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Cheap shot? Blackhawks say yes, Ovechkin says no
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

The Capitals' Alex Ovechkin looks on after shoving the Blackhawks' Brian Campbell, front, into the end boards in the first period Sunday. Campbell's shoulder injury could be significant.


Associated Press

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Published: 3/14/2010 8:27 PM | Updated: 3/15/2010 12:00 AM

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For those Blackhawks fans who waited two seasons to see Alex Ovechkin play live at the United Center, all they got for their money was 12 minutes on Sunday.

Ovechkin was ejected at 12:16 of the first period for shoving Hawks defenseman Brian Campbell into the end boards from behind then after said he was innocent of any wrongdoing.

Multiple sources confirmed late Sunday night that Campbell suffered a broken collarbone and possible rib damage and likely would miss the rest of the season.

"I didn't think it had to be five minutes (for boarding) and a misconduct," Ovechkin said after the Capitals won 4-3 in overtime without him. "He just fell like that and it just happened.

"I thought it was going to be two minutes. I think it was a pretty good check. It was contact, but it was not a hard hit and nothing dangerous. I just a little push him, but it was just a moment in the game. He just fell bad. Every shift it happens, little pushes."

The Hawks saw it differently and so did referees Dan O'Halloran and Frederick L'Ecuyer, who showed guts in tossing one of hockey's greatest players in a game NBC was televising nationally.

Campbell was in a vulnerable position, a few feet from the boards with his back to Ovechkin and the puck already having been released by him.

"It was a tough hit, a dangerous hit," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

"I hope the league takes a good look at that and suspends him a couple games," said Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, who is Campbell's defense partner.

For Ovechkin, who plays a reckless game on the edge of the rulebook, it was his third game misconduct of the season. The rules call for an automatic one-game suspension for a player collecting three game misconducts in the same category, but Ovechkin could skate with no punishment since his three are in different categories.

Angry Hawks captain Jonathan Toews didn't mention Ovechkin by name when calling for players to start respecting each other more.

"There's so much of that stuff going on now," said Toews, himself a victim of a shoulder-to-the-head from Vancouver's Willie Mitchell in October that left him with a concussion.

"It's pretty frustrating that the players don't take a stand against something like that and say, you know what, we've got to respect ourselves a little bit more and know it's not all about the flashy hit," Toews said. "You've got to know when there's a dangerous situation where you can really hurt somebody and be smart about it."

Ovechkin basically shrugged off what Toews had to say.

"I agree. I respect everybody," he said. "We play for our team and we make some hard hits and sometimes they get hurt. It's hockey game."