Well, according the rule book, anyway. It's supposed to be automatic and there should be no way around it.
23.5 Fines and Suspensions - Stick Infractions, Boarding and Checking from Behind Category - In regular League games, any player or goalkeeper who incurs a total of two (2) game misconduct penalties for stick-related infractions, Boarding - Rule 42, or Checking from Behind - Rule 44, shall be suspended automatically for the next League game of his team. For each subsequent game misconduct penalty, the automatic suspension shall be increased by one game.
Sunday, Ovie checked 'Hawks defenseman Brian Campbell into the boards in a nasty hit that earned him a 5-minute major and a game misconduct, his third this season. Here's a video of the hit:
Of course, because it's Alexander Ovechkin, people all over are defending him, saying it's "hockey." On the other side of the ring, because of the Matt Cooke incident, people all over are calling for his head (no pun intended). It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. Regardless, according to the rules, it has to be a minimum of a one-game suspension given Ovie's previous infractions since October: two game misconducts, three penalties for checking from behind (leads NHL) and a boarding penalty.
Nice poster boy for the league, huh? I vote we replace him with Duchene. Crosby for the East, Matt for the West. Someone call Bettman stat.
UPDATE: Apparently, Alex timed his douchebagery perfectly...Rule 23.5 also says...
When a player or goalkeeper has played in 41 consecutive regular League games without being assessed a boarding and/or a checking from behind major and a game misconduct according to Rules 42 and 44, he will have the previous game misconduct penalties removed from his current record. They will remain part of his historical record.
Sunday's game was Ovechkin's 42nd since the previous hit. Congrats, Mr. Bettman. You can stop sweating now.
UPDATE 2: Rule states 41 consecutive regular League games for the player...looks like Ovie may only have had 40, while the Caps had 42. The drama continues...
UPDATE 3: It's confirmed that Brian Campbell DID suffer a broken clavicle. He's out for the rest of the season and probably into the postseason. Ovechkin faces a disciplinary hearing today. I'm sure this news will come into play.