For sports fans, it’s a great time of year. We have the start of Major League Baseball, plus we’re in the midst of the NHL’s 2nd Season, the NBA Playoffs, and the PGA Tour is going full force. Unfortunately, there are spoilers out there. You know, the spoilers, the players or team affiliates giving their respective team or sport a black eye.
The Major Leagues seem to be suffering the worst. Just this week, Dodger slugger Manny Rameriz was suspended for 50 games for taking a banned substance (knowingly or unknowingly it hasn’t been determined). However, this is another bad mark on Baseball after the recent forthcoming of news of Yankee’s infielder Alex Rodriguez taking steroids.
Coram Deo has been a critic and disappointed with the illegal and/or banned steroid/druge/substance abuse in the game. However, that’s not what I want to focus on. I want to focus on the league’s themselves, especially after the NHL’s controversial play last night involving Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin and Penguins Assistant Captain Sergei Gonchar.
Give credit to the Major Leagues for suspending Manny for 50 games this season. I don’t care if he knowingly took a banned substance or not (we could go off on a tangent here about Bonds & others but ….). You’re being paid millions of dollars, please take some responsibility for what you’re taking into your body. The MLB has a list of banned substances, cross check the list, not that hard is it? If so, have your team trainer do it, or somebody else, or get a second opinion. So good for the MLB for not worrying about what player they were suspending, whether a star or not, kudos to them! Now, some will say he should be gone for life or nothing at all. That’s not my point in this post, it’s just the fact the MLB gave the suspension w/ disregard to the name on the back of the jersey.
So back to the Ovechkin – Gonchar knee-on-knee hit last night. Let me break it down for you, Gonchar went to play the puck, pushed it aside and did his best to side step a what would have been a legal body on body hit from Ovechkin. Problem is, Gonchar did one heck of a job of side-stepping ….. until Ovechkin stuck his knee out and slammed into Gonchar’s (which is illegal in all levels of hockey to the non-hockey rules familiar fan). To the refs credit, Ovechkin got 2 minutes. However, in my opinion, 2 minutes too little. The severity of that hit immediately deemed a 4 minute penalty. But I move on …. to the league now:
Watch any sports highlight show outside of Pittsburgh and every analyst says that because it was Ovechkin, he won’t be suspended. The man stuck his knee out, what do you think he was doing?! Here’s some hockey insight for you (I play, I know), when a player sticks their knee out, they’re trying to get a piece of the guy, doesn’t mean it’s right, and he got a piece of Gonchar, so much so that the man couldn’t skate off the ice under his own power! The league needs to take a page from the MLB’s rule book and suspend Ovechkin. However, I don’t think they will, they have less than 24 hours to make a ruling before the next game and Ovechkin is half the star credit the NHL has been building up w/ Crosby for this series. However, do they want some publicity? I’m thinking “yes”, so suspend him. Show all sport fans you mean business, show the players you won’t back down from cheap shots (unless their a “goon” the NHL has no problem giving suspensions), and make the Penguins – Capitals/Ovechkin – Crosby saga even better by suspending the Caps star for cheap shotting. If the Caps win without him, what does that do for the story line?! If they lose, doesn’t that boost Ovechkin’s name and increase the intensity of the saga? Not that I’m asking for a suspension just for the publicity, I’m not. I’m asking for a suspension because 1) it’s the right call and 2) I’m trying to point out the NHL’s fear of suspending a star player is unsubstantiated and moot.
So get it right NHL, take a page from MLB’s book and suspend Ovechkin, you’ll still have your intense game saga, don’t make your own cheap shot.