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Alex Ovechkin’s ‘apology’

I didn’t expect Alex Ovechkin to say he was completely at fault for what what happened with Brian Campbell, but I can’t believe how everyone in Washington, D.C. seems to be completely mystified for why he was suspended. Ted Leonsis can’t understand it, Bruce Boudreau can’t believe it and now A.O. himself is a bit dumbfounded.

“I am very sorry that Brian (Campbell) was injured and I hope he is able to return to his team soon,” Ovechkin said. “NHL hockey is a physical game. We all play hard every time we are on the ice and have battles each shift in every game we play so we can do our jobs and win. As players we must accept responsibility for our actions and I am no different but I did not intend to injure Brian and that is why I was disappointed with the NHL’s decision (on MOnday).”

“Every time I have the honor to play for my team, I will continue to do what I have done since I was taught to play. I will play hard, play with passion and play with respect for my teammates, opponents and fans,” Ovechkin added. “I look forward to returning to my team and doing everything I can to be the best player I can be.”

Before I continue I have to state this disclaimer: I am not a Alex Ovechkin hater. In fact, I love watching the guy play.

The NHL did not suspend Ovechkin because they determined he ‘intended to injure’ Brian Campbell. In fact, if that were the case, I have to believe that his suspension would have been much, much longer. Ovechkin was suspended because, like he’s done in the past, was reckless and created a dangerous play that hurt another player. Ovechkin’s all-out style of play is great to watch and you have to respect his love of the game, but at some point he has to realize that he is accountable for the bad plays he creates when he’s reckless.

This is nothing more than that. It seems that Ovechkin and the Capitals are taking this a bit personal; the simple truth is that every time a player is pushed -- or hit -- from behind and into the boards, he’s going to be suspended. The debates about blindside hits, hits the head or even slew-foots have no bearing in this situation; hits from behind and into the boards always have been and always will be punished, at every level of hockey.