This is a bit old now, except for waiting another couple of hours to be sure he doesn't get suspended for tonight's game against Ottawa. But did anyone else quietly cheer when Alex Kovalev decked Ryan Hollweg on Sunday? I know it was a blatant elbow, and should probably have been a penalty. I also know it could have hurt Hollweg and that you don't want to see an influx of vigilante justice in the NHL.
But in this age of teams carrying "enforcers" to take umbrage on behalf of abused stars, it was great to see a skilled player stand up for himself. Kind of like watching Vinny Lecavalier or Jarome Iginla fight and win. Kovalev's elbow sent a message to those who will undoubtedly be using every trick, legal or otherwise, in the book to stop him as the stretch drive heats up. It said, cheap shot me and expect the same back. Coming from a star who's also six-foot-two and 210 pounds, it's a message a lot of players will think about before taking a shot at Kovalev.
And, as a Canadiens' fan, when the biggest criticism of my team is that it's small and soft, it made me smile to see one of the most talented Habs on the ice pound the snot out of a proven cheap-shot artist.
Of course the consequence of Kovalev's action was Hollweg's classless running of Sergei Kostitsyn shortly afterwards, which proves that when dealing with some of these cretins, discretion may in fact be the better part of valour.
Still, despite my nobler instincts, I had to cheer when Kovy pulled a Gordie Howe on Hollweg. Hit hard and don't get caught. It's not a strategy I'd advocate for frequent use. But as a way to put the idea of consequences in the heads of the league's more thick-skulled players, it only takes a couple of times.