The animated Alex Ovechkin is always great for a sound bite and despite his reluctancy to speak with reporters in Vancouver, he is usually more than accomodating when it comes to speaking to the media. So it comes as no surprise that he wanted to share his own thoughts regarding his two-game suspension. In his statement, he reiterates what Hockey Mom said yesterday, that is was not a malicious attempt to injure Brian Campbell.
Now does Ovechkin play a wee bit close to the edge sometimes? Absolutely. Does he forget he's the size of a small dinosaur and underestimate the impact of one of his hits on an unsuspecting player? Check. Does he make silly mistakes (as we all do) and make late hits from time to time? Sure. But he is not a predator nor a loose cannon, as some hockey writers have made him out to be in recent days. He is not out there head-hunting and attempting to mar or end another player's career. For a prime example of a reckless hit that attempts to do just that, simply Google the recent hit from repeat offender Steve Downie on NHL poster boy Sidney Crosby.
So I've said my piece and the NHL has sent their message. Here's what Ovechkin had to say courtesy of the team's release:
Statement from Alex Ovechkin:
“I am very sorry that Brian was injured and I hope he is able to return to his team soon. 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 yesterday. 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. I look forward to returning to my team and doing everything I can to be the best player I can be.”