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Chicago owner says Ovechkin should have season-long suspension

Mar 23, 2010, 12:45 PM EDT

Just when you thought we had all moved on from the last illegal hit a
player was suspended for, someone weighs in a brings it all right back
out in the open again.

Rocky Wirtz, Chicago Blackhawks owner, feels that Ovechkin should
have been suspended for the remainder of the season. Via
Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business
:

“Thank God it’s only the end of the season for Brian
Campbell, not the end of his career. These head hits are cumulative.
When you get a concussion like that, and get them over a period of time,
it could end your career. That’s not what you want to see. You want to
see these players on the ice. You don’t want to see them in the press
box.”

“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.”

I can understand Wirtz’ sentiment and it’s one that many people
share: make the offending player miss the same amount of time as the
player he injured, and you’d see the dirty hits disappear. I just can’t
agree with it.

All hits should be punished the same, regardless of
injury. That’s not the way it works, however; Ovechkin would never have
been suspended if Campbell had not been injured. But if the exact same
hit resulted in just a bruised shoulder for Campbell, would it make the
hit any less dangerous or illegal?

One other thing: Wirtz is using
the Ovechkin hit to get in on the discussion of head shots and knee on
knee hits, and that is completely unfair to Ovechkin and this particular
incident. I thought he ‘push’ of Campbell was reckless, but far from
malicious and far from being on the same level as a blind-sided shot to
the head.

You can’t just lump them all together. Ovechkin’s hit
was worthy of a two-game suspension. Matt Cooke’s was worthy of a
20-game suspension. The fact that they weren’t punished at those levels
is the NHL’s problem, and just now they decide to do something about it.

But
making every suspension the same length as the injury? Not needed, not
going to happen.

  1. wmw - Mar 23, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    When you use a shoulder or elbow to intentionally go at the head of another player you are intending to injure. Maybe not with the intent to put the player in the hospital but to get him off of the ice for this game at least. This much is not conjecture but fact.
    So if the intent was to injure what should the penalty be and how important is it to stop intent to injure???

  2. ThisIsHockey? - Mar 23, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    How can any owner expect his argument to be validated and respected when he cites a very poor reference — notwithstanding the fact that he’s using a current player as a human shield — for the benefit of pushing his own agenda.
    This attitude is indicative of an owner who doesn’t give a damn about hockey, its players, or humanity in general. All he cares about is that one of his toys came home dinged up, and he wants to kill all the other kids that were were playing with it; circumstances be damned.
    I suppose this attitude is to be expected though, as this is the flimsy judicial flotsam that forms the bedrock of the NHL’s punitive system.

  3. adam - Mar 23, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    isn’t the act of fighting the “intent to injure”… yet that’s only 5 minutes!

  4. Jennifer - Mar 23, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    Although I agree with the sentiment (having a player sit for the same amount of time the injured player sits).. it just will not happen. Never. Wurtz put this the wrong way and he is making it seem more like he is seeking revenge instead of trying to make things right for a sport.
    There is no way that a board – or even players – can prove something to be truly intentional. Will a elbow to the head hurt someone? Um.. yeah. Can you honestly say that the person hitting the head really WANTS to hurt them bad enough to be out the rest of the year or even a game? Or just teach them to back off their players? You can’t. Momentum and carelessness are at fault.
    In the Campbell case.. do I think Ovi meant the hit? Yeah. He ran him harder – you can clearly see it. Do I think that Ovi wanted him out for the season? No, I dont see that at all. I think he meant to shake him up on the play.. like normal hockey players would do.. he went a little overboard.. but not to take him down all season. Although, regardless of what I think or how I see things.. the one thing I did not like.. was Ovi’s comments about it after. He really should have had a little more class about it and made it seem like he didn’t mean the season ending hit. But, that is just me… and only my opinion. I could be right or wrong :)

  5. Steve - Mar 24, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    The idea is not to question weather a hit is intentional or not. What should be looked at is the end result-did an illegal hit result in an injury-intentional or not-to another player? If yes-the player responsible should be out for as long as the player that is injured. There would then be consistancy and it would be up to the league to determine if the hit was illegal.
    A good clean hit in hockey is awesome-if it results in injury so be it-thats the price you pay to play.
    IT IS THE CHEAP SHOTS THAT NEED TO END-AND I MEAN RIGHT NOW.

  6. Zach - Mar 26, 2010 at 12:57 AM

    First off, Adam, w/o fighting there would be far more injuries and cheapshots in hockey then there are now. I’m assuming you were being a little cynical but if not, there you go.
    Second, Ovi’s hit (and his play for that matter) is what hockey should be about. Its the toughest sport with the toughest players…moreover, if you watch ANY hockey game, you’ll see similar pushes into the boards at least 20 time a game. What no one is mentioning is the guys skate toe got stuck in the ice causing the angle of the fall…w/o the toe pick, he stays up OR hits the boards far less violently.
    Most importantly, if you end that kind of play, you kill the essence of hockey. He got hurt. That sucks, but that’s hockey.

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