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Ovechkin releases statement on suspension

Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals warms up prior to the game against the Florida Panthers on January 13, 2010 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Joel Auerbach/2010 Getty Images

Here's something you don't see every day - an official statement from a player after he receives a suspension. Here's Alex Ovechkin on his hit from behind:

"I am very sorry that Brian was injured and I hope he is able to return to his team soon. NHL hockey is a physical game. We all play hard every time we are on the ice and have battles each shift in every game we play so we can do our jobs and win. As players we must accept responsibility for our actions and I am no different but I did not intend to injure Brian and that is why I was disappointed with the NHL's decision yesterday. Every time I have the honor to play for my team, I will continue to do what I have done since I was taught to play. I will play hard, play with passion and play with respect for my teammates, opponents and fans. I look forward to returning to my team and doing everything I can to be the best player I can be."

Less than a half hour later, the Blackhawks released this statement on the severity of Brian Campbell's injuries this afternoon:

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Chicago Blackhawks Head Team Physician Dr. Michael Terry: "Brian Campbell suffered a clavicle fracture and a rib fracture on Sunday. He will likely avoid surgery and we anticipate a full recovery. He should be ready to play in approximately seven to eight weeks."

Seven to eight weeks is essentially mid-May, which is either the second or third round of the playoffs. Campbell has averaged 23 minutes a game this season and, despite being overpaid, is a big part of Chicago's defence core. This is something that significantly impacts the Blackhawks Stanley Cup chance, in my opinion.

As for Ovechkin's statement, I'll say this much: He's misinterpreting the reason for the suspension if he thinks it has anything to do with intent. I doubt anyone in the league views the hit as anything more than a mistake, but that doesn't change the fact that (a) he's now a repeat offender and (b) violent hits from behind should always be punished severely.

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