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Fight Club, Washington Chapter

If it seems like the Capitals have been fighting more often lately, you are correct.

I just did some math for a story that's going to run in tomorrow's paper. Consider this:

For the first five weeks of the season, they ranked at the bottom of the league in fighting majors with only three. Since then, they've racked up 16 for a total of 19, which is tied for third in the NHL with Phoenix. Only Anaheim (33) and St. Louis (22) have more.

The Capitals coaches and players say there has been no conscious effort to goon it up, to get tougher as a team. But the numbers clearly suggest something is going on.

This, of course, comes up because of tomorrow night's game in Atlanta. The last time the Southeast Division rivals met, there were 10 fighting majors, seven game misconducts, three suspensions and $40,000 in fines.

What do you think is going to happen? I'm guessing not much. The two points are simply too valuable these days.

Also, right wing Ricchard Zednik (groin) won't play this weekend, I'm told.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 14, 2006; 2:04 PM ET
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Next: Has Ovechkin Found Another Gear?


Well, I guess, toughening up and recent trends of W's might go hand in hand. BUT i was there this past Monday Against the PENS. they could have used some of that toughness to protect that IFFY 4 goal lead... Oh wait, 4 GOALS ARE A LOT!!! i think those are the kinda games u let slide and it could just totally do u in for the rest of the season. hopefully they can recover from it but if they are out of the playoffs because of 1 standing point at the end of the year... maybe they need to fight a little more.

Posted by: KIM | December 14, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I think the team will do what I can not do and thats leave the pens game behind us. I hope they do, I think Glen will have these boys fired up and ready to do what they can to beat atlanta.

Lets focus on atlanta....

Posted by: Go Skins Go | December 14, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I think Friday's game in Atlanta will be quiet -- after the suspensions and fines from last game, both teams know that the league will be watching Friday's tilt closely. Ya never know, of course, since one crazy hit could set them off again... but the pregame plan at least will be to avoid a Part II of the previous game.

Posted by: OrderedChaos | December 14, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if it's because we're getting big leads (or big deficits) recently. If the score's tight you might be less willing to drop the gloves to avoid the bonus instigator penalty.

For you conspiracy types, maybe Bettman realizes that we still love fighting and is secretly ordering teams to add a couple of fights here and there.

Posted by: tallbear | December 14, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse


But seriously, I think fighting is up because the Caps have a very young lineup and opposing teams are trying to take advantage of them. If the refs won't step in and stop players from trying to elbow Mike Green in the head, Donald Brashear is going to have to break someone else's face in half.

Posted by: zamboni | December 14, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Tarik - How severe is Zednik's injury? Has he been skating recently? Is 'week-to-week' going to turn into 'month-to-month'?

Posted by: zednik27 | December 14, 2006 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone else noticed that 55% of the goals are coming from four guys -- Ovie, Petty, Sasha 2 (Semin), Clarkie?

That strikes me as a high percentage. We need more goals from the others. Getting Zednik back and off the snide would be a boost.

Still, it would be nice to have more guys with 5 goals rather than just a couple (Laich, Klepis, Sutherby, Bradley, etc.)

I wonder what gives.

Maybe we have more temporary stints for the Fehrs, the Fleischmanns, the Fatas and all the developmental or trial guys.

Posted by: The Finisher | December 14, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

1. Old time hockey rules!!

2. I love this team because they stick up for each other and will fight. I HATED the Jager lead squad from a b4 the lock out, because they were all razel dazel and no teeth.

3. KIM is right lack of toughness is one of the reasons we lost the penns game

4. Tuffness is why we were able to beat the sabers.

5. The ducks will win it all because they are where we need to be. toughness and scoring with good d.

6. Anyone who is still reading this please go vote for ovie and godzilla!

Posted by: livinit | December 14, 2006 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Tarik...If I may, maybe a quick comment explaining the Steve Moore / Bertuzzi incident would help. It's mentioned in your article but I had to go to Goggle to figure it out.

And....I think it's shameful that Atlanta would use fighting to sell Hockey. Personally, toughness is fine, but "Flyer Goon Squad" taxtics are lame.

That being said, I would love to see a replay of the Bengt Gustaffson vs. Stan Johnathon (sp?) fight. Who said Swedes can't fight!

Posted by: Dezlboy | December 15, 2006 2:09 AM | Report abuse

I was shocked by the Post's coverage in today's paper. You must be gaining a lot more influence with your employers. I can't recall that much print space for a Cap's away game since the last time they were in the playoffs. Let's hope they don't lay an egg tonight. Good Job!

Posted by: Rincrt | December 15, 2006 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Tarik - GREAT article this morning - way to go!

Finisher - we have 4 (!) players with 10 or more goals - only 3 other teams do - BUF, ANA, and CAR. I think we are spreading them out pretty well!

I'm thinking there will be little or no fighting tonight. The first meeting after a huge throwdown is almost always a calm affair if you look at it historically.

Posted by: alpca3877 | December 15, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

To fight or not to fight! Instead how about seeing the Caps hold a lead. You mentioned it in your article but the root of all that stuff was the Caps blowing a 2-goal lead and losing (again) to the Thrashers. They need to beat them so the Thrashers doesn't start getting in their heads (if they aren't in there already).

Posted by: George Templeton | December 15, 2006 4:40 PM | Report abuse

To pick up on a previous thread, someone noted December was traditionally a month in which teams began to distance themselves from the pack. The pack is pretty big this year and with few exceptions that hasn't really happened yet, but it's worth noting that the points the Caps have earned over the last ten games put them in the same league with the Rangers and the Sabres (14 each) and the Thrashers (also 13), each of which is leading a division in the East. This week was another good learning experience for a rapidly growing young team, which blew a 4 goal lead at home and then won a very tough game in OT against a very skilled team in their barn after playing three periods of quality, team hockey. The news about Zed sure isn't good, and I wish him the absolute best in his recuperation, but if there's a bright side he may be in shape by the first round of the playoffs, AND there is a chance that we might need him then! After the last few seasons, finally having a team that realizes that every point counts and is worth fighting for is a joy.

Posted by: Fred | December 16, 2006 8:25 AM | Report abuse


Lets not get too ahead of ourselves with regards to "playoff" talk: We have not even passed the All-Star Break yet!

Nevertheless, whether they make the playoffs or not, anyone else think Hanlon deserves the Jack Adams Award for best coach because of what he has been able to get out of such a young, defensively-challenged squad?

Posted by: Dave | December 17, 2006 2:45 AM | Report abuse

Dave...depends on how Hanlon can get the team to finish past the All Star break...

Posted by: IJ | December 18, 2006 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Atlanta turned out to be tightly skated clean games and the CAPS beat them in OT! Than we outsked the sorry living in the past scum sucking FLYERS!! Yeah!!

Posted by: A Hardwick | December 18, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

good site

Posted by: [3!]realit | January 16, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

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