Does Ovi's punishment fit the crime?

Does Ovi's punishment fit the crime?
January 24, 2012, 12:44 pm
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Like Alan May and Jeremy Roenick, I grew up on old-time hockey.

I love watching a good scrap; I believe in paybacks and there is nothing sweeter than a clean, hard, bone-crushing check.

But if you ask me to take sides on the three-game suspension Brendan Shanahan issued Monday on Alex Ovechkin, Im going with Roenicks assertion that Shanny made the right call.

This is not to suggest May doesnt make a compelling argument against the suspension; he does. There is no question Pierre McGuire overreacts to the hit and places undue pressure on Shanahan to mete out punishment.

But if Shanahan wants to be consistent and eliminate head shots from the game, Ovechkins three-game punishment fits the crime. As a repeat offender (two suspensions, two fines) Ovi had to get suspended for leaving his feet and ramming Zbynek Michaleks head into the glass.

It is worth noting that Michalek missed 10 games this season with a concussion and you better believe that if that was Michalek leaving his feet to ram Nicklas Backstroms head into the glass, fans in Washington would be complaining that three games wasnt enough.

As Roenick points out, Ovechkins style of play would have been perfectly suited for the late 1980s and early 1990s, when players ran across the ice like human pin balls. Ovechkin should continue to play with snarl because without it, hes just another talented player.

But as May points out, Shanahan is guilty of holding a double standard with his ruling. Michalek absolutely deserved a suspension for driving Matt Hendricks head into the glass. If nothing else, Shanahan should have produced a video explaining why he did not suspend Michalek.

But with 72 players sidelined this season because of some form of concussion symptoms thats one out of every 10 players the NHL must take a stand on blows to the head. Ovechkin just happens to be the latest victim.