Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Ovechkin Is Not A Dirty Player

There is a distinct difference between playing all out and playing dirty. To suggest that Alex Ovechkin's knee on knee hit with Tim Gleason was in any way dirty is absurd to say the least.

Was it a penalty? Yes. Was it worth a two game suspension? Not necessarily.

If anyone who has watched Ovechkin play, you know he doesn't cut corners nor does he let up whether it is game seven in the playoffs or just a divisional game between two teams separated by 21 (now 23) points in the standings. This is just an unfortunate incident that Ovechkin reacted late to a Gleason deke. If Gleason doesn't deke, he probably would have been buried by a crushing check. Ovi committed himself to the hit and as a last second adjustment stuck his leg out to catch the 'Cane defender.

I can see a game suspension and time served as Ovechkin was ejected from the game. But two games? Two game suspensions are handed out to players who have the reputation already as dirty players and those who go into situations with intent to harm (like let's say Matt Cooke's latest handy work against the Rangers). I can understand if the league wants to make knee on knee hits a thing of the past, but this was not an intentional event and Gleason finished the game (he didn't even miss a shift).

Coach Bruce Boudreau called the hit reckless, but would he be less apt to criticize if Ovechkin didn't engage in the play at all? I didn't see reckless in the hit, I did see a player making a last second mistake.

When a player is committed to the hit that player has two choices when the other player makes a move to avoid the hit. He can bail on the hit and go right by, which I have seen Ovechkin do on countless occasions (i.e. the last Caps/Flyers game where Ovi lined up Mike Richards and Richards made the move to avoid the hit. Ovi skated right past him). The other is to stick your leg out and slow them up (which is a penalty). At the speed of this game I am not surprised it happens more often.

Caps Notes:
  • The injury list is making the trip from Hershey to Washington a regular route for some players. Boyd Gordon, Alex Semin, Shaone Morrisonn, Tom Poti, Mike Knuble and Quintin Laing's injuries have made it tough for GM George McPhee and Boudreau to build any kind of chemistry through the lines. Hence, a slew of one goal games. Of the many that have traveled the road between farm club and Verizon Center have been Mathieu Perreault is making the most of his time as a Capital. Though small, Perreault has been a bright spot amongst the injury gloom and doom. He has scored 2 goals and has 4 assists. But the biggest stat of all would be his +6 rating. In fact, Perreault has yet to recieve a minus rating in any of the 13 games he has played.
  • Ovechkin is calling his injury just a bruise while his mother came out in defense of her son's suspension. Nice to see the mom standing up for her little boy.
  • Last but not least, Jose Theodore played one of the best games I have seen him play as a Capital against Carolina. True that the effort came against a struggling offense, but he flat out robbed Eric Staal of a goal on a what looked to be a tap in tally. Let's hope this is a more consistent trend.

On a personal note, my time is still torn between a new home (I put in dimmer switches in my new house and my wife thinks I am a genius, nice) and my job which has been pulling a good chunk of my free time from me. I am trying to even everything out, and hopefully things will clear up after the holidays. I will try to update as much as I can but I am watching the games and I appreciate all the friendly emails and the encouragement to keep P.H.T. going.

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