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Hitchcock: Blue Jackets targeted Ovechkin

Yesterday, Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau said he thought the Columbus Blue Jackets were targeting Alex Ovechkin in Sunday night's game, ultimately leading to the star winger suffering an upper-body strain.

"I think the game plan was, every time Alex touches the puck, that somebody run or hit him," Boudreau said. "That's what it looked like to me."

Courtesy of the Columbus Dispatch's Tom Reed, here's Jackets Coach Ken Hitchcock's rather candid response:

"That would be correct," Hitchcock said. "That's the name of the game. Why, is that against the rules now?"
Hitchcock made it clear he thought it "unfortunate" that Ovechkin suffered an upper-body injury in the second period of the Jackets' 5-4 overtime win. The league's two-time MVP is "week-to-week" according to the Capitals with what's believed to be a shoulder injury.
It remains unclear when Ovechkin suffered the injury. Boudreau believes it was in a scrum near the Jackets bench involving Jason Chimera and Jared Boll. Chimera shoved Ovechkin in response to a thundering first-period hit.
Boll grabbed Ovechkin after No. 8 threw a punch at Chimera. Boll said he was assessed a 10-minute misconduct for not letting go Ovechkin in a timely manner.
The Jackets' game plan, Boudreau told the Washington Post, was to "run or hit" Ovechkin every time he touched the puck. A reporter mentioned to Hitchcock that there's distinction between "run" and "hit." Hitchcock did not see it that way.
"Run, chase, hunt down, hit, whatever word you want to use that would be correct," Hitchcock said.

Click here to read the rest.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  November 3, 2009; 2:11 PM ET
 
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Comments

what a fat bleep.

Posted by: jamebow | November 3, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Although I don't like the fact the Ovi is out, it was just part of a hockey game. It wasn't a dirty play. Maybe there were a few more jackets on the ice than there should have been when the "fracas" started, but there wasn't a blatant intent to injure in my view. Let's face it, people take runs at our star players every week, it is a contact sport. This is a perfect opportunity for our two boys (Backstrom and Semin) to prove their worth to the team. Ovi has been able to win with them out of the line-up, it is time for them to prove they can too. I believe they can. We are a good team, playoff capable team, with the players available tomorrow. We are a great team,Stanley Cup contender when you add Ovechkin.

Posted by: fanohock1 | November 3, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

That would be correct," Hitchcock said. "That's the name of the game. Why, is that against the rules now?""

"Run, chase, hunt down, hit, whatever word you want to use that would be correct," Hitchcock said.

---------------------------------------

thats exactly what I said yesterday. Nothing wrong with targeting another team's best players. I would like to see US do that as well when we play the Penguins etc. It would be foolish NOT to try and get a star player off his game. The Caps never went after Rick Nash once. Never went after Kris Russell once. So Boudreau instead of complaining about it (if thats what he was doing) needs to learn how to coach his team to respond in a similar manner. Because I guarantee you, other teams will take notice that it did in fact work as a strategy and do it even more. Hitchcock can now validate to his own players that this approach works. He came in here and took a win against a much better team.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 3, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Chimera is full of it. He says the reason he didn't fight Shaone Mo. is that the game was going into OT. Fine, then why did he not accept Matt Bradley's fight in the 2nd?? He better watch out Apr. 3rd.

Posted by: asdfasdfasdf123 | November 3, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

agreed, but what is the significance of kris russell?

Posted by: _stevo | November 3, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

@jamebow-
You caught me off guard with that one, I literally laughed out loud. Bleeping hilarious!

Posted by: Chad8 | November 3, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I guess the true extent of the injury is yet to be seen, and while it's all "part of the game", I doubt the league will be pleased with that rather direct statement from Hitchcock.

Posted by: LouLewis | November 3, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Not saying I like that he did it, but you have to admire Hitchcock's cander in this matter.

Posted by: superpaqman | November 3, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

maybe you do need an enforcer? Hard to target a star when you know you are going to pay for it. Can't blame Hitchcock...if there are no repurcussions- that's a pretty good game plan.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 3, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Go after Ovie clean and you lose that battle...the only time he got hurt was when it was after the whistle B.S.

Posted by: SA-Town | November 3, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Saturday April 3rd- mark it down - revenge will be sweet.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 3, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

i have no problem with what hitchcock said (in fact, his honesty is refreshing) and no problem with the strategy. the part i dont like is that the only way they could get to him was after the whistle, with 7 guys and one guy apparantly tugging on his arm. i dont recall any man up hits on ovie during play like his hit on chimera. ovie knows you have to expect to get some if you give some.

on top of that, his guy wouldnt dance when asked. by april 3 in columbus, we should be in pretty good shape playoff wise...so i would expect a lineup that may include mcneill and ogie oglethorp.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | November 3, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's time to stop worrying about penalties and start sending messages! At first, I just thought this team was soft but now I'm wondering if they're just worried about the fallout from taking a penalty? I mean, asking a guy to fight after he's taken out your star player? And what good does it do to "burn them with our power play" if all the top PP guys are out with injuries?

Posted by: ablake70 | November 3, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Come April 3rd........Mr. Cherima..meet Mr. Finley....

Posted by: RichC3 | November 3, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

If I was coaching against the Caps, I would say to hit Ovechkin at every opportunity. Just like those of us who have been Caps fans for decades used to implore our guys to hit Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman, etc.

Part of playing hockey is getting hit when you have the puck, and Ovi has the puck alot. It's part of the game.

Posted by: MikeL-Caps911 | November 3, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

As others have said, payback shouldn't have to wait until the next matchup. When Chimera didn't want to fight, the 3rd and 4th liners on the Caps should have started taking runs at Nash. Columbus would think twice about using this strategy if it meant risking their superstar.

Posted by: cainoo7x | November 3, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

LOL yeah the difference is if you went after Gretzky, you would get your bell rung by Semenko and McSorley.

Posted by: joek443 | November 3, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I was at that game, and I have no problem with other teams going after ovie...mostly b/c he responds well when angry, but they were head hunting him in that game and I mentioned it before the fight even took place...The team was overly agressive from the time the puck dropped.

Posted by: capscoach | November 3, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

it doesnt matter if they wanted to drop their gloves and fight... Dale Hunter would have taken a run at Nash, what's Clark good for?

is the C just a decoration on his jersey??

Posted by: joek443 | November 3, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

correction - doesn't matter if they didn't want to drop their gloves and fight

Posted by: joek443 | November 3, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Nylander? Acoin? Perrault? Scratch all of them! it's time for Sugden to make an appearance and take care of business the ole fashioned way! This team minus Ovie and Bradley (a human punching bag) has no heart! This is why this team needs an ENFORCER, A POLICEMAN, A GOON! Call it what you want...this is hockey, not checkers, it's a man's game! Those of you who have played and I'm not talking about High School or mens league BS! Know exactly what the Squig's is talking about! Case Closed, Dale Hunter has left the building!

I agree with this guy who calls himself Squigs and speaks in third person. Come on GMGM bring in Sugden or better yet let GMGM put the sweater on and show the boys how it's done!

Posted by: ReedRothchild | November 3, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

This headline is a bit misleading. The CBJ team played hard but clean. "Nothing to see here, folks."
The injury just brings into focus a problem with the Caps personnel. Some are gritty but none are mean and menacing in close quarters. Even an enforcer like Brash failed to intimidate, except in deliberate, choreographed fights.
GMGM needs to sign a junkyard dog like Tie Domi or Dale Hunter.

Posted by: beeman | November 3, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

That is fine Mr. Hitchcock. Just be prepared for Rick Nash to be targeted in the future.

Posted by: rockinthered1 | November 3, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Sugden, take a note. Your services will be requested in the future. Keep your head up Mr. Nash.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | November 3, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The Caps really need to put on the foil.

Posted by: VeloStrummer | November 3, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

@ beeman

please don't ever put Domi and Captain Dale together in the same sentence, that's an insult... LOL

Rick Tocchet, Dale Hunter... guys who were good for 60 - 70 points/year plus 200 penalty minutes... you can't put Domi with those guys in the same group

Posted by: joek443 | November 3, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin is a cavewoman with a beard.
#8 is so wonderful when he 'runs' players and has his leg sticking out.
#8 is his own worst enemy...now the caps whiny fans realize the physical play is a two way street. Exactly why Lindros never lasted and Forsberg couldnt hold up. #8 wont be far behind so enjoy him while you can.

Yeah..go get revenge on Nash! That will learn those Blue Jackets. Know what the Pens revenge was for # 8's attempt on Gonchar's knee? Game 7. There is a difference between tough and stupid and Caps fans still dont get it. As usual.

Posted by: laker1323 | November 3, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

There is a difference Laker1323 between hitting a guy every time he has the puck or making runs at a specific player. Hitchcock is playing it off like there isn't a difference. There most certainly is, and there is a difference between an entire team taking runs at a guy and Ovetchkin taking runs at the puck carrier.

Ovi hasn't been the best of friends with Malkin and in previous games you can tell he was taking runs specifically at him, that's what Boudreau is saying the Blue Jackets as a team were doing.

Posted by: breaklance | November 3, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I missed something here....but what the hell is an "upper body injury"..never heard that one before...

Why not just come out and say where the injury is...shoulder, neck, chest...where???? Childish writing if you ask me....

Posted by: pentagon40 | November 3, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

lets not complain i dont wanna sound like a pens fan

Posted by: gocaps01 | November 3, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

laker1323 - you pussy, when was the last time you laced up your figure skates? Get a life - stop dropping the soap so much when you shower at the gym, hoping for a hook-up.

Posted by: gamiller1 | November 3, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Laker1323,

Let me guess your a Lakers fan too, and you used to be a Patriots fan but now your a Steelers fan, used to be a Phillies fan but soon to be Yankees fan. Get out of here you loser!

Posted by: ksaul79 | November 3, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

We do the same thing to Malkin. Can't do it to Crosby however because of the Bettman protection squad carrying whistles. What's nice about Ovechkin is he doesn't need a goon for protection. Typically he seeks his own retribution in the course of the game. This is just an unfortunate incident not something overtly dirty.

Posted by: ouvan59 | November 3, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Now it is out in the open. Hitchcock said they were out to get Ovechkin. And the Caps had no one to fight back. No one. They were pushed around, intimidated and they lost both their superstar and the game. McPhee should have been fired on the spot for not having an enforcer. His "we're too skilled to need an enforcer" nonsense is a recipe for disaster.

Posted by: dcsportsdude | November 3, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Laker1323: No true caps fan cares when other teams make clean hits on ovie...he thrives when provoked!! Last season when someone cut his leg, he came back with a hat trick and four points...are guy is tough and does not need to be babied like other super stars...u also sound retarded when u call him dirty player. He hits hard...but its fair...the slew foot was an accident. The only time Ovie head hunted was one game against Malkin...Just because the man's gifted doesn't mean he plays dirty!

Posted by: capscoach | November 3, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Payback means Rick Nash better keep his head up in the second game between the teams in the spring.

It's always when playing a crappy little team that star players get injured.

Posted by: leopard09 | November 3, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

i remember a few months ago ago this blog when everybody was against tough guys and all for Detroit-style team. there were a few here that suggested toughness (i.e., a decent brawler) is still a desirable quality. how the times have changed.

Posted by: doughless | November 3, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Detroit plays much better defense and is a much tougher team than the Caps...

toughness doesn't mean fighting but you can bet that if anyone took a run at Lidstrom, their guys would be willing to go after the perp.

Posted by: joek443 | November 3, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

i agree that it's part of the game.

but that's why we need to have an enforcer.

Posted by: j762 | November 3, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

if you read the Columbus Dispatch article, almost every Columbus fan that commented wrote that they thought Chimera was a punk for hitting Ovechkin between plays and then not dropping the gloves when it came time to answer for his actions. Chimera said he didn't want to put his team on the pk for overtime, but if they fought, it would have been matching penalties thus no pp.

Posted by: fatdime | November 3, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I want to apologize for the filth that procreated laker1323. Too much in-breeding and drugs did that to him. Rest assured he's been fired from his job at the drive-thru and will no longer be allowed to wear his swap meet Laker's jersey that he wore after the last fiasco that was the Laker's championship. He's a moron.

Bring ON Sugden!!!!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | November 3, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

lakeass123456789 - did exactly what columpuss did - hit & run.

As for what doughless said - too true - why are all the figure skaters hollering for revenge - sucks not having Brash huh.

Posted by: Rocc00 | November 3, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Good points. GMGM's plan of making teams pay on the scoreboard when they get rough did not work. We lost the game and more importantly #8! ShaMo is fine but I don't think he's the guy to avenge Ovechkin. Hopefully Erskine is back soon, he's the closest thing we've got to a real tough guy. The other flaw in GMGM's theory is that hypothetically let's say the Caps were scoring at will on power plays. Once another team is embarassed by being down 5 to 1 or 6 to 2, then they still may take runs at your best players. Therefore you still need an enforcer.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | November 3, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

GMGM's comments about the success of Detroit winning recently without an enforcer went out the window when,after they were pushed around by the Blues in those back-to-back games in Sweden,signed tough-guy Brad May before their next game! Wake up GMGM...go get Chris Neil,he's available after an in-house fight with Speeza.BTW,I've watched the replay on the scrum.and it looked to me that someone on the bench butt-ended OV in the shoulder under the pad,causing the problem. If so,the league needs to investigate...

Posted by: roccky | November 3, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

GMGM's comments about the success of Detroit winning recently without an enforcer went out the window when,after they were pushed around by the Blues in those back-to-back games in Sweden,signed tough-guy Brad May before their next game! Wake up GMGM...go get Chris Neil,he's available after an in-house fight with Speeza.BTW,I've watched the replay on the scrum.and it looked to me that someone on the bench butt-ended OV in the shoulder under the pad,causing the problem. If so,the league needs to investigate...

Posted by: roccky | November 3, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

@roccky - Re: I've watched the replay on the scrum, and it looked to me that someone on the bench butt-ended Ovi in the shoulder under the pad, causing the problem. If so, the league needs to investigate...

Damn skippy they do, and a suspension needs to be handed out, too!

Posted by: irockthered | November 4, 2009 1:08 AM | Report abuse

It's well and good to talk about a "real" enforcer and suggest Clark, Morrisonn or someone should have just gone after Chimera, but to do that draws an instigator game misconduct and then the Caps are down 2 guys. Not the best way to get pay back.

Posted by: ds_kelly | November 4, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Ha, ha... Hitchcock matter of factly slams the door on Boudreau's sobbing like a girl face. It really seems like almost every day I read a Tarik blog about Boudreau whining about something, whether it's another team running at his goon-star or the ice conditions at an oponent's arena. Ovechkin, Boudreau and Leonsis are the unholy trinity of the NHL's laughingstock franchise.

Posted by: Jumpy66 | November 4, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

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