Reporting Sky Kerstein
Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin has been suspended three games by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for his hit yesterday on the Penguins Zbynek Michalek. For Ovechkin this is his third career suspension. Ovechkin was suspended twice, each for two games, during the 2009-2010 season. Ovechkin is forfeiting $154,677.75 during his three game suspension.
“I don’t know, we’ll see,” Ovechkin said earlier today before his meeting with Brendan Shanahan, the head disciplinarian of the NHL, when asked if he thought he’ll be suspended.
Ovechkin has 20 goals and 19 assists while playing in all 47 games for the Caps this season. This suspension hurts the Caps even more because they are without Nicklas Backstrom (concussion) and Mike Green (abdominal surgery).
Capitals Head Coach Dale Hunter wouldn’t comment earlier today before the suspension was handed down.
The Caps host the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins tomorrow in their final game before the All-Star break. When the Caps come back from the break, they begin a three game road trip starting with the Tampa Bay Lightning a week from Tuesday. He will also miss February 1st against the Florida Panthers. Ovechkin will be eligible to return February 4th in Montreal against the Canadiens. As of now, Ovechkin is still expected to participate in the NHL All-Star game on Sunday.
It is likely the Caps will go with Marcus Johansson, Mathieu Perreault & Alexander Semin on the first line in the absence of Alex Ovechkin.
Ironically, Capitals forward Matt Hendricks was hit by Zbynek Michalek right after Alex Ovechkin hit Michalek. Michalek also had a meeting with Brendan Shanahan and the NHL decided that Michalek will not be suspended or fined for his hit on Hendricks.
“I don’t think it was a clean hit,” Hendricks said earlier today on the hit that Michalek laid on him.
Click here to listen to what Dale Hunter, Alex Ovechkin and many others had to say following practice earlier today and also a complete practice round up as they prepare for the Bruins tomorrow.
Also click here for a full video explanation by Brendan Shanahan on why Ovechkin was suspended for three games.