Jonathan Toews said suspending a star such as the Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin for his hit on Toews' Chicago Blackhawks teammate Brian Campbell sends a message throughout the NHL.
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"It's not fun to see [Campbell] out and taking the losing end of a hit like that," Toews said on Monday during a visit to the SportsCenter set in Los Angeles with teammate Patrick Kane. "I have a lot of respect for a guy like Ovechkin, but if you make an example with a player like him it sends a message to the players across the league to be a little bit smarter in situations like that."
Ovechkin was ejected from the nationally televised game for pushing Campbell from behind into the boards in the first period and received a major penalty and a game misconduct. The Blackhawks announced on Tuesday that Campbell has a fractured clavicle and a fractured rib and will miss seven to eight weeks.
The NHL on Monday suspended Ovechkin, a two-time MVP, for two games.
Kane agreed with the suspension and wondered if could have been longer.
"I don't know if he maybe should have got a couple more games," Kane said. "We're in a position where we're going to be missing a defensman for a long time, and it's not really good on our club. I thought the hit overall, I wouldn't say was a dirty hit; it was just an unnecessary hit where he put Campbell in a bad situation, and it's a tough loss for us."
Now the Blackhawks will have to move on without Campbell, but Toews said it's an absence that can't derail their season.
"[Campbell's] definitely a key player for us and a great guy in the locker room and a heck of a defenseman," Toews said. "It hurts our depth, but we've battled a few injuries all year. Some of our key players have been out, and we've found ways to win so we have to adapt and not let it be an excuse."
The Blackhawks play the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday.