March 14, 2010
Let's be clear off the top: We don't feel Alex Ovechkin(notes) should be suspended for his boarding penalty on Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell(notes) during Sunday's game in Chicago. He received a five-minute major, a game misconduct and that should be that.
Rule 23.5 of the NHL rulebook states: "Any player or goalkeeper who incurs a total of two (2) game misconduct penalties for stick-related infractions, Boarding - Rule 42, or Checking from Behind - Rule 44, shall be suspended automatically for the next league game of his team."
Ah, but what about the fine print? Puck Daddy's Sean Leahy points to this passage further down in the Rule 23.5 statute:
When a player or goalkeeper has played in 41 consecutive regular League games without being assessed a boarding and/or a checking from behind major and a game misconduct according to Rules 42 and 44, he will have the previous game misconduct penalties removed from his current record. They will remain part of his historical record.
Sunday's game against the Blackhawks for Ovechkin? Game No. 42 since the Kaleta hit. Who knew the NHL had time off for good behavior?
Timing is everything: No auto suspension as many (including ourselves) figured; and keep in mind the Tim Gleason(notes) knee-on-knee hit/game misconduct for Ovechkin isn't factored in here -- just the boarding ones. They're considered separate categories.
Meanwhile, that's a hell of a win by the Capitals without Ovechkin, 4-3 in overtime after rallying from a 3-0 hole. It's also the second straight blown third period lead for one of the best defensive teams in hockey.