Monday, March 15, 2010

Ovie's Hit

Because it's too painful to talk about the Thrashers.

Here's what everyone is up in arms over:

It's a shame that Soup will miss the rest of the season due to injuries sustained here. However, I don't see that it was a particularly dirty play by Ovechkin.

Crosby fans out there will scream and call me an Ovechkin partisan who thinks he could do no wrong, so let me point out that I have called Ovi out on dirty moves in the past such as his slew foot on the Pevs Dispenser. I also think that Downie's take down of Crosby yesterday was dirty. Maybe not the definition of a slew foot, but a dangerous play that could have really messed up his knee.

Anyway, back to this Ovi-Soup hit. I have heard folks on Home Ice today saying that this was a hit on a player without the puck. Watch the video. Campbell plays the puck, then gets hit before you can count "one thousand one." Bumps after a player has dished the puck away are standard in the NHL. Nothing dirty per se about hitting a player who just passed the biscuit away.

The hit itself was not a cross check or an elbow. Ovi just shoved him in the direction of his momentum.

This was also not a hit on an unsuspecting player. Campbell was playing the puck while being pursued. The first instant of the video shows him looking right at Ovechkin, so he knew he was coming.

So the only question really comes down to the position. Campbell is on the goal line when Ovechkin pushes him. That's too much space between Soup and the boards. If you hit a guy when he's a foot away from the boards, he'll hit them while still fully upright and his body will be able to properly absorb the impact. If you hit him three or four feet out from the boards, he will go in at an odd angle in which he can't protect himself from the impact.

Ovi hit him too far out, and the debate will have to be whether to hold him accountable for that. We all know about how fast the game of hockey is played. Did Ovechkin do a mental calculation, determine that Campbell was too far out from the boards to protect himself then decide to hit him anyway? Do we hold hockey players responsible for making that determination at full speed? This is a full contact sport, and to some degree you assume a risk when you step out onto that ice. You're going to hit hit, you're going to hit the boards. That's not to say that you accept the risk that Matt Cooke is going to target your head with his shoulder or that you agree to let Ryan Hollweg's elbow imprint itself on your brain, but you do expect to get hit or shoved at any point on the ice.


1 comment:

the jointhead said...

Ovie plays hard, fast, and physical. You can see him hit the jets early in the video, just finished a check in the wrong spot. He knew he fucked up after the hit, not grinning like fucking Cooke. Knowing the NHL he'll probably be suspended where as Crosby can be a third man into a fight punching Vlabik in the balls from behind and only get two minutes. Canadian scum.