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No Suspension for Ovechkin

A.O. won't be suspended for his controversial hit on Buffalo Sabres captain Daniel Briere, Capitals General Manager George McPhee told me today. We kind of suspected that last night, but you can never be 100-percent sure until the following afternoon, which is when the NHL sends out press releases on disciplinary action.

Just in case you missed it, Ovechkin checked Briere from behind as Briere headed to the bench for a line change in the second period of Saturday's 7-4 victory at Verizon Center. Ovechkin, a physical player with no reputation for dirty play, was assessed a five-minute boarding major for the hit as well as a game misconduct, ejecting him from the contest.

Afterward, Sabres Coach Lindy Ruff called for Ovechkin to receive additional punishment from the NHL, saying: "We don't want those hits in the game. If [the Capitals] looked at it through their eyes, they wouldn't want to see Ovechkin run from behind after a couple of seconds. ...There should be some type of disciplinary action for that."

In Sunday's Buffalo News, Briere called the hit "gutless" while his teammate, Paul Gaustad, described it as a "dirty hit."

Ovechkin said it was anything but: "I don't want to give him some injury. It was accident. I don't try to hurt him."

At first I was stunned. It looked dirty. Briere looked hurt. Then I watched the replay about 50 times. Yes, Ovechkin definitely arrived a split second late. No, I don't think he wanted to hurt Briere, who, I must add, didn't miss a shift.

I also believe the size of the players involved made a huge difference. Ovechkin is 6-2, 220; Briere is 5-10, 178.

What's your opinion?

On an unrelated subject, where did all of those Buffalo fans come from? I thought I was at HSBC Arena during warmups when they began chanting, "Let's Go Buff-a-lo!". One of the signs along the glass cracked me up. It read: "Gas to Washington: $100, Tickets: $22, Beer: $387, Seeing the Sabres on the road: Priceless."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 3, 2006; 3:50 PM ET
 
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