Did your parents ever tell you that everybody is equal?
"Yup, everyone is equal, son (or daughter).
That is, until that other kid comes along that's better than you. Then he'll be protected and babied like no other, and you've got to fend for yourself."
There's another good one too: People say appearance is everything and talk is cheap.
Well when Alexander Ovechkin says a word, it's not cheap. Nor is it when he makes an appearance. Hell, the man breathes and it's probably worth $2,000.
So what exactly is his hit on Brian Campbell worth?
What about...say...$439,024. Or four games worth of pay.
For Ovechkin, that's pocket change. For a Canadian family, that's just enough to attend a Toronto Maple Leafs game (with a nice tip for the parking attendant and maybe a box of Timbits on the way home).
For an American family....that's what? A Hummer (or H2/H4/H16...whatever they're up to now) and a week's worth of gas?
Four. That's the number of Nick Boynton—the man who gets called up by Chicago thanks to Brian Campbell missing the rest of the season due to a broken clavicle and ribs at the hands of Ovechkin.
Campbell would also be playing in his fifth playoffs but (as Chicago fans are hoping) it would have been his fourth playing in 15 or more games—meaning an extended run for the 'Hawks and their faithful in hopes of hoisting that all-important challis of Stanley.
The reason why four is the magic number here, is that it's the same amount of games given to Montreal Canadien Maxim Lapierre when he tried to use Scott Nichol's upper body to re-arrange the ad space on the end boards at the HP Pavilion.
Lapierre is no superstar, no award-winner, and no thirty, forty, or fifty goal scorer. Basically, he's Scott Nichol minus eleven years.
And he's French, but no one not named Don Cherry cares about that.
Then you look at Ovechkin. He IS a superstar. He may have an award named after him one day. He scores fifty goals asleep on his couch in front of (what I'm assuming) is a massive T.V.
And Brian Campbell ain't no scrub. A scrub ain't a guy who'll put up 45+ points from the blueline year-in, year-out.
Sidenote: For all of the women reading this and appreciating the TLC reference, you're welcome. For the men reading this, I'm sorry. We'll deal with my disappointments at the next clan meeting.
The point is, that there's really no difference between the two when you get down to it. Was Ovechkin's hit worse? Probably. In fact, if you consider the fact that Nichol missed just one game and Campbell's season and playoffs are in jeoprdy, the results make it worse, which hurts Mr. Russia more.
But to give Ovechkin a longer suspension than Lapierre is pointless, just as it is to give him a shorter one.
Say Ovie gets one or two games like he did earlier in the season. All the NHL is proving is that it's more careful in the handling of it's Superstars than it is anyone else.
For those with the talent, they see no problem. Those without it? Well...as the kids say: Epic fail.
The business strategy behind it is simple: "We (the NHL) can't lose Ovechkin for more than two games because the NHL misses out on all the revenue from that little absence and the popularity of the game in the United States, leaving the game in danger, forcing 12 markets to fold or move to Mexico and Alaska."
Ignore for the time being that we aren't talking about a season-long suspension. Or even double-digit games. We haven't even hit five yet and that would probably be the rationale.
But if Ovechkin were to be suspended for any of those time frames mentioned above, you come off as using your superstars to make an impact. Would it get the desired effect? Maybe, but you're also setting a precedent that means you have to follow up on it. Continually.
Not one of those: We'll suspend Pavel Datsyuk one game for missing the All-Star game but not Sidney Crosby. No. If Ovie goes for five, then Parise, Staal, Thornton, Crosby, Getzlaf, Kovalchuk, and Pronger (oops....uh....I mean...uh....the Sedins) get the same if they try something like that.
And of course, that raises the bar for the pluggers too.
But so long as it's all equal right? Like we were taught.
It's time for the NHL to prove it. Campbell=Nichol. Ovechkin=Lapierre. Four games=Four games.
Bryan Thiel is a Senior Writer and NHL Community Leader for Bleacher Report. Find out if BT really knows what a Twitter is at http://twitter.com/BT_88 or contact him through e-mail at email@example.com. Also, check out Hockey54.com—The Face of the Game! and BT's archives .
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