Amid the deluge of opinions on blogs, Twitter and newspapers, certain voices standout. Fellow teammates of the “victim” will usually make safe but critical comments. The most interesting perspectives often come from teammates and coaches of the “accused” though.
First, let’s take a look at Bruce “Gabby” Boudreau’s perspective on Alex Ovechkin’s two game suspension. Tarik El-Bashir caught up with the Capitals’ coach in the late afternoon. Here are some excerpts from Boudreau’s reactions. (H/T to Puck Daddy by way of Chris Burton)
“The decision has been made. I don’t agree with it. But maybe if I was [Chicago Coach] Joel Quenneville, I wouldn’t think it wasn’t enough …”
“I watched [the hit] frame by frame, trying to think what they would think. To me, there’s no way that was anywhere near a vicious as [Colorado enforcer David] Koci’s hit on Mike [Green on Dec. 15].”Alex pushed [Campbell]. He pushed him. If he doesn’t fall awkwardly into the boards, a) Is it a penalty? b) Are we having this discussion? … Alex is so much stronger than everyone else. So we’re penalizing him for being strong. …
“I was so upset for him. I told [GM George McPhee], ‘I can’t tell him.’ I feel so bad for the guy. All he wants to do is play hockey and play the game hard.”
On the other hand, Mike Knuble seemed to pull a mild “Bill Guerin” by sharing some mild concerns about his teammate’s style of play. Read more about his comments after the jump.
Earlier today, Knuble told El-Bashir that he had spoken to Ovechkin about toning down his all-out physical style to “save himself.”
“He has the reputation that he plays hard,” Knuble said. “But things seem to be happening around him. You would like to see him being more careful because, number one, you don’t want to see him hurt himself and, number two, so he doesn’t miss games — for our benefit.”
Knuble also said he spoke to Ovechkin about doing a better job picking his spots during a blowout victory in Denver on Dec. 15.
“There was something in the corner with maybe five minutes left,” Knuble said. “[Ovechkin] kind of went at a guy. [The score] was 6-1. I was kind of like, ‘Slow down a bit, just for your own sake. You don’t need to accidentally catch your knee on somebody.'”
Ovechkin’s joy for the game and willingness to put his body on the line make him easy to admire. That being said, could his physical style of play end up hurting him in the end, even if it’s just someone else writhing around on the ice?