Just when you thought we had all moved on from the last illegal hit a
player was suspended for, someone weighs in a brings it all right back
out in the open again.
Rocky Wirtz, Chicago Blackhawks owner, feels that Ovechkin should
have been suspended for the remainder of the season. Via
Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business:
“Thank God it’s only the end of the season for Brian
Campbell, not the end of his career. These head hits are cumulative.
When you get a concussion like that, and get them over a period of time,
it could end your career. That’s not what you want to see. You want to
see these players on the ice. You don’t want to see them in the press
“If you’re really going to hurt a player, knee to knee,
make a head hit, and you’re out for the season, then let them suspend
that player for the rest of the season. I’ll tell you, you wouldn’t see
those knee-to-knee and head hits anymore.”
I can understand Wirtz’ sentiment and it’s one that many people
share: make the offending player miss the same amount of time as the
player he injured, and you’d see the dirty hits disappear. I just can’t
agree with it.
All hits should be punished the same, regardless of
injury. That’s not the way it works, however; Ovechkin would never have
been suspended if Campbell had not been injured. But if the exact same
hit resulted in just a bruised shoulder for Campbell, would it make the
hit any less dangerous or illegal?
One other thing: Wirtz is using
the Ovechkin hit to get in on the discussion of head shots and knee on
knee hits, and that is completely unfair to Ovechkin and this particular
incident. I thought he ‘push’ of Campbell was reckless, but far from
malicious and far from being on the same level as a blind-sided shot to
You can’t just lump them all together. Ovechkin’s hit
was worthy of a two-game suspension. Matt Cooke’s was worthy of a
20-game suspension. The fact that they weren’t punished at those levels
is the NHL’s problem, and just now they decide to do something about it.
making every suspension the same length as the injury? Not needed, not
going to happen.