Sometime in the next day or two, the ol' NHL Wheel of Justice (spin it to see what your punishment is) will come down on Alex Ovechkin. For the second time in three games, Ovie was kicked out of a game, this time for his knee-on-knee collision with Carolina defenseman Tim Gleason.
While the hit likely wasn't intentional, it probably was something that could've been avoided. And it most certainly is dangerous. Ovie, for what it's worth, appeared to have gotten the worst of it. He had to come out of the game, unable to put any weight on his knee. (UPDATE: Caps media relations guru Nate Ewell says "Alex Ovechkin is day-to-day with a sore knee. He skated briefly on his own before practice today.")
Capitals Insider saw him board the team bus after the game, noting only a slight limp: no crutches or braces. That's certainly a good sign, but it doesn't mean he's in the clear. With some bad knee injuries, people can still putter around short distances; that doesn't mean they'd be able to play world-class hockey.
Knee-on-knee hits are especially dangerous. With the size and speed of these players, and with how the skates dig into the ice, it can be like taking a baseball bat to a fence post.
Unfortunately, Ovie's developing a reputation for these kinds of hits. You might remember that he took out Sergei Gonchar in last year's playoffs.
Ovie's always had a wild style, throwing his body into every hit, playing like an over-developed man child. On Frozen Blog sums it up best:
"His knee-on-knee hits aren’t perhaps habitual quite yet, but two of them have now taken place in a span of little more than six months’ time, and they’ve showcased a certain recklessness to his game that demonstrates faulty judgment. We understand and appropriately celebrate Ovi’s once-in-a-generation level of skill and bravado, and we don’t want him to reign in his fantastic ferocity. But we want and need him to channel his checking aggression into well-managed warfare."
Hopefully today's knee exam comes out clean, and he can start managing that aggression on the ice soon.
If not, he can always resume his career as a fashion model.