Deep down, the Capitals figured Alex Ovecvhkin would be suspended for leaving his feet to deliver a check on Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh.
But if Ovechkin deserved three games for his big hit, they wondered, why did Michalek get off scot-free for ramming Matt Hendricks head into the glass just a few minutes later?
You can explain the one, Capitals center Jeff Halpern said of Brendan Shanahans video explanation of the suspension he gave Ovechkin. But there are a lot of other ones you dont get an explanation for, so I dont know how much that helps.
It looked like an elbow to Hendys head, so I dont understand where the difference is. Is it because Ovis a repeat offender? A hit to the head is still a hit to the head.
Hendricks was equally miffed at what many Capitals saw as a double standard.
I just know the position I was in when I took the hit, Hendricks said. I was in a pretty vulnerable spot as well.
We have our theories as to why there wasnt another suspension (on Michalek), defenseman Karl Alzner said, but we dont make those calls. You just have to forget about it and not worry about it because theres nothing we can do.
Asked to elaborate on those theories, Alzner smiled.
We shouldnt say, he said.
With Ovechkin suspended for tonights game against the Bruins, as well as divisional road games next week against the Lightning and Panthers and with Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green likely to miss all three games as well -- the Capitals said theyll turn to a more workmanlike approach, relying more on dump-and-chase hockey than flash and dash.
Youre going to see more of a gritty style of hockey, more blue-collar type of play, a lot of third- and fourth-line hockey, Hendricks said. We can be productive doing that, its just not going to be as pretty without those guys o the ice.
Hendricks said there is nothing he can do about the suspension given to Ovechkin nor the one not given to Michalek. But he acknowledged it wont be easy replacing the Caps leading scorer.
We lose our captain, we lose our leader, our offensive threat, Hendricks said. All the intangibles he brings to this team were going to miss. But well get bits and pieces from other guys and give them opportunities to get some points.