Ovechkin caps

Ovechkin suspended three games for Michalek hit


NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan has suspended Washington captain Alex Ovechkin three games for this hit on Pittsburgh’s Zbynek Michalek during Sunday’s Capitals-Penguins game:

“The act of launching causes contact to Michalek’s head,” said Shanahan. “Often on big hits or collisions a player’s feet will come off the ice slightly as a result of the impact.

“This, however, is not one of those occasions.”

With all due respect to Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, JF Jacques, Tom Sestito and Andre Deveaux, Ovechkin is the first true “superstar” player to face supplementary discipline from Shanahan — though it’s not Ovi’s first time being called to the disciplinary carpet. He was dinged two games in Mar. 2010 for boarding Chicago’s Brian Campbell, a punishment levied by former NHL head of discipline Colin Campbell.

Earlier this year it was thought Ovechkin could’ve received suspension for spearing Ottawa’s Chris Neil, but Shanahan elected not to punish the offense.

Ovechkin will forfeit $154,677.75 to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund and miss Washington’s game on Tuesday against Boston, Jan. 31 against Tampa Bay and Feb. 1 against Florida.

Sabres waive d-man Donovan

HKN Sabres Senators
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Buffalo has put blueliner Matt Donovan on waivers, per Sportsnet.

Donovan, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency after spending his entire professional career with the Isles organization.

The fact he’s being waived isn’t a huge shock. Donovan failed to draw into a single Sabres game this year despite a whittled-down blueline; Jake McCabe, recently called up from AHL Rochester, drew into the lineup for Monday’s win over Columbus at the expense of Carlo Colaiacovo, who played the first two games of the year.

The fact both McCabe and Colaiacovo were ahead on the depth chart didn’t bode well for Donovan. Today’s move could also suggest that Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played this year due to injury, is ready to return.

Stars to scratch Nichushkin after rough outing versus Avs?

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Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.

Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.

Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.

Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.

“I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.

“His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”

The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.

He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.