During this morning's recap, I made mention of Tampa Bay defenseman Jamie Heward being taken off the ice on a stretcher after he was hit by Washington's Alex Ovechkin during the Capitals' 7-4 win on Thursday night. Heward suffered a concussion on the hit, and was apparently unconcious for 90 seconds as he was face-first on the ice.
As the NHL tends to do whenever there is a hit that leads to a player being knocked out cold, the league reviewed the play (shown above) and determined that no disciplinary action would be necessary. From Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Tribune:
Lightning GM Brian Lawton said Ovechkin will draw no discipline from the league. Lawton said he spoke to NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell Friday morning, who told him the play had been reviewed and Ovechkin will not face league discipline. No penalty was called on the play. "I was told by the league it was not a targeted hit to the head," Lawton said. "In their assessment, Ovechkin never left his feet." Lawton said the league decided Heward's crouching on the play also contributed somewhat to the hit to the head. "I didn't see it that way," Lawton said, though he added, "under the explanation I was given, that was acceptable."The NHL is, supposedly, trying to crack down on hits that target the head, and they tend to base their suspensions and/or punishments on whether or not the player on the receiving end was hurt, as was the case in this situation.
I tend to agree with the NHL's assessment in this case, as there didn't seem to be any malicious intent on the part of Ovechkin. Just an unfortunate injury on a hockey play.
What do you think, hockey fans? Should Ovechkin have been disciplined?