THE BLOG
05/15/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

No Excuses Allowed, Not Even For Ovechkin

It was an eventful Sunday for the Blackhawks which involved another blown lead and a significant injury to Brian Campbell.

When Joel Quenneville mentions an injured player is going to be out for awhile Hawk fans should hope the scalpels aren't being sharpened. It is no surprise there are reports of Campbell suffering a broken collarbone.

Hawk fans must hope Campbell can return early on in the playoffs. The Blackhawks will have to play better than they have been or there will be no later rounds to play.

With all due respect to Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury, I couldn't disagree more with their assessment of Alex Ovechkin's five minute boarding penalty and game misconduct. Both thought the punishment was too severe and the referee's overreacted to a push by Ovechkin on Campbell.

The Ovechkin push from behind on Campbell is a text book example of unnecessary, opportunistic contact.

Campbell had already passed the puck and was skating away from the play.

He was facing the boards, although not near them, while pushed at the goal line.

Campbell may have also lost his balance but Ovechkin did the opposite of trying to protect a vulnerable opponent. He continued to push as Campbell went down awkwardly and crashed hard into the end boards.

Call it a push, a bump or whatever other benign term some may choose to use. In any regard there was needless contact to a player in a vulnerable position.

This incident can't be considered a fluke because it is the third time Ovechkin has gotten a game misconduct this season for questionable behavior.

To defend his star player Bruce Boudreau said the contact wasn't malicious, which entirely misses the point. The same way McGuire and Milbury did as well.

McGuire and Milbury want the rule changes to be agreed upon as soon as possible. That's a nice thought.

But first the difference between incidental injury due to participation in a hockey play and unnecessary contact involving a player in a vulnerable position has to be recognized.

There is no need to over analyze intent but rather a need to understand dangerous actions.

On many occasions Ovechkin's actions could spotlight him as a dirty player. If he wasn't one of the best performers in the NHL that would probably be the case.

I love watching Ovechkin play but he needs to wake up.

His legacy should be a about scoring titles and winning Stanley Cups. But incidents like the one on Sunday make it difficult for me to think about him in a positive way.

Ovechkin's strength and pace makes him more likely to become a danger to others. Only he can control his actions.

The NHL can form committees to try to find the correct recipe to stop the dangerous hits from occurring from now until the end of time. But until players realize opportunistic contact to those in a vulnerable position could lead to permanent injury or even death, little will change.

Almost always the most dangerous hits to the head and from behind have very little to do with preventing a pass or a shot.

It will be difficult to legislate flagrant reckless actions from the game of hockey. But certainly players can't be given a pass on the premise of what they intended to happen rather than what actually resulted.

Ovechkin deserves to be suspended.

Additional blogs by Al Cimaglia concerning the Blackhawks and the NHL can be found at Hockey Independent.com.

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