Caps React To Fine, Suspensions
Capitals veteran Donald Brashear, speaking for the first time since being suspended three games for his role in Wednesday's brawl with the Atlanta Thrashers, was unapologetic after today's pregame skate at Verizon Center.
"What do you want me to say? I haven't really thought about it yet. And I don't really care," he said. "That's the rules they made. And if you don't play by the rules, that's what happens. It's an automatic penalty. There's nothing you can say to change it."
Asked if the suspension, which is without pay, would cause him to consider the consequences before taking action in the future, the hulking enforcer said: "That's my job. I do what I think is best for my team."
The hostilities began after Atlanta defenseman Andy Sutton, a player with a history of dirty play, went after Washington rookie Mike Green's head late in the third period of the Thrashers' 4-2 victory. Earlier in the period, another player, Vitaly Vishnevski, attempted cheap shot on Green.
Brashear had apparently seen enough and pounded Vishnevski, opening a cut on the defenseman's head.
Four more fights ensued.
Capitals' veteran Brian Sutherby was also suspended for one game without pay. Both Brashear and Sutherby were assessed instigator penalties in the game's final five minutes, so according to NHL rules, they were suspended automatically.
Brashear's punishment was longer because he is a repeat offender.
"I'm not happy about it," Sutherby said. "The way our team responded and the things we did were warranted. I wouldn't take it back for anything."
"You think about [the possibility of a suspension] if it's something selfish or if you have time to think about it," he added.
"But it was a situation where we thought we were being taken advantage of a little bit. So there was no holding back. We were going to stick up for one another. The league wants to try to prohibit that, but there are times in hockey--and in all sports--where emotions are going to fly and take over."
The suspension is the first of Sutherby's NHL career. But he did miss "about seven or eight games" games for various infractions as a junior, he said.
Coach Glen Hanlon, meantime, didn't have much to say about the record $30,000 he was fined. It was also automatic.
"It's something that the league is trying to avoid, so it sends a pretty strong message," Hanlon said. "Rules are rules and they are written there."
Atlanta Coach Bob Hartley was fined $10,000 and Thrashers captain Scott Mellanby was suspended a game.
Teams are prohibited from paying the fines for players or coaches, and I'm told the league makes sure it doesn't happen.
On an unrelated note, Hanlon said he expects left wing Alexander Semin to return Saturday from injured reserve. He's been out a week with a shoulder injury.
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