Monday, May 07, 2007

Setting The Record Straight

The Vancouver Province decried "Ovechkin Suspended for Headhunting." The Winnipeg Sun header was "Ovechkin Gets One Game For High Hit." The Barrie Examiner's title read "Ovechkin Gets 1-Game Suspension."

Not only were the three headlines discussing the same incident, they were all titling the same exact AP article. Interesting how in an NHL city, AO's labelled a headhunter, while in a small town, he's just a guy who got a one-game suspension.

As for the hit that led to the suspension, here it is:

Now, I've been accused of being an Ovechkin apologist before, but this hit certainly didn't look dirty to me. The Swiss Miss had the puck, had his head down, and AO, standing flat-footed caught him with his shoulder, not an elbow. Two minutes for roughing? Perhaps. Two and ten? It is international hockey, so if those are the rules, those are the rules. But a suspension? Get real - last I checked, hockey was a contact sport.

Regardless, Ovechkin is starting to gain a reputation as a questionable hitter, and undeservedly so. In two NHL seasons, Ovechkin has been credited with 356 hits and exactly one major penalty for a bad hit. I haven't done the research, but I'm willing to wager there aren't too many other forwards with that many hits and that good a "clean hit" ratio.

But when newspaper editors (who no doubt never even saw the hit) in NHL cities are calling him a headhunter, it's certainly not a good thing, and, unfortunately, it's something with which he's going to have to deal going forward.


Joe said...

That swiss dude needs to keep his head up. Can you imagine if AO had meant to hit him? How do you say Eric Lindros in Swiss?

tapeleg said...

If all three headlines had come from the same size of city, which one would sell more papers? I am never surprised at the lengths a MSM publication will go to sell more papers.

Tyler said...

That's not a penalty. That's not roughing, let alone 2+10. Heck, it's kind of a mid-level hit even. The call, the suspension are a f'in joke.

JP said...

My understanding is that in int'l hockey, any hit to the head is a penalty, so there might not be any discretion there (maybe someone can clear that up for me).

Without question it's a clean hit by NHL standards.

Anonymous said...

i guess the answer is to stop playing in international tournaments

Focality said...

AO a headhunter? That's laughable. So the guy's helmet got knocked off and he fell to the ice. But he got back up, too.

I'd like to see what happens if a Bertuzzi, Kasparitis, Avery, or Domi hit the guy. You know, 9 times out of 10, it'd be illegal by any league's standard.

And let's not forget those punishing hits dished out by Scott Stevens or Chris Pronger back in the day.

Vancouver's just upset they got knocked out of the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

The hit looked clean to me.


C. Armstrong

chanuck said...

I read about the hit before I saw it,and it sounded brutal. Now seeing the video, I have to scratch my head. What the hell was that? Ovie just gets out of the box he is standing straight up and the guy hits him. How is that a suspension? Guess the officials are from Fittsburgh or Buffalo.

TG said...

Wow. All he did was not get out of the way! I can understand the ejection because it looked bad in real-time and you don't know the angle the referee had. But a suspension after viewing the replay? Bad bad bad call. If Ovechkin got a one game suspension for that, Stevens would have gotten suspended for a year for his hits on Lindros or Kariya!