Tuesday Tidbits on Ovie, Vokoun, Savard, and more


Written on 12/01/2009 by Jim Cerny

Less than 24 hours after being helped off the ice with an injury to his right knee, Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin was back on the ice this morning testing that knee.

According to Caps beat writer Tariq El-Bashir on Twitter, and Joseph White of the Associated Press, Ovechkin donned a sweatsuit and skated gingerly for about five minutes by himself before retreating to the dressing room.

After practice the Capitals reported that Ovechkin is listed as Day to Day.

Ovechkin was hurt in a knee-on-knee collision with Carolina defenseman Tim Gleason in last night's Caps victory.

As Gleason was starting a rush out of his end of the ice, the aggressively forechecking Ovechkin went for a hit on the defenseman and simultaneously threw his right leg out as Gleason cut towards the middle of the ice. There was direct knee-on-knee contact, and both players remained on the ice for several minutes. Ovechkin was helped from the ice, and was also assessed a five-minute major for kneeing and a game misconduct. Gleason eventually returned to the game.

After the contest Caps coach Bruce Boudreau was in full spin mode trying to protect his most valuable asset, Ovechkin. Boudreau claimed that, at best, Ovechkin should have received a two-minute minor, and that a suspension was not warrented. Boudreau's main fact to support his belief was that Gleason was not seriously hurt.

I disagree, and I am not influenced by the severity of Gleason's injury.

Ovechkin made a similar knee-on-knee hit to Pittsburgh's Sergei Gonchar in the playoffs last spring. Enough is enough. I understand he might just be the biggest draw in the game, but Colin Campbell has to make the right call here. Ovechkin deserves to be suspended.

Whether he is or isn't, though, it seems that Ovechkin will miss some game action no matter what due his own knee injury.


Washington's next opponent is the Florida Panthers. You may not see Tomas Vokoun between the pipes for the Panthers at the Verizon Center, though, on Thursday.

In one of the most bizarre---and embarrassing---plays you will ever see, Vokoun was struck down by his own teammate after Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk scored a goal in last night's game. Defenseman Keith Ballard was so incensed that Kovalchuk was able to pot his own rebound past Vokoun---due in large part to the fact that Ballard had skated himself out of the play behind the goal line---that he swung his stick wildly in frustration. In the process his stick struck Vokoun on the side of his mask, sending the veteran goalie crashing down to the ice, with blood pouring from his left ear.

Apparently unaware of what he had just done, Ballard proceeded to swing his stick again, this time smashing it against the goal post, while Vokoun lay writhing at Ballard's feet.

Simply incredible.

Ballard then skated to the bench. Meanwhile the Florida trainer was sprinting past him to tend to Vokoun, who eventually was taken off on a stretcher, and spent time at a local Atlanta hospital.

You absolutely need to watch this video if you haven't already. 

The good news is that Vokoun only suffered a laceration of the ear, and had no internal damage. He flew home with the team after last night's game.

But in a season chock-full of injuries---and by the way add Columbus defenseman Rotislav Klesla, Carolina's Joe Corvo, and Ovechkin to that list, all from last night's action---this one has got to be THE most bizarre, and stupid, of all.


Cross Marc Savard's name off the free agency list for next summer. Savard and the Bruins today agreed to a seven-year deal, that reportedly averages out to about $4.2 million a year.

My initial reaction is a split one.

On one hand, I say good job by the Bruins keeping one of their best players in the fold, and doing so at a cap hit that is not brutal. Though hurt ealier this season, Savard has thrived in Boston, recording 96, 78, and 88 points in his three full seasons with the Bruins.

But on the other hand I say "Yikes!" Seven years for a player who will be 33 years old by the time his contract kicks in? That is a long commitment, though---this season aside---Savard has been remarkably healthy the past four years. By the end of this contract, Savard will be 40 years old. I understand wanting to lock him up so that he didn't receive other tempting offers, but seven years sounds like an awfully long time to be tied into Marc Savard if you ask me.


Saw that Devils beat writer Tom Gulitti tweeted earlier today that Johnny Oduya returned to practice this morning. Oduya and a whole host of other key Devs have been sidelined recently, not that anyone would have noticed.

New Jersey has won three in a row, including a 6-1 pasting of the Islanders on Saturday, a game that saw six of the Devils regular 18 skaters sidelined due to injury. Dating back to the end of October, the Devils are 11-2-1 in their last 14 games, making them, surprisingly, one of the hottest and top teams in the league this season.

Not sure how they do it over there in Newark, but Lou Lamoriello seems to be a magician year after year.

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