Reuters - Tue, 16 Mar 19:58:00 2010
Alex Ovechkin should not have been suspended for a blind-side hit on Brian Campbell because he was not trying to hurt the Chicago Blackhawks defenseman, the Washington Capitals left wing said.
The NHL handed Ovechkin, the league's leading scorer and double MVP, a two-game suspension for the hit on Campbell during the Capitals' 4-3 overtime victory in Chicago on Sunday.
"NHL hockey is a physical game," Ovechkin said in a statement. "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."
Campbell suffered a fractured clavicle and a broken rib after being shoved from behind into the boards by Ovechkin. The 30-year-old, nine-year NHL veteran is expected to be sidelined up to eight weeks, the Blackhawks said.
Ovechkin was assessed a five-minute boarding penalty and a game misconduct and was ejected from the game following the first-period hit.
The high-scoring Russian said he was "sorry that Brian was injured" but that he will remain an aggressive player.
"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," said Ovechkin.
"I will play hard, play with passion and play with respect for my team mates, opponents and fans.
"I look forward to returning to my team and doing everything I can to be the best player I can be."