargaining agreement-maximum $2,500 for "slew-footing" Atlanta's Rich Peverley.

-- Nov. 25 -- Received a five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding Buffalo agitator Patrick Kaleta. No supplementary discipline was issued.

-- Nov. 30 -- Suspended for the first time in his career, for two games without pay, after being assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for kneeing Carolina defenseman Tim Gleason.

Sunday's hit occurred at 12:16 of the first period, a split second after Campbell reversed the puck as he went in the corner behind the Chicago net. Ovechkin shoved Campbell -- a player the Capital outweighs by 34 pounds -- sending the Blackhawks defenseman into the end boards.

Ovechkin was assessed a five-minute major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct, and the Capitals rallied from a three-goal deficit to win. But all of the talk since has revolved around Ovechkin's latest controversy, not the stirring comeback.

Because Ovechkin is now considered a repeat offender, the left wing's most recent transgression will cost him exponentially more. Sunday's incident will result in a $232,645.40 fine based on the campaign's 82 games, rather than the 193 days in the season. In all, Ovechkin has been fined nearly $335,000 in 2009-10.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company