Sunday, May 06, 2007

Ovie Out, Sabres In

The word coming out of the World Championships today is that Ovechkin was ejected and later handed a one-game suspension for what was being termed a hit from behind in the game against the Swiss team.

I saw the replay of the game and was initially surprised that the hit in question was given such a strong punishment. It was a relatively innocent play - Ovie steps out of the box just as the Swiss player skates by with the puck, head down. Ovechkin lays him out with a hard shoulder check that knocks the other player down and shakes him up a bit.

But I didn't see the malicious intent, the hitting from behind, anything noteworthy other than the fact that it was around the head.

As I think about it a bit more, though, it's a good call and consistent with the standard set to this point at the World Championships. Just a few days ago, Shea Weber was suspended for an elbow to the head of a German player, now this. The IIHF is setting a standard that the NHL would do well to mimick - cracking down on hits to the head, regardless of intent or whether the player's head is down, seems like a good idea to me.

And luckily for Ovie and the Russian team, his suspension falls on a relatively meaningless game against Sweden, as Russia has already qualified for the next round.

For continuing coverage on the World Championships, check the widget above...

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The last two games of the Rangers-Sabres series have been surprisingly entertaining, but if you're a Sabres fan I'd be concerned. (And I'm not saying that because I want to see them crash and burn...I don't, I swear!)

There's no reason Buffalo should have taken 6 games to finish off the Rags, especially not after the phenomenal regular season they had. So many times during this series they looked simply average, allowing New York to dictate the play far too often. That's not to say they didn't have their share of breathtaking moments - with that much talent it wasn't going to stay idle for the entire series. Still, they made the Rangers look much better than they actually were, and that's not a good sign.

Regardless, the Sabres move on to take on the Senators in the Eastern Conference Finals.

But fisticuffs aside, this should be a playoff series for the ages - with all the speed and skill on both of these rosters combined with the heated division rivalry, this series could be the perfect example of what the playoffs are all about. And it should come as no surprise that the two Eastern Conference finalists come out of the Northeast, one of the tightest divisions in the league this season. Ottawa holds a slight edge in the season series, winning 5 of 8 games, but this looks to be an evenly matched series that should go 7.

Unless I'm wrong.

Wouldn't be the first time.

5 comments:

Heather B. said...

People keep saying that now but before the Sabres/Rangers series started most experts picked the Sabres in 6 or 7 games. I'd agree that games 2, 3, and most of 4 were concerning, but the end of 4, 5, and 6 were very encouraging. The only reason 5 was even close is because Lundqvist was unbelievable. The final score to that game could've just as easily been 6-1.

If Buffalo and Ottawa both play the way they can, I think it comes down to goaltending and in that case, I like us. Emery isn't going to play as well as DiPietro and Lundqvist did and Miller isn't going to play as poorly as Fleury and Brodeur did.

Should definitely be a great series!

Elly said...

I agree, it's going to be a lot of fun to see this series come around, especially if the Senators come out with that jump they've had since early April.

Heather b: Hey, don't pick on Fleury, he played just fine! Well, mostly, but it's hard to tend net behind a team that keeps getting distracted and looking at the pretty lights.

capsfan said...

can you or any other long suffering caps fan answer this question:

what were the names of the parking lots at old cap centre? all i can remember is stars & stripes, and liberty bell...HELP!!

CapsChick said...

Hmm...I'm going to have to think about that one, I can't remember. I may have to do a little research because now that's going to bug me, so give me a little time and I'll get back to you.

Unless anyone else out there knows - come on, people, we sat in that parking lot for hours on end waiting to move after games, you'd think we could remember the names of the lots! :)

Caroline said...

haha, doing the contest for the new jersey??
it was
capital
eagle
liberty bell
and
stars and stipes
i totally found that just by searching
the one i'm having trouble with is
where the caps practiced before piney could you help me out with that?