Marcus Kink of Germany took out Alex Ovechkin at the IIHF world championship in Minsk with an open-ice hip check that sent the Washington Capitals captain flying through the air, crashing to the ice and then limping to the back with a knee injury.
Luckily for Ovechkin, the Capitals and the NHL, the Russian captain’s MRI showed no torn ligaments in his right knee. He’s got pain, but is expected to return to the tournament after missing Russia’s next game against Belarus.
Unluckily for Kink, he’s been suspended a game by the IIHF for … well, for injuring Alex Ovechkin, we guess:
It was a brilliant hip check that Ovechkin attempted to avoid. The severity of the contact was on the skater rather than the hitter. There was no penalty on the play, nor should there have been one.
And yet, here’s the IIHF, ensuring that star players continue to appear in their little annual tournament by suspending a nobody with the nerve to hit one of them:
The incident occurred in the third period of the game between Russia and Germany. The play began in the Russian zone with Ovechkin advancing the puck towards the blue line. At the same time Kink moved in to check Ovechkin near the top of the blue line. Ovechkin slid the puck to his right avoiding a poke check by Kink, and then cut to his left to avoid the check by the German forward. At that moment the Russian forward’s right leg was hit by Kinks hip, causing Ovechkin to become airborne and then fall to the ice. He required assistance from team medical staff off the ice and did not return to play.
Upon careful review of the hit, the Disciplinary Panel observed that in delivering the hit, Kink has lowered his own body position to a level so as to cause contact with the right knee of Ovechkin. The Russian forward’s efforts to avoid the hit are simultaneous with the hip-to-knee contact by Kink. The missed poke check attempted by Kink caused him to lean forward where the player remained when the two players made contact.
The Disciplinary Panel determined that Kink was in violation of rule 524 b) Clipping. Although Kink did not intentionally target the knee of Ovechkin, the lowering of his body position as the two players collided caused the hip-to-knee contact which is classified as clipping.
THE DREADED HIP-ON-KNEE HIT, HUMBLER OF MEN!
Seriously… what? “Kink has lowered his own body position to a level so as to cause contact with the right knee of Ovechkin.” That reads like the IIHF believes the crouching Kraut was doing so in an attempt to take out Ovechkin’s knee, which was only vulnerable because Ovechkin attempted to avoid the hit, which the IIHF cited in its ruling.
As for the “clipping,” ruling, the IIHF rules are:
“A player who delivers a check in a clipping manner or lowers his own body position to deliver a check on or below an opponents knees, shall be assessed at the discretion of the Referee. … A player who injures his opponent by a clipping action, shall be assessed, at the discretion of the Referee.”
Here is Kink’s body position on the hit:
My gawd, look at that crouch, with his leg nearly straight! Is that Marcus Kink or Jorge Posada?!
This suspension is about as transparent as star [expletive] gets: The biggest name in the tournament is hurt, and an inconsequential player (13:36 TOI, zero points) on an inconsequential team (1-4-1) gets a token suspension so everyone knows the N.I.T., er, the IIHF world championship, is still a safe haven for international-born players who want some hang time with their countrymen after being eliminated from the tournament that matters.