The Chicago Blackhawks could be without their defenceman Brian Campbell for the rest of the season after he suffered a broken collarbone and ribs following a hit from Alexander Ovechkin, the Washington captain, on Sunday. The Capitals came from 3-0 down to record a 4-3 win, but afterwards all the talk was about that hit.
"I don't think it was a real good check. He just kind of fell and it was a dangerous moment," said Ovechkin, who was given a game misconduct for the first period incident. "I didn't hit him hard. I pushed him, but he fell bad. It probably looks bad. I thought it was going to be two minutes, but the linesman came to me and said, 'Game over'." Ovechkin was given two game misconducts earlier this season, the first for a shoulder check and the second one for a kneeing incident that eventually led to a two-game suspension.
The NHL will review the hit, but Colin Campbell, the head disciplinarian, said Ovechkin's history does not guarantee a suspension for the Russian. "The knee [suspension from December 1] does not apply as he was suspended for that," Campbell said. "If you get two boarding game-misconduct penalties, you get an automatic suspension if 41 games have not lapsed. In [Ovechkin's] case, 41 games have lapsed since his last boarding [game misconduct], so he is not suspended automatically."
"The league will do what they do," said Joel Quenneville, the Blackhawks coach. "Soupy [Campbell] is going to be out for a bit here. It was a dangerous hit." "I thought it was a late hit," said Niklas Hjalmarsson, the Chicago defenceman. "I hope the league will take a good look at that. That's a situation where you really hurt yourself. I hope they take a good look at that and suspend him for a couple of games."
The match had been touted as a possible preview of a Stanley Cup final with Washington leading the Eastern Conference and Chicago second in the West. But by the end, the talk had, once again, turned to how much, or little, players respect each other on the ice. "There's so much of that stuff [head injuries] going on now, it's pretty frustrating the players don't take a stand against something like that and say, 'You know what, we have to respect ourselves a little bit more', and know it's not all about the flashy hit," said Jonathan Toews, the Chicago captain.
"You have to know when there's a dangerous situation and you can really hurt somebody and be smarter about it." The game itself was one of the most exciting of the year. Nicklas Backstrom scored unassisted with less then two minutes left in overtime - his second goal of the game - to win the game for the visitors. "It's a strong sign, especially now at the end of the season," Backstrom said. "We know he [Ovechkin] is a key to our team and he scores a lot of goals. We have shown that we can play, that our other key players can play, too."
Brooks Laich scored on a power play to make it 3-1 in the third period, before goals 13 seconds apart from Eric Fehr and Backstrom tied the game, silencing the crowd and forcing Chicago to take a time-out. A brace from Toews and a goal from John Madden had given the Blackhawks a 3-0 lead sevens minutes into the second period. firstname.lastname@example.org