Washington Capitals winger, Alex Ovechkin, has been banned for three games for breaking Rule 42 of the NHL rulebook, the code that governs charging at opponents. Ovechkin, a player who is no stranger to suspensions, slammed into Penguins’ defender, Zbynek Michalek, in Pittsburgh, on Sunday.
The Penguins dispatched the Capitals 4-3 in a roughly even match-up, to record their sixth victory in a row. Washington, in comparison, have lost three games in four, with their most recent win coming against Montreal, on Thursday. Those looking at the in-play ice hockey betting online will not have been surprised.
Pittsburgh got off to a flyer, scoring two goals in the first period, but Washington retaliated quickly, to tie the scores heading into the final period. A goal apiece in the third dragged the game into overtime, where the increasingly productive Evgeni Malkin sealed victory for the Penguins.
Once the celebrations were over, the Pens’ attention turned to the altercation between Ovechkin and Michalek. The Russian, Ovechkin, launched himself at his Czech opponent in the second period, clearing leaving the ice with his feet, and impacting Michalek’s head with his left shoulder.
The manoeuvre, as player safety official, Brendan Shanahan, would later state, is illegal. To paraphrase Rule 42 of the handbook: penalties will be imposed upon players who deliberately skate, jump, or charge into an opponent. The difference between charging and checking is often a matter of intent; checking is about retrieving a puck, whereas charging is usually an act of aggression.
Ovechkin has been fined a total of $154,677 (£99,317) in missed wages. The forfeit will be paid to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund, a ‘piggy bank’ that helps support former players with financial difficulties. The Russian will make his return to the Capitals on February 4, against the Montreal Canadiens.