Alex Ovechkin was suspended for two games without pay by the National Hockey League on Monday for his hit on Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell early in Sunday's game in Chicago that reportedly has ended Campbell's regular season.
NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell ruled that it was a "reckless" hit by Ovechkin, who received a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct on the play that occurred 12:16 into the first period.
Brian Campbell reportedly suffered a broken clavicle and broken ribs after Ovechkin shoved him into the end boards. He was scheduled to meet with a team doctor Monday afternoon for further evaluation.
Ovechkin, who has three game misconducts this season, will miss Tuesday's game at Florida and Thursday's at Carolina. He's eligible to return Saturday at Tampa Bay. Washington has already clinched the Southeast Division title and is 6-2 without Ovechkin this season.
Ovechkin is now considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. He was previously suspended for two games for his knee-on-knee hit on Carolina defenseman Tim Gleason in the Capitals' 3-2 win on Nov. 30. He received a kneeing major and a game misconduct on that play.
He was booted from a game Nov. 25 in Buffalo after receiving a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct for his hit on Patrick Kaleta 3:38 into the third period. There was no supplemental discipline for that play.
The back-to-back Hart Trophy winner said after Sunday's game he didn't think his hit on Campbell was so bad and he wasn't sure if he would hear from the League on Monday.
"It was not a hard hit," he told reporters. "I just pushed him. It's just a moment in the game. I don't think it has to be five minutes or something like that. I just felt bad. That's it."
Ovechkin also added, "I respect everybody. We respect everybody here in the locker room and outside, but over there (on the ice) we play for our team. We make some hard hits and sometimes you get hurt. That's a hockey game."
Ovechkin, who has two inches and more than 40 pounds on Campbell, couldn't say if his size advantage played a part in Campbell's unfortunate fall. He crumpled into the boards after Ovechkin pushed him.
"I don't hit him hard. I just pushed him, but he fell bad," Ovechkin said. "You can see every shift it happens, little pushes, little battles."
Campbell's defense partner, Niklas Hjalmarsson
, called for Ovechkin to be suspended.
"I thought it was a late hit," Hjalmarsson told the Chicago Tribune. "That's the kind of situation you really hurt yourself. I hope they take a good look at that hit and suspend him for a couple of games."
Washington right wing Mike Knuble told the Washington Post on Monday that he'd like to see Ovechkin harness some of his aggressiveness for his own good.
"He has the reputation that he plays hard," Knuble told the newspaper. "But things seem to be happening around him. You would like to see him being more careful because, No. 1, you don't want to see him hurt himself and, No. 1, so he doesn't miss games."Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
Author: Dan Rosen | NHL.com Staff Writer