Ovechkin's hit on Heward and the ensuing suspension debate

In case you missed it finishing off those nearly-empty bottles of bubbly from the night before, here's Alexander Ovechkin's hit on Jamie Heward of the Tampa Bay Lightning, which resulted in Heward being hospitalized with a concussion. Scary stuff:

The news this morning is that the hit will be reviewed by the NHL, which really isn't news when you consider any hit involving a stretcher is going to get a look. The real news will be if the Washington Capitals superstar receives a suspension for the hit.

The Lightning's take on the hit, via Lightning Strikes:

Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said after the game that he did not think Ovechkin was trying to injure Heward, Ovechkin's former teammate, or that Ovechkin was trying to be dirty. His only concern was if Ovechkin left his feet. Tocchet said he spoke to referee Marc Joannette. He said Joannette said he "could not tell."

If there is a suspension, it will come before Washington's game Saturday against the Rangers.

JP's take from a Washington Capitals' fan perspective:

Watch it again. Heward was skating along the boards, Ovi had him lined up, and then Heward turns back and towards the boards with his head lowered because (presumably) the puck wasn't coming around as hard as he had thought. A crisper pass along the boards and Ovi just finishes Heward a bit as they skate out of the zone, as he does a dozen times a game. But that's not what happened.

A few things working in Ovechkin's favor: His rather clean rap sheet, which we know the NHL weighs heavily in its decisions; the obvious concern he had after the hit, which probably shouldn't factor into the legality of the play but obviously looks good for the judges; and the fact that he wasn't penalized on the hit.

It was a dangerous play with an unfortunate result. But it was rather bang-bang, with Heward in a prone position. Have to agree with Japers here: no additional punishment necessary.

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