So, how long before others around the league start using the word "dirty" to describe the Washington Capitals' captain after he was tagged with his second two-game suspension of the season?
"I have never heard the word 'dirty' to describe him," said Darren Eliot, an analyst for Versus and the Atlanta Thrashers. "But as people analyze all the incidents, they are looking at a body of work. I don't know if it's dirty, but if he competes like has has been he's always going to be on the line."
Carolina defenseman Tim Gleason told the D.C. Sports Bog that he has "no problem" the way Ovechkin plays --- and that's coming from a guy who was the recipient of a knee-on-knee hit from Ovechkin.
Ovechkin was suspended for two games for that Nov. 30 collision. But Gleason didn't suffer any lasting injuries from the hit, unlike Chicago's Brian Campbell.
Campbell broke his collarbone and along with a couple ribs, injuries that will likely end his season after a first-period shove by Ovechkin. Ovechkin was assessed a major boarding penalty and ejected from Sunday's game.
After Sunday's game, Ovechkin told reporters that it was not a hard hit and that Campbell simply "fell bad" into the boards. Those were words similar to his collision with Gleason --- a hit that Ovechkin actually got the worst of and had to be helped off the ice from.
"How are you going to tell me to stop playing how I play?" Ovechkin told reporters in December. "If I stop playing how I play, I'd be a different player."
That incident was before Ovechkin was appointed the team's captain after the Capitals traded Chris Clark to Columbus. The added authority, however, hasn't halted Ovechkin's aggressiveness on the ice.
Eliot said Ovechkin may throttle it down over time, just like another great center who captained the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks.
"He reminds me of Mark Messier early in his career," Eliot said. "He was a point scorer who would do just about anything to intimidate somebody, to the point where he became somewhat of bully. Ovechkin plays with the same type of inner passion. Over time, Messier modified his game after he hurt his team with his actions and had a couple of injuries. That really changed Messier's reputation around the league."