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Bringing Hexy Back • 42 Years Old • Male
Last evening, in a Rangers-Thrashers game, Ilya Kovalchuk hit Rangers defenseman Michal Rozsival from behind, into the boards, while leaving his feet. It certainly meets all the criteria Colin Campbell listed when he ruled that Steve Downie's hit on Dean McAmmond was worth a 20 game suspension.

To remind us all, Campbell said Downie's hit met the four requirements for a stiff punishment on a blow to a player's head: The head was intentionally targeted; a player launched himself by leaving his feet to hit a player in the head area; the hit was delivered to an unsuspecting opponent; and the lateness of the hit.

Here's the Kovalchuk hit on Rozsival:


Looks to me that Kovalchuk did EVERYTHING that Campbell said Downie did. He certainly left his feet. I doubt Ilya could have gotten any higher unless he used his stick as a pole vault. The puck had been gone from Rozsival as long as the puck had been gone from McAmmond. Obviously by launching himself, he was aiming for Rozsival's melon. One way it was different from Downie's hit was that it was from behind, which probably makes Rozsival even more unsuspecting than McAmmond.

I don't expect Kovalchuk to get hit with 20 games. I don't expect him to get as much as 5 games. Because Kovalchuk is also a "superstar". Is it really possible the NHL will further taint it's Hokey All Star game by handing out a lengthy suspension to Kovalchuk? Here's the funny thing, unlike Downie, Kovalchuk has been suspended by the NHL before. He got a one game ban for tossing his stick into the stands in December, 2005. Downie hadn't yet played a shift in a regular season NHL game.

If Colin Campbell had any starch he'd suspend Kovalchuk for at least 10 games, including the ASG. I hope I'll end up having to eat my words, but I doubt it.

Finally, where is all the media? If Downie sucker punches a guy, it's 3 days of front page stuff on tsn.ca. Where's the outcry, the blogs calling Kovalchuk an animal, the numerous "my two cents" blogs on this very site? This is why Flyers fans think they are held to a different standard than other teams and complain about it.

The Kovaklchuk hit isn't mentioned anywhere on the front page of either tsn.ca or Sportsnet.ca. No big surprise that it's not on the front page of NHL.com either.

UPDATE: Kovalchuk has been suspended ONE game by the NHL.

Thanks Collie, for reaffirming that you are incapable of doing your job properly, and that we as fans can almost immediately disregard anything that comes out of your mouth concerning a desire to rid the game of hits that are questionable. Downie was supposed to set a new standard?

Well you certainly are, Mr Campbell. A low standard.
Filed Under:   McAmmond   Downie   Rozsival   Kovalchuk   Suspension   Jsaq  
January 23, 2008 10:42 AM ET | Delete
2 games, if that. The hit was early in the game and Roszival played his usual 20 minutes. Campbell's a joke.
January 23, 2008 10:44 AM ET | Delete
Thanks for saying what many are thinking. We all know, however, that a slap on the wrist is the most that'll come of this.
January 23, 2008 10:55 AM ET | Delete
He isn't a Flyer so the punishment will be much less harsh than it would with Downie...it's sad, but true. Good blog, JS. Hopefully Kovy eats a suspension for this.
January 23, 2008 11:02 AM ET | Delete
Suspension is in order for sure, but it's no where near as vicious and destructive as Downie's was IMO.
January 23, 2008 11:09 AM ET | Delete
The end result was not as destructive, as Downie's, I agree. But the intent and viciousness was every bit as bad as Downie's hit. My problem is Campbell. He said that the Downie suspension was going to be a benchmark and a new standard. So far, it hasn't been. Now that he has the chance to correct that, I hope he doesn't drop the ball.
January 23, 2008 11:11 AM ET | Delete
Heater, I see where you're coming from--Rosival wasn't KO'd. But, as JS pointed out, the criteria that Campbell himself laid out in the wake of the Downie hit have been met in this case. So, according to the league's own rhetoric, a significant suspension is warranted. I don't recommend anyone hold their breath until the same standard is applied here, though.
January 23, 2008 11:52 AM ET | Delete
Thing with this hit was less than a minute before Kovalchuk tried hitting Rosi, it was a fairly clean hit, I'm pretty sure his shoulder caught him up high, but it may have been his arm, I couldn't catch it from the replay..Maybe Rosi said something to Kovalchuk or it was merely an attempt to get the Trashers going with a big hit, though he was clearly out there to put a huge hit on Rosi
January 23, 2008 11:57 AM ET | Delete
NHL is "investigating" the hithttp://tsn.ca/nhl/news_story/?ID=227992
January 23, 2008 12:16 PM ET | Delete
I agree, the criteria is there for a long suspension, but comparing this to the Downie hit is a little too much (remembering Downie shooting himself like a missile at McAmmond). This hit is in the same realm as Jones on Bergeron. Again, this is just my humble opinion.
January 23, 2008 12:17 PM ET | Delete
If the targeted player didnt miss any time it will be hard to justify anything more than 2-3 games. He was coasting into the hit, not skating full out like downie. He barely left his feet and didnt do so until contact was made because he was coming over the top of a bent over Rozsival. It wasnt a late hit, you are allowed to hit a player until the next player touches the puck which was right beside him, well within the allowable time frame. Every D knows that if you just played the puck behind the net facing the boards, prepare to be hit. This was nothing more than a hit from behind with the proper penalty (5 and a game misconduct), not to be confused with what Downie did, this wasnt even in the same league, 3of4 points dont hold water to me and if Randy Jones only got 2 games with a worse hit then you know Kovalchuk wont get any more than that.
January 23, 2008 12:26 PM ET | Delete
It doesn't matter that Rozsival came back to play. That was a vicious hit from a player that is known to lose his cool. 5 games at least.
January 23, 2008 12:45 PM ET | Delete
BandW, you have obviously not seen the Jones hit. It was not worse than the Kovalchuk hit. Jones and Bergeron were going for the puck at teh same time, and Bergeron got there first and put his head down while stopping at the boards. Rozsival didn;'t have the puck, Kovalchuk left his feet, hit him from behind and in the head.
January 23, 2008 12:46 PM ET | Delete
Campbell is a joke so i wouldn't get my hopes up. And you're right about the media...first I heard of this was here in your blog. Good stuff. All wreckless hits like this should be punished without regard to the logo or name on the jeresy.
January 23, 2008 12:54 PM ET | Delete
Ahhh no, Gerz agrees with me...I must be wrong...LOL. Thanks for the comments, Gerz.
January 23, 2008 1:03 PM ET | Delete
Hahah...I just scuttled your credibility with other Flyer fans did I? Alright I'll take it back. String up the Flyers! They're evil and no one else is! Alberts and Bergeron are still out! Evil! lol
January 23, 2008 1:08 PM ET | Delete
LOL Gerz...too funny. I suppose we both need some cheering after our teams performances last evening.
January 23, 2008 1:15 PM ET | Delete
JS I have seen the Jones hit, much faster play and more dangerous, Bergeron was already moving fast and then had his head smashed into the boards. Roz for all intensive puposes was standing still and kovalchuk wasnt skating as fast as the Jones-Bergeron play. Less energy=Less injury. Rozsival just played the puck (koval chuck was 3 ft behind him), doesnt matter if he didnt have the puck it was a continuation of the play, it wasnt a late hit, do you play hockey? do you know the rules of hitting?. Again he didnt leave his feet going into the hit, his feet came up as a result of the hit becasue we was rolling off to the side of Rozsival otherwise you would have seen Kovalchuk go face first into the glass but it didnt happen. Look at the finish of the hit, ELBOW down - not hitting him in the head. I am not arguing it the hit was OK just your criteria and comparison to Downie. Dirty hit, YES = 2 games, fit 3 of 4 criteria, NO = not comparable to Downie. Where is all the media? I saw it all over TSN and Sportsnet, but it didnt involve a Canadian team so it isnt going to get the attention, where as the Downie puch did.
January 23, 2008 1:15 PM ET | Delete
Don't you just love losing in a landslide to your least favourite team? Those games are shaving hours off of my life...I know it...
January 23, 2008 2:03 PM ET | Delete
BandW: I played hockey for over ten years. The point is, the Jones hit was a continuation of the play, not a deliberate headshot. If you think his feet came up after the hit, all I can say is, you need to hit an eye doctor.
January 23, 2008 2:04 PM ET | Delete
definitely suspension worthy. But we all know Campbell wont do it to a superstar.
January 23, 2008 2:26 PM ET | Delete
Jsaq- If it weren't for the Canadian media (TSN.ca for one) I doubt Jones or Hartnell even get a suspension. Perhaps not even Cote. Point is, the whole thing snowballed
January 23, 2008 2:30 PM ET | Delete
We all know Rosi is one of the biggest divers in te NHL. Don't know how many times I've seen him lie on the ice like someone come in off 42nd street and popped him with a snipers rifle! Is Mark Chapman out?????????!!!!!!!
January 23, 2008 2:34 PM ET | Delete
Rozsy dive? LOL. If you said Avery, I'd agree.
January 23, 2008 2:34 PM ET | Delete
Luck that a player was not injured on a play = Discount of 7 to 10 games off your suspension
January 23, 2008 2:38 PM ET | Delete
wait for it Jsaq - i can see it now: "flyers team suspended for putting the idea of hitting from behind in Kovalchuk's head". when it comes down to it this hit is just as dangerous as the downie hit on mccammond. he deserves at least 10 games but will likely see 5 or less, and even that might be stretching it.
January 23, 2008 2:51 PM ET | Delete
JS, I never said anything about a Jones head shot, I said Kov hit was not a head shot as his elbow was down when he finished the hit and Rosival's head was into the glass from getting hit in the back. I never said his feet didnt come up after the hit, I said they were not up coming into the hit, they came up after contact was initiated. I'll go to the eye doctor if you learn to read and stop being a Downie homer.After the game Kovalchuk tried to explain the hit. "I just tried to finish my check, and he kind of turned right before I tried to hit him," he said.
January 23, 2008 2:53 PM ET | Delete
Uh, Downie's elbow was down, as well. Four Flyers have been suspended who also said, I was finishing my check. Kovalchuk left his feet to deliver the hit. Don't call somebody a homer then go and display tendacies of one yourself.
January 23, 2008 2:54 PM ET | Delete
Last I checked, actually, only one of the Flyers suspensions for head shots involved an elbow. So what does his elbow being down have to do with anything?
January 23, 2008 4:03 PM ET | Delete
Atlanta is a bust!.... I didn't even think that Childs Play CHUCKY was gonna get a penatly. He should get a suspension ...If he doesn't the Rangers have their own cop to handle him. Go get em Colt
January 23, 2008 4:28 PM ET | Delete
I agree JS. It should be 20 gms based on history and the "criteria". Campbell will give him the All Star discount and hand down 10 gms. It would take huuuuge huevos for Campbell to give him the 20 he deserves.
January 23, 2008 4:34 PM ET | Delete
Also, where are the better known bloggers and sports reporters? I see/hear silence on this one. Maybe they haven't seen it yet? I am guessing it is more of a case of cowardice or hypocrisy.
January 23, 2008 4:55 PM ET | Delete
Yeah. You could have told me this happened 10 minutes ago and I would have believed you. How did I miss this? Where is that hockey media when you need them? Oh, they're all in Toronto right now.
January 23, 2008 5:36 PM ET | Delete
Wow, there was a Sabres fan complaining about guys diving?
January 23, 2008 5:36 PM ET | Delete
Kovalchuk gets ONE game....what a joke.
January 23, 2008 6:33 PM ET | Delete
I like how a rangers fan commented earlier that the result of a hit shouldn't matter and that its how vicious it is that should warrent the penalty/suspension, well how about Straka's hit on Enstrom earlier in the season when Straka planted Enstrom face first into the boards. Straka had plenty of time not to just see Enstrom, but read his name and probably take note of the fans sitting behind the glass watching the game, but he didn't pull up and sent Toby facefirst into the boards, but was he ejected, was he suspensed, was the hit even looked at? Heck Straka didn't even get a MINOR PENALTY for it, why? because Toby was shaken up but still got up and returned, but it doesn't matter that the hit could have hurt him so badly he might still be out of the lineup today does it? Yea Kovalchuk's hit was dirty but IMHO 1-2 games suspension is justified, and the hit was an unfortunate sideffect of Kovy being the one of few players in Atlanta who care about winning. One last thing, after watching and pausing the video several times, it does look as though Rozival is facing away from the boards with his shoulder, not back, facing Kovalchuk when Kovalchuk is only about a stride away from Rozival, it does look like Rozival turned towards the boards at the last second. If we had access to slow-mo, frame by frame replay like NHL does the hit may not look as bad as it does on the real time replays.
January 23, 2008 6:44 PM ET | Delete
While this hit meets all the criteria, it really isn't nearly as dangerous or vicious as Downie's. But it's definitely worse than Jones', which really was simply an illegal yet unintentional bit of terrible misfortune. I think it's nice the league has guidelines, but they need to look at each infraction from a common sense view, if that's possible given the boys running the show. This is a suspendable hit in my opinion, but not in the category of Downie's.
January 23, 2008 6:45 PM ET | Delete
Games Suspended = (-.1 * Current Points) (-.6 * Years in NHL) (1.5 * Severity of the Injury on a 1 - 10 scale) (2 * Media Coverage on 1 -10 Scale)
January 23, 2008 6:46 PM ET | Delete
There is supposed to be plus signs in there too.
January 23, 2008 6:53 PM ET | Delete
Well, I had a rant... I'm not going to post the whole thing here, but you can check it out on my blog... http://my.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=4062
January 23, 2008 7:42 PM ET | Delete
One lousy game...guess the rules are different if your name is not Downie.
January 23, 2008 8:56 PM ET | Delete
Its almost on par with the downie hit and last time i checked barely leaving your feet is still leaving your feet.....1 game is a joke!!!!
January 23, 2008 9:47 PM ET | Delete
Wait let me do some quick math... Head shot left his feet late hit unsuspecting player (x) Philadelphia Flyers = 20 games. OK and Head shot left his feet late hit unsuspecting player (x) Atlanta Thrashers = 1 game. Wow, I think I need a new calculator. What a friggin joke!!!!!
January 23, 2008 10:32 PM ET | Delete
Colin Campbell is the biggest waste of skin I have ever seen. I'm kind of hoping he'll be the next Leafs GM. He messed up the NHL and he'll mess up the Leafs.
January 24, 2008 4:20 PM ET | Delete
JS, I see you deleted my last post you coward!
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