Hockey blogs (and, briefly, my Facebook page) are ablaze with anti-Ovechkin sentiment today after his knee-on-knee hit in last night's game.
I know we love to hate the hockey players that we love to hate. I can go on for a while about my dislike for Sidney Crosby. But I know he's a good player and I don't wish for him to be injured.
I know I am a major Capitals fan and that fandom was sparked by the pure joy for life that Ovie plays with. But, still, I wonder how so many people can cast him as the villain in their minds. I am positive that Ovie didn't mean to hurt anyone. I know that he just wants to play good hockey and he never hits to be mean or to injure. He has done too many things in his time as a Capital that show his good character. His coaches and the team owner attest to him being a good person. I have seen him interact with fans, with teammates and with opponents and he has been nothing but kind. You just can't fake that. He may be overly aggressive or reckless at times and I hope he will play with a bit more caution from here on out, but he's not the bad guy.
He's losing a chunk of money for his two game suspension - nearly $100,000. I doubt that matters too much to him, but it's still significant. His statement on his suspension speaks for itself:
"I regret that this has happened. I'm glad that Tim wasn't injured because I never ever want to see anyone get hurt. I am disappointed to miss these games and I can't wait to get back on the ice next week to help my team."
My question to fans of other NHL teams who are so down on Ovie: Would you be wishing for long-term suspensions and season-ending injuries if Ovie were on your team?
Let me answer that for you. If the Penguins let Crosby go and he became a Capital, only an idiotic Caps fan would keep up the hating. I would welcome him with open arms. Hell, I'd buy his jersey. He'd never be my favorite player, Ovie's got that one locked up, but I'd be happy to have him on my team. Who out there really wouldn't be happy to have Ovie on their team?
Maybe, just maybe the hockey fan community should wish health for all the players in the NHL so that they can keep playing great games and entertaining us for another 5 months (hopefully more like 6.5 for my Caps).