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A Better Look at Ovechkin's Hit

Thanks to a reader for passing this along. I've been traveling back from Richmond, where I covered Sunday's NASCAR race and, as a result, have been away from my PC.

Okay. So now I've seen the hit about a dozen times and from multiple angles. And I still don't think the hit warranted a suspension. Perhaps a penalty for roughing.

This latest incident, of course, marks the second time Ovechkin has been disciplined for a controversial hit (he was also fined $1,100 for checking Buffalo's Daniel Briere from behind early last season). I just hope it doesn't affect the way he plays the game. Because Ovechkin is at his best when he's throwing his massive frame around and forcing his opponents to skate in fear.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  May 7, 2007; 1:52 PM ET
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Why aren't you covering the worlds?

Posted by: Washington | May 7, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I would love to be there. Unfortunately, my editors don't feel there is enough interest in the tournament in the US to justify the hugee expense. I guess a lot of sports editors/producers feel that way. I have yet to see a Moscow dateline in a US paper or magazine, or live TV shot from over there.

Posted by: Tarik | May 7, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

This angle makes me even question if it should be a penalty. I would say not in the NHL, but if the IIHF has a hit the head rule that doesn't take intent into account, then I guess he's guilty in black and white.

What strikes me is how ovechkin never really sets up for a big shot. He appears to leap from the box and seems to just attempt to make contact in a way that seems like maybe he didn't expect the player to just keep going at him.

Posted by: false_cause | May 7, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse


I know you may have some constraint in your response (because everyone likes a paycheck), but what do you think of the Cap's coverage of the Worlds? I mean, Ted has apparently given up on the mainstream, local media to generate interest in this team! I keep hearing how newspapers are cutting back, but isn't that the "spiral of death" for any business?

Sorry if this is close to home, but I wanted your take.


Posted by: Mark Tucker | May 7, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

the rules are different for International Games

IIHF Rules:

540 - Checking to the Head and Neck Area.
a) A player who directs a check or blow, with any part of his body, to the head and neck area of an opposing player or "drives" or "forces" the head of an opposing player into the protective glass on boards, shall be assessed at the discretion of the Referee a:
- Minor penalty + Automatic Misconduct penalty (2'+10')
- Major penalty + Automatic Game Misconduct penalty (5'+GM)
- Match Penalty (MP)

b) A player who injures an opponent as result of checking to the Head and Neck Area
shall be assessed, a
- Match Penalty (MP)

Posted by: Cush | May 7, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Mark Tucker -- It's true newspapers are cutting back. Circulation and ad revenue are declining. But they are not dead. It's still a very profitable business and plays a vital role in society. If these world championships were involving baseball, football or basketball players from Washington, we'd likley be there. Let's not kid ourselves about the profile of hockey in the US. You and I clearly love the game. But it doesn't register with the mainstream fan. Period. Doesn't matter if we cover hockey worlds or not. The overwhelming majority of folks aren't interested. Sad, but true. Sorry to beat a dead horse, but have you seen the TV ratings for the Stanley Cup playoffs? Did you see Vs.'s numbers for the regular season?

As for what Ted is doing, it's great. I've been following the coverage. But I'm fairly sure the servers are not in jeopardy of being overloaded by the deluge of fans seeking WC coverage.

Posted by: Tarik | May 7, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

OK, so what was Ovechkin supposed to do, let him skate unmolested into the zone because he didn't see him? That's stupid.

Ovy didn't even seem to make a check as much as just get in the guys way. Is there a "being in the way while the other guy drives his face into your shoulder" penalty in International rules?

Posted by: Sapper | May 7, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I love OV's enthusiasm. It's too bad that it has resulted in two different controversial incidents. But there is no doubt in my mine, that neither incidents involved an intent to injure. Hockey needs more players like OV. It's too bad that the only news I have heard thus far about the Worlds was regarding this unfortunate incident. It'd be nice if there was more coverage on this the event as a whole.

Posted by: cbstoner | May 7, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Forget about the worlds--will you be covering the Stanley Cup semifinals and finals this year, Tarik? Sure, TV ratings are pretty bad for hockey, but the TV ratings for the NBA playoffs--while better--aren't exactly lighting it up either and the Post last year had two columnists and a couple writers at the NBA finals. It seems the least they could do is send you to some hockey games.

Posted by: Eric | May 7, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse


I brought you a souvenir from the Worlds.

Posted by: SovSport | May 7, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I've seen some cheapies in my time, and I hate to say one first class cheapie involving Dale Hunter, but Ovie's hit wasn't one.
And rest assured, if it had been a Red Wing or Ranger or another large market player doint the hitting, I'm sure the NHL would have stepped in and said "no suspension". They always protect those ratings.

Posted by: Cletes | May 7, 2007 8:28 PM | Report abuse

wow, tough call. ovie definitely intended to hit the guy cause you can see him tuck his elbow. dont think he was intending to hit him in the head at all. however, the various leagues really need to take a tougher stance on head shots, intentional or not. the guys are too big and fast to allow for shots like that. again, this was not an intentional shot to the head, in my opinion. too bad, cause if ovie was a half step slower he could have legally blasted that guy into next week.

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | May 7, 2007 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Wow. That's definitely the refs taking the strength of the respective players into account there. There's no way Ovechkin could've avoiding hurting that guy, simply because of the way he was skating: not looking ahead, and his neck was stretched way out ahead of his chest. Hell, if Ovie had hit him square, he could've died simply due to stress to the neck combined with power of impact. It was almost, almost, unavoidable. And yeah, what's he supposed to do? leave him alone? whatever.

Penalty, sure, but definitely not worthy of a suspension.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | May 7, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

That love tap merits a suspension? It was hardly a penalty. I just hope a bad rep doesn't start sticking to OV like a cheap suit.

Posted by: tokyo fan | May 7, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Totally that guys fault.

Rule # 1


Posted by: Comebackkono3 | May 8, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse

i didn't even see something that warranted a penalty. OV hopped off the bench was in the guys way and the guy was skating with his head down. No way that deserved a suspension

Posted by: what a joke | May 8, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

there may have been a flick of the elbow there. it could have been worse if Ovechkin hit him clean

Posted by: Anonymous | May 8, 2007 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Hi, my name is Eric and I skate with my head down, constantly. Scott Stevens has tried his best to get me to stop, but I just don't listen. I love hearing all of my fans say that Scott is a good though even though I skated with my head down in open ice. I just hope you don't turn against Ovechkin the way a lot of fans turned on Scott. The first thing they team before we even touch a puck is to skate with our heads up, but I didn't listen.

Posted by: Eric Lindros | May 9, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I think they must have suspended Ovy for "ambushing" the guy from the penalty box.. because the hit itself is not even a hit, its Ovy basically just standing his ground, impossible to detect any sort of elbow motion.

Of course, what was he supposed to do when the door opened - politely wait for the guy to skate by?

Anyway, water under the bridge..

Posted by: Vlad | May 9, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

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