Alexander Ovechkin, the NHL's two-time MVP, has been handed a two-games ban for his hit on Brian Campbell, the Chicago Blackhawks' defenceman. The Washington Capitals winger drove Campbell into the boards from behind during Sunday's game and received a major penalty and a game misconduct charge. Because he had also been suspended for two games earlier this season, Ovechkin, the league's top scorer with 96 points, is now considered a repeat offender under the collective bargaining agreement.
The Russian winger, who missed last night's game in Flordia and will be out of Thursday's match in Carolina, will also lose US$232,000 (Dh852,000) of his salary because of the ban. He is eligible to return to the ice on Saturday at Tampa Bay. Ovechkin was suspended for two games on December 1 for a knee-to-knee hit on Tim Gleason, the Carolina defenceman. "We have no problem with the way Alex tried to finish his check," said George McPhee, the Washington general manager. "Unfortunately, an injury resulted. We are disappointed with the suspension but do not want to comment further."
Campbell reportedly suffered broken ribs and a broken collar bone, although his team have only said he has an "upper body injury". The Blackhawks are second in the Western Conference, while the Capitals lead the East. "Brian Campbell is one of the best skaters in the National Hockey League," said Bruce Boudreau, the Capitals coach. "If he thought danger was coming, and he saw Alex right behind him, he would have moved.
"I think he was trying to spin away and the spin didn't work, and he got caught in the ice and he fell into the boards. "That's me, and a lot of people are going to bash that thought. But that's my opinion." * With agencies