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Wednesday Update and Fight Story Preview

No Caps Practice
After last night's emotional (and physically draining) 2-1 overtime win in Nashville, Coach Bruce Boudreau called off practice today.

Fight Story
I'm working on a story about the future of fighting in hockey for tomorrow's Post. As many of you have read in recent days, fighting was the hot topic at the General Manager meetings this week in Naples, Fla., and after what happened last night against the Predators, I figured now is a good time to write about it.

In an interview with Caps GM George McPhee moments ago, he told me that several issues were addressed, including: 1) the need to eradicate "staged fighting" from the game 2) the need to eliminate fighting in response to a clean body check 3) and the need for stricter enforcement of the instigator penalty.

McPhee said that the GMs also discussed banning players removing their helmets for fights, but that matter will require further discussion.

"The consensus was that the players and the managers are comfortable with where our game is and the role fights have in our game," said McPhee, who was on the sub-committee dealing with the issue of curbing certain types of fights. "Often times, it prevents worse things from happening in our sport. You can't run out of bounds in hockey. That said, there are trends that appear from time to time that need to be addressed."

If the GMs get their way, two of last night's fights would have drawn additional penalty minutes. Matt Bradley and Jordin Tootoo each would have received a 10 minute misconduct in addition to the five minutes for fighting they were assessed. Wade Belak, meantime, would have received an additional two minutes for instigating in his dust-up with John Erskine, who pretty much was jumped.

The hope is that the additional minutes in the box will serve as a deterrent, especially for players who don't get much ice time to begin with.

The GMs will send their recommendations to the competition committee and eventually they will be presented to the Board of Governors. McPhee said he expects the recommendations to receive approval from the BOG and the new rules to take effect next season.

I'll have much more on this in tomorrow's paper.

Caps Injury Update
LW Donald Brashear, one night after suffering a sprained knee while getting dropped by straight left from Belak, is questionable for tomorrow's game, Boudreau said. If Brashear's knee doesn't improve, though, the Caps will have to make a call-up. Boudreau said that decision won't be made until later today or tomorrow.

Flyers Injury Update
C Danny Briere will face the Caps tomorrow after his most recent bout with a nagging groin injury. Enforcer Riley Cote (upper body) also told me that he's ready to go.

Starting Goalies
I won't know for sure about Washington's goalie until tomorrow morning, but it will likely be Jose Theodore. The Flyers, meantime, plan to use Marty Biron, according to Coach John Stevens.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  March 11, 2009; 1:39 PM ET
 
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Comments

Go Caps! Thx for the update, Tarik.

Posted by: usiel3 | March 11, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Well, Niittymaki has our number this season so I'll be happy enough to see Biron. It's going to be brawl if the Caps want to win this one.

Posted by: saintex | March 11, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

This is my problem with this proposed rule. Why would Bradley/Tootoo get an extra 10 for a "staged" fight, when Brashear and Belak started right off a draw as well. The whole idea of distinguishing staged from spontaneous is a joke.

As for the instigator, it can work if applied correctly. Look at last night's Stars game. Clean hit (maybe borderline run), led to Sutherby jumping a guy. Result: extra penalties. Think back to the Calgary game where Sloan got jumped after a clean hit. I think they had a seven or nine minute power play after that.

For what its worth, I'm not sure Belak/Erskine qualifies. Its close, and reasonable minds can differ, but Erskine looked pretty willing to me.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | March 11, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

what's the latest on Simeon Varlamov? I was really impressed with his few starts this season and I know he has much more experience compared to Neuvirth but I haven't heard much about him. I want to see him be Theodore's back-up (and eventual replacement!).

Posted by: jkallen001 | March 11, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Man it feels pretty vulnerable without Brash going into tomorrow's game. Nashville showed just how hard teams are playing us right now and tomorrow should be a whopper!

Posted by: broud0 | March 11, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

if you make the penalty for staged fighting 10 minutes, that will just encourage players whose only purpose is to fight, like the Flyer's Cote. Whereas Brash plays around 10 minutes a game, Cote only plays 2. So a team could afford to have Cote in the box for 10 mins but not as much Brash, or other fighters who also play real minutes.

I am all in favor of stricter rules for fighting when there's a clean check though, that's just not classy.

Posted by: ralph4100 | March 11, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Belak has always given Brashear a hard time. Seeing Brashear get knocked out was rough.

Posted by: CapitalIdea | March 11, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

please use Biron, philthy. Nittymaki for some reason has our number...

Posted by: sargeantmofo | March 11, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Staged fights are demeaning to the sport and need to be stopped. If you can get the basically traditional thinking GM's to agree, than that's enough for me.
If Brashear does not want to cooperate in a staged fight with some other goon to just get him off the ice he doesn't have to. If the goon attacks him, then we will take the extra 2 min.

Posted by: OldFan | March 11, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

@oldtimehockey,

I think the instigator needs to really be enforced even if the rest of the junk gets changed. Another obvious example was the Jurcina / Cooke set to on Sunday. A good, clean, powerful hit by Milan with no penalty called. The only reason played was stopped was because the glass came loose. Also, the only reason Cooke had time to gather his sense, think for a few seconds, and then go after Milan. And they both get 2m for roughing? It was stupid. Cooke should have gotten additional time and it wasn't even an issue of not seeing what happened - the entire scene unfolding with a stoppage in play. If they aren't going to punish instigators in that situation than any rule is idiotic.

Posted by: saintex | March 11, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

If Brashear does not want to cooperate in a staged fight with some other goon to just get him off the ice he doesn't have to. If the goon attacks him, then we will take the extra 2 min.

Posted by: OldFan | March 11, 2009 2:21 PM

you can say no....

i agree with you though, staged fights are stupid.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"the need for stricter enforcement of instigator penalty."

Hear fraking hear. Bring back the 2, 5 and game, I say.

Posted by: Section117 | March 11, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

brash 8, cote 4, average min. per game

Posted by: sporttraveler | March 11, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

get rid of the instigator and fights will go back to serving what it needs to serve.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

i think staged fights should be allowed, but only at presignated times. for example, at the end of the first period. there is a 1 minute window for any player to step into the center circle and duke it out with one guy on the other team. they go till the zamboni's have to come out on the ice. this way, anyone in the crowd who doesnt like fighting can go take a potty break. maybe slapshot can be one of the linesman who break it up. as much as i like the mites on ice, i'd stay for the main event.

perhaps add a rule that if a guy on one team steps in the circle to go, and no one on the other team steps up, then that team gets a two minute penalty for "lack of roughing" or "boreding".

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | March 11, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Do they have to call up someone to replace Brash's toughness or is Nylander not able to play?

If they use the emergency call-up do they have to call up a forward?

Posted by: Kim-3 | March 11, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I LOVE the Mites on Ice - it's the single best entertainment provided at home games and that includes the videos, quizzes, and Red Rockers. I think they should fight during Mites on Ice; what are the chances the Mites actually need the center circle?

(Actually, I think there's one Red Rocker who's a total hammer. I'll have to look her up...)

Posted by: saintex | March 11, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

@dcsportsfan1

Excellent idea. I'd also add that it would be easier for Zamboni to clean the blood.

Posted by: fnralch | March 11, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

dcsportsfan

Love the idea. LOVE IT.

I'm not a fan of curbing the staged fights. They are there as motivation factors for both teams. Would we have given McLearen a 10 min for his "staged" fight with Cindy?

Also, about the check by Juice vs. Pitt. It was Kennedy he took into the boards, but I agree, 44 should have gotten extra time compared to Juice, who shouldn't have gotten any. He practically hugged the guy and got 2 min for roughing.

Posted by: FFSEnough | March 11, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

That should actually read or is Nylander also not able to play (in other words will they be down two forwards if Brash is out tomorrow).

Also, I guess my question about the emergency call-up has more to do with whether or not the call up has to actually replace the player injured or just add to the roster. Do they have to go back down once the player is healed?

Posted by: Kim-3 | March 11, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Cooke spun around, saw it was Jurcina and did not get too involved in the situation. Maybe it was because Cooke has seen Jurcina in the weight room.

Posted by: Kim-3 | March 11, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I think that if the Caps hustle and play their game, not Philthy's game, they will draw a ton of penalties. Even if Philthy's pk is a danger, keeping the Flowers on their heals will help the Caps win. The Caps PP is plenty dangerous. If the Caps keep their legs churning, they will be held, hooked, interfered with and generally frustrate the Flowers

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | March 11, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I bet it'll be Nittymaki, their coach is trying to be sly.

Posted by: vsmartin007 | March 11, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I still worry about the PP for the Caps v. the Flyer PK - we saw what happened at Verizon last game: every time we looked it it was 2-v-1 or a breakaway when the Flyers are short-handed. The points cannot pinch down against these guys or Carter and The Mullet will make us pay. Every team in the league is doing the same thing vs. our PP and we've got to put an end to it - the Flyers are way too good short-handed to give one away.

Thanks for the update on the Milan tussle - I thought it was Cooke. I was livid at that call.

Adriana. That's the one.

Posted by: saintex | March 11, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

saintex: you're exactly right.. and then at the end of the third we somehow got the extra minor when there was the typical pushing and shoving at the end of the play.

The problem is not the rules, or their implementation.

The problem is that the NHL needs a better program for grooming, training, and disciplining officials in an effort to get more accurate and consistent calls.

Posted by: notfadeaway | March 11, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

What's the deal with the one male Red Rocker? Does anyone else think that's weird?

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 11, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

It is very funny that they added the instigator penalty, which forced players to fight at a 100% clearly agreed-upon time...

and now they're upset about the fights right after the faceoff.

Idiocy, or all part of a long-range plan to eliminate fighting altogether.

Posted by: notfadeaway | March 11, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Two comments on the fighting issue:

1) the 'staged' fights arose due to fear of the enforcement of the instigator rule. The players sign off, acknowledge they're ready to go, and avoid the BS instigator penalty. The guys who engage in these type of fights don't want to put their respective teams at a disadvantage, so they figured out a 'work around' of the rules, just as they will if indeed the Competition Committee/NHLPA signs off on the recommendatiosn the GMs have made.

2) refs/the League can/will never be able to control head shots, hits from behind, nasty stick work, etc. until they are ready to hand out 20 game suspensions ALL THE TIME for horrific conduct. There is no real will to adequately punish the guys who feel free to act in a violent and dangerous manner (Ryan Hollweg comes to mind).

As such, enforcers need to have the ability to do what their job title describes. The League legislated bench clearing brawls outta the game, and instituted the '3rd man in' rule to ensure that isolated fights wouldn't spread and get outta control. I don't necessarily have problems with those attempts to clean-up the game. However, until the League can guarantee the safety of players by making a stand against especially violent and dangerous acts, especially by repeat offenders, then a proven deterrent needs to continue to exist.

The further reduction of fighting, or it's inevitable abolishment, will make the game less, not more, safe. What's the League gonna do to some guy on a two-way contract AFTER he crumples Ovie into the boards and breaks his neck? The fear of repercussions is sometimes enough to keep a guy from making a questionable play. Remove that fear and see how many more guys gets severe, and potentially career ending (life ending?), injuries from scrub, gutless players who would never act in such a manner if they knew they could expect immediate retaliation and swift justice.

Not sayin' we should return to the days of the Big Bad Bruins and Broad Street Bullies, just sayin' the League needs to walk the walk if they're so concerned about violence, ALL forms of violence, in the game.

Thoughts?

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | March 11, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

As someone who like the pure game of hockey, I think all fighters should be kicked out of the game. You want to serve stage fighting (or dancing) on ice? Then have the goons come out between periods and have their bouts then.

Posted by: opita1 | March 11, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

@capsfan26,

A little weird but he's got some quality co-workers. As it is, nice move on his part.

Posted by: saintex | March 11, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS

I agree. I don't know why there is this idea that we have to keep meeting the Fillers style of play.

Posted by: cappies | March 11, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Re the Jurcina/Cooke incident: I think Juice threw some extra love Cooke's way, so they got the retaliation and the further retaliation, but not the initial hit. That kind of stuff is kind of spontaneous and isn't really an instigator deal. If player 1 hits player 2 and player 2 wants to do something chippy back, that's more emotion than instigation. Instigation is when Player 1 hits player 2 and player 3 (and maybe 4 5 and 6) decide to jump player 1. That crap has gotta go. But there still needs to be fighting to prevent Player 1 from taking a borderline run on player 2 to provoke a response. Players do a pretty good job of sorting this out on thier own.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | March 11, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Instead of shootouts, there should be staged fights!

j/k, I don't like fights.

Posted by: rw-c | March 11, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if I can stand watching Danny "Pasty Face" Briere tomorrow. Maybe if I'm properly "medicated".

Posted by: Bartolo1 | March 11, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Ugh, I hate Briere. He's almost as whiny as Cindy. And I will never, ever forgive him for spearing Ovie. Jerk.

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 11, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I think if two players agree to fight they should have to put those big sumo wrestling suits on and go at it. Either that or extra large inflatable boxing gloves.

Posted by: cappies | March 11, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and just in case anyone needs a refresher, this is what can happen when your main enforcer has already been tossed from the game due to an earlier altercation (Caps/Rags from a coupla years back...

Colton Orr (is still) a punk:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07lzWueATqw

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | March 11, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

there's no need for fighting in hockey. there is want for fighting in hockey.

want to protect the players? mandate cages. want to eliminate stick swinging and dangerous boarding? make it a 20-game unpaid suspension. want to eliminate staged fights? do the same.

i'm not saying i agree one way or the other, but there is no NEED to have fighting in hockey.

Posted by: bottomfeeders10 | March 11, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I think the fighting's gone far afield from its 'place in the game'. Brashear dancing with the other team's DH, after their 2nd line center hi-sticked Ovechkin, was just silly. Take it up with the transgressor or go after -their- star.
The other garbage is easily addressed: An injury-causing foul gets you suspended *for as long as your 'victim' is out*, plus 5 games. Second such infraction 10; then 20, till you get the hint or a new job.

Posted by: redlineblue | March 11, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

metal,
perfect example of why brash is valuable and why i think if he can't go tomorrow, something similar can/will happen. brash gets tossed and orr goes after ovie.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | March 11, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Tarik -- Why don't the GMs get with the program and ban fighting altogether. Any player who drops his gloves and squares off should be ejected from the game -- no ifs, ands or buts. That's the way it is in all other professional sports -- pro football players are no models of good behavior but I can't imagine them throwing off their helmets and duking it out on the 50-yard line. The era of the Backstreet bullies is gone. Hockey is now a family game. If the GMs want nice families from the suburbs to continue filling the house at their family 4-pack events, they will stop the fighting nonsense. I was watching the Caps game last night with my 12, 10 and 6 year-olds and when we saw Bradley's bloody nose (which appeared to be broken) we turned the game off and went to bed.

Posted by: YFM1 | March 11, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"Belak has always given Brashear a hard time. Seeing Brashear get knocked out was rough."

That was the most brutal fight I've seen a Cap in since Yvon Corriveau got his nose busted by Kris King and bleed about a gallon of blood out on the ice. Like I said in another thread, if you're a fighter eventually you are going to get tagged. It could have easily been Belak going to the ice. After several years as a top enforcer Brashear finally got tagged.

Posted by: FLDave | March 11, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

My only problem with banning fighting would be that we would never again see Semin play his bongos, or Crosby fight like the girl he is. Those are two of the best fights I have seen in years. My Daughter and I were in tears laughing at that, and that is entertainement you cannot find in any other sport

Posted by: Leeguru | March 11, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I can take the fighting or leave it, but I will say, those few games John Kordic played with us back in the day were pretty darn exciting. I remember one game where he and Alan May were both fighting at the same time, back-to-back, and both kicked the butts of their respective opponents. Great stuff.

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 11, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"Why don't the GMs get with the program and ban fighting altogether. Any player who drops his gloves and squares off should be ejected from the game -- no ifs, ands or buts"

They know attendance will go down 80%...

Posted by: FLDave | March 11, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Aw, poor Semin and the bongos... no matter how great a career he has, he is never going to live that down!

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 11, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

was there some sort of big injury, etc that I missed? Why all of a sudden is this such a huge topic through the league? The most brutal things I've seen on the ice have been injuries from skate blades. Next thing you know it will be street hockey. Of course with a ball because pucks are dangerous too.

Posted by: cappies | March 11, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Expect Hartnell to set up a lawn-chair in the crease tomorrow. Erskine, and Juice need to be big bodies on him, and get him out.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 11, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Here is a good link that calculates all of the NHL teams chances of making the playoffs, pretty cool stuff. This program runs millions of simulations based on past results, upcomming schedules, etc.. It even lists the biggest games of each night and the potential impact on theirs and others playoff chances. By the way the Caps are at 100% to make the playoffs.

http://www.sportsclubstats.com/NHL/Eastern.html

Posted by: Kevin9149 | March 11, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I hope its short live plan to eliminate the fighting. How many good fights are there anyway most of the time the WWE has better action. Hockey put up nets so fans don t get injured. But the players don t get the same consideration. It should only take one death to change things!

Posted by: sporttraveler | March 11, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

gonna have to disagree with all of the folk here who are anti-fight. according to your logic, checking will be the next to go. sorry, leave hockey alone!!!! Bettman and his ilk have already done enough tinkering.

Posted by: doughless | March 11, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I have always wondered how fights start immediately after faceoffs. How do two players, who have not had contact for at least a minute or two, suddenly decide to fight? This has to be a whispered agreement or a "staged fight". I'd like to see that addressed in the article.

Posted by: MKadyman | March 11, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Brashear's been KOd a few times.

not a big deal, he is still the best enforcer ever.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

@ Cappies

Don Saunders died after his head hit the ice after his helmet was knocked off

http://www.thespec.com/News/BreakingNews/article/489744

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | March 11, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

TEB,

Make sure you write about EVERY player's reaction after a fight.

Make sure you write about how the 2 fights inspired players like Green to throw some hits last night.

Eliminate the instigator and let them police themselves, otherwise enjoy the Euro tennis match.

Posted by: Cheef | March 11, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

without those fights last night would the rest of the team played the way did? (That is why BB was yelling at the team after Bradley was bloodied.) "Don't let those sacrifices be for naught." And they didn't. It lit a spark.

Posted by: cappies | March 11, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I have always wondered how fights start immediately after faceoffs. How do two players, who have not had contact for at least a minute or two, suddenly decide to fight? This has to be a whispered agreement or a "staged fight". I'd like to see that addressed in the article.

Posted by: MKadyman | March 11, 2009 3:40 PM

one asks the other if they want to go. fights like these are what people are referring to when they say staged fights.....

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Gordie Howe as the best enforcer ever -- he could knock your teeth out (even as late as playing with his son) and score a hat trick, Gordie Howe or tradtional

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | March 11, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS

Thanks a bunch. I couldn't find that anyware on NHL.com.

Posted by: cappies | March 11, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Wait, everyone is all hyped up on uber-violent ultimate fighting, but we should take boxing out of hockey? Now? When violence is at its entertainment value peak? That would be really smart, huh? Bettman is still trying to sell the game to hockey moms. Washington has brashear on their team. It hasn't kept people from showing up when they're winning, has it?

Take out the instigator rule or there are going to be a lot more extreme cheap shots. There is no code anymore amongst the young hip hop generations, Canadian farm boys or not.

I understand not wanting your kids to watch Bradley bleeding, but thats a mom concern and not a dad one. THis is a violent world; its in the cartoons that parents stick there kids in front of, its in the video games they play. Its in the wars we promote with muper stickers. If fighting in hockey is too much, priorities are out of whack, i think.

Posted by: oo7 | March 11, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

anywhere that is

Posted by: cappies | March 11, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

@ cappies -- no worries, like the Mountain West accent anywha

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | March 11, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

like i said: Bettman has already tinkered too much.

Posted by: doughless | March 11, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

just because you fight doesnt mean you are an enforcer. I was clearly talking about the more modern role player enforcer.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

@ richmondphil -- Gordie loved a good fight as much as a good goal and he played the role of enforcer, esp. when he protected his kids on the ice, similar to signing Brash to protect the young guns by retalitating anyone who f'ed with Backs, OV, Semin

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | March 11, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

instigator rule is stupid.

take it out and fighting will go back to what it served.

if your star gets ran, then you deal with it right there or your next shift and you deal with the guy who took the run, not the other teams goon. you dont wait until your goons are on the ice to skate in circles for 30 minutes.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't say every immediate post-faceoff fight is staged. Sometiems guys have been chripping all game. "I hate you" "No, I hate you." "You're mother is ugly" "You're mother is uglier" "I can kick you to the far side of the moon" "No you can't pansy!" sort of stuff.

1997, I think (I don't think it was the 1998 fight) between the Avalanche and the Red Wings is an example of this. Guys were hurling themselves at each other the moment the puck was dropped. Those teams hated each other, like Shannahan probably wanted to take a knife to Roy's leg and cut his hamstring or something. You could feel the hate coming through the TV.

Staged, to me, is far more of the "Hey, wanna fight?" "No man, just play." "NO, really let's fight!" (eye rolling) "Ok, fine."

Posted by: RedBirdie | March 11, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Don't ever use Brashear and Mr. Hockey in the same sentence again.

Posted by: Cheef | March 11, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

The death of Canadian adult league player Don Sanderson as a result of hitting his head on the ice during a fight has re-focused attention on the subject of fighting in all levels of hockey. Here's a good piece on that tragedy written by Bob Mckenzie:

http://www.tsn.ca/columnists/bob_mckenzie/?id=261642&lid=sublink08&lpos=headlines_columnists-bob_mckenzie

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | March 11, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

The instigator rule should be abolished.

Posted by: poguesmahone | March 11, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

BTW, Mr. Hockey was not known for fighting, he was known to be the dirtiest player to never get caught.
All while scoring, true talent.

Posted by: Cheef | March 11, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Those teams hated each other, like Shannahan probably wanted to take a knife to Roy's leg and cut his hamstring or something. You could feel the hate coming through the TV

Posted by: RedBirdie | March 11, 2009 3:53 PM

THAT is TRUE. They hated each other. Great rivalry. It aint like that anymore, unfforunately. Those were great games. Forsberg was gone to soon.

Posted by: oo7 | March 11, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

If Brash is hurt, they should call up someone who can fight. You know the Flyers are going to goon it up against us, especially without Brashear.

Posted by: TheSkyIsntFalling | March 11, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

If you don't like fighting I would suggest watching college hockey. Don't mess with the greatest league in the world. Bettman has done enough damage already.

Posted by: FLDave | March 11, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Did you know Gordie Howe only ever had one "Gordie Howe" hat trick?

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 11, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

we'll be fine without Brash. Giving in to the goonery (is that a word?) is just showing that we're intimidated and we need to stick to our game. Let the refs handle the rest. We act like the Flyers are out destroying people every night and that's a misconception. Erskine, Gordon and Brads are there in case.

Posted by: cappies | March 11, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

He actually had two, but he still fought a lot early in his career.

I'm sure JIMALLCAPS knew I was talking about the role player enforcer and just wanted to throw Howe out there.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

There should be penalties for not fighting someone when they want to "have a go."

I can think of a few occasions Scott Hartnell would of been put in the box for "tucking an running."

Posted by: SA-Town | March 11, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Sorry hockey fans, but why are you rationalizing fighting in hockey but condemn the same bad behavior in other sports such as the NFL, NBA and MLB? A NBA players should get suspended for fighting or even coming off the bench to protect a fellow player but NHL guys get a few minutes in the penalty box like time out? As a matter of fact you want to see guys like Ocho Cinco and T.O punished more for having too much mouth than you advocate NHL players for fighting. Whats up with that? Its Ok for goons to be goons but not for thugs to be thugs huh? Depends on the league I guess.

Posted by: ged0386 | March 11, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

what's the latest on Simeon Varlamov? I was really impressed with his few starts this season and I know he has much more experience compared to Neuvirth but I haven't heard much about him. I want to see him be Theodore's back-up (and eventual replacement!).

Posted by: jkallen001 | March 11, 2009 2:11 PM
---------------------
Varly will be in goal for the Bears tonight. And since the Caps are off tonight, I wouldn't be too surprised if GMGM is there watching Varly and Pothier to check on their progress.

Posted by: tess2201 | March 11, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Brashear's been KOd a few times.

not a big deal, he is still the best enforcer ever.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 3:40 PM

Who else KOd Brash? Im almost certain that last night was the first time Brashear has been KOd in his career. Ive seen his fights with Probert, McSorley, Domi etc, and he never lost that decisively.

Posted by: thegr8one | March 11, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

GED:

if you haven't realized, hockey IS NOT those other sports. Fighting has been there since the start and served a useful purpose. Bettman is mucking it up with all of the rule changes. i like the NHL the way it is. If you dont, watch another sport. Like i said: if fighting goes, checking will be next.

Posted by: doughless | March 11, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

THAT is TRUE. They hated each other. Great rivalry. It aint like that anymore, unfforunately. Those were great games. Forsberg was gone to soon.

Posted by: oo7 | March 11, 2009 3:56 PM

woooweeee, remember when Roy came out of the net to try and get involved with the whole Claude Lemeiuex turtling on the ice, and Shanny came and took a flying leap at center ice? God, that was great!

Roy actually lost both time he fought a Red Wings goalie. Vernon dropped him in 1997, and then Osgood (Osgood?!) got the better of him in 1998.

Posted by: RedBirdie | March 11, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Don't ever use Brashear and Mr. Hockey in the same sentence again.

Posted by: Cheef | March 11, 2009 3:54 PM

gordie howe and donald brasher walked into a bar.

gordie howe and donald brasher, a priest and a rabbi are on a boat.

there once was a gordie howe from donald brasher...

go away. the caps won last night. check back on friday, maybe they will have lost to the flyers and you can tell us how much gmgm had to do with it.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | March 11, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

maybe he's never been Kod, but a Kordic fight comes to mind. As well as a Laraque fight in which he got thrashed around, but i guess it was a draw. He also got his ass handed to him by Simon once.

But when I think about it, this one was probably Brash's worse loss of his career.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Hey ged0386...

Interesting question and perspective, but, to my knowledge, fighting has NEVER been a legal part of any of the other professional sports you mention. Yours is a classic apples and oranges argument. And, I'd submit that if fighting was to be made legal in the NFL, guys like T.O. and Ocho Sucko would have their mouths shut for them before too long, no need for the NFL to have to crack down on them at all...

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | March 11, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Who else KOd Brash? Im almost certain that last night was the first time Brashear has been KOd in his career. Ive seen his fights with Probert, McSorley, Domi etc, and he never lost that decisively.

Posted by: thegr8one | March 11, 2009 4:10 PM

Brash lost a ton of fights in the first few years he was in the league. Simon KO'd him at one point. He never won fights until he started a different way of fighting where he would hold (hug) the opponent close and then try to hammer him with lefts inside. Most fight fans used to make fun of him for years and called him HuggyBear. They thought his fighting style was pussified and weak, most hardcore hockey fans prefer a wideopen swing em at all costs style. Which is why he lost this fight badly, he tried to open things up with Belak instead of trying to hold him in tight. Brashear will lose most fights to most of the better fighters in this league if he chooses to open it up and swing away. Colton Orr will destroy Brash if he fights that way unfortunately. Most fighters who fight Orr or Boogard with a wideopen stance end up paying a hefty price.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 11, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

maybe he's never been Kod, but a Kordic fight comes to mind. As well as a Laraque fight in which he got thrashed around, but i guess it was a draw. He also got his ass handed to him by Simon once.

But when I think about it, this one was probably Brash's worse loss of his career.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 4:21 PM

He's definitely lost fights before, but I thought you knew of a fight where he was sat down in a manner similar to last night. I understand what you meant now. Thanks for the clarification.

Posted by: thegr8one | March 11, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Brash lost a ton of fights in the first few years he was in the league. Simon KO'd him at one point. He never won fights until he started a different way of fighting where he would hold (hug) the opponent close and then try to hammer him with lefts inside. Most fight fans used to make fun of him for years and called him HuggyBear. They thought his fighting style was pussified and weak, most hardcore hockey fans prefer a wideopen swing em at all costs style. Which is why he lost this fight badly, he tried to open things up with Belak instead of trying to hold him in tight. Brashear will lose most fights to most of the better fighters in this league if he chooses to open it up and swing away. Colton Orr will destroy Brash if he fights that way unfortunately. Most fighters who fight Orr or Boogard with a wideopen stance end up paying a hefty price.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 11, 2009 4:25 PM

Im aware of all of this. The usage of the term "KOd" threw me off.

Posted by: thegr8one | March 11, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Simon didn't really KO him, but he did rape him in the minors once.

cstanton, i guess all the numerous times orr and brashear fought in the past (and orr got wrecked) doesnt count.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

"Why don't the GMs get with the program and ban fighting altogether. Any player who drops his gloves and squares off should be ejected from the game -- no ifs, ands or buts"

They know attendance will go down 80%...

Posted by: FLDave | March 11, 2009 3:33 PM

Really, FLDave? If fighting were banned, instead of 18,000 fans at Verizon Center, only 3600 would show up to watch a hockey game? I seriously doubt it. I always watch hockey games to see hockey being played. If I wanted to see a fight, I'd go to boxing matches.
------------------

"gonna have to disagree with all of the folk here who are anti-fight. according to your logic, checking will be the next to go. sorry, leave hockey alone!!!! Bettman and his ilk have already done enough tinkering.

Posted by: doughless | March 11, 2009 3:40 PM"

I don't know about that, PM. Body checking is an integral part of the game. Fighting has been allowed for a long time, but really has nothing to do with the game of hockey. Hockey skills include skating, stickhandling, passing, shooting, and defending (including body checks).

Posted by: rw-c | March 11, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

nope, first time i've ever seen him look dazed like that.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I think the Flyers are far more interested in trying to catch the Devils and fending of the horde of teams chasing them fro the #4 spot to screw around too much tomorrow night. I think they'll do their best to stay out of the box, not fight (there's no Brash), and win this once straight up. I hate 'em but I think a victory - and not being tough guys - will be the main focus.

Posted by: saintex | March 11, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

We should have seen this coming once they started knocking down the old buildings and putting up the 20K seat multipurpose arenas.....
I actually think Semin would take fewer penalties if he stood up for himself once in a while instead of trying to get retribution behind the play.

I wish they would leave our game alone.

Posted by: LIVINIT1 | March 11, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7femuvfcUk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2_HEa4bUEA

for ctanton :). BTW, I dont condone fighting, but I thought Id offer these in support of the Brash man.

Posted by: thegr8one | March 11, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I brought up Gordie because he personifies great hockey, including fighting to protect other players. His accumen with the puck was otherworldly. He and Brash are not the same sort of player. Just trying to instigate a nice fight on the blog. I even got Cheef to come out of his mother's basement to get his a$$ whipped like Lamieux did by Darren McCarthy.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | March 11, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

FYI, there are some inflammatory posts in the comments section, so dont scroll down too far.

Posted by: thegr8one | March 11, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I've also went on a tirade about Orr in the past. Dude picks his fights.

He turned down a go with the Wrecker. man up Orr. Wrecker uses that open style too, why would Orr turn down a rookie? Ego?

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

and i know it was a one goal game, third period, etc, but I like to pick on Orr.

Orr should've gave Wrecker a shot.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

cstanton, i guess all the numerous times orr and brashear fought in the past (and orr got wrecked) doesnt count.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 4:27 PM

You don't think I'm aware of all the Orr-Brash fights? If you read my post you'd see that I said "IF Brashear decided to open things up instead of his hug and punch style" then he'd get his a___ handed to him. Brashear has adjusted his fighting style to what helps him, and that is NOT fighting a wide open style where its rockem sockem hockey. And if you notice, thats the style he fought against Belak and he lost, he doesn't do well when he opens things up. He needs to close the gap and bring his opponent close to him and he generates power from those short left hooks to the head. Guys like Orr and many other fighters past and present prefer to throw caution to the wind and they fight a more entertaining ballsy style where they leave themselves open to a possible KO but they also have a better chance of KO'ing their opponent. For my money, its a more honest way to fight. But I can't hold it against Brash either, he's very effective (and boring) but I can't fault him for looking out for himself.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 11, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

rw-c:

do you read the hockey media and blogs??? if you don't think checking is being given a look, read some of the press about the issue of checks to the head. i disagree with your statement that fighting has NOTHING to do with the game.

Posted by: doughless | March 11, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1:

sorry man, but did you see Brash WRECK Cote in Philly??? Boring?? I would have to offer that up as smackdown of the year.

Posted by: doughless | March 11, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

RichmondP: "I've also went on a tirade about Orr in the past. Dude picks his fights"


lol, come on. Don't be a regular homer fan. Orr is willing to fight anywhere at any time, and if you ever did see an instance of him "picking" his spots then trust me, there was a good reason for him to do so. That kid has been the symbol for honest toughness since the day he hit the WHL. Don't let personal feelings cloud your judgment. We're all mad that he's on the Rangers and of course we all hate the Rangers, and we didn't like him running Ovy but thats part and parcel of what these tough guys do. Whether they play on our team or an opponents. Orr is legitimately a fearsome fighter and he's not a spotpicker.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 11, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

@kalleen

Varly played the last 2 games this past weekend on the Bears road trip - won the 1st won and lost the 2nd one (suprised Woods would start him back-to-back nights after just coming off the injury). Obviously, I didn't see either game as one was in Toronto (win) and one in Cleveland (loss). However, he is slated to start tonight's game in Hershey vs. Springfield and I'll know more after that game. Does anyone know if the Caps made at least a 'paper transfer' of Neuvy back to Hershey today? 3PM was the 'clear' day for rosters and if he wasn't transferred - then he's not eligible to play for the Bears come playoff time (unless there's an injury - then he could be substituted). If the Caps did not make that transfer - it would figure they intend on keeping him and NOT call up Varly.

Posted by: hersheybearfan | March 11, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

i know its not the same sport, cstanton1,but in boxing Brashes style would be called smart fighting.

Posted by: doughless | March 11, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1:

sorry man, but did you see Brash WRECK Cote in Philly??? Boring?? I would have to offer that up as smackdown of the year.

Posted by: doughless | March 11, 2009 4:44 PM

he's not always boring and that Cote fight was awesome. He dominated him.

And Brad May just recently went on record as saying he thought Brashear was the best fighter in hockey. I'm talking specifics here -- Brashear doesn't generally fight a wide open style where he swings away and creates room between him and his opponent because he learned about 3 yrs into his career that he'd never win a fight if he fought like that so much to fight fans's chagrin everywhere he started his huggybear style that he has perfected. He's also perfected the art of producing power with very short punches. Again, I'm not "faulting" him for this style, he'd be dumb not to play to his own strengths. I just prefer the old Probert-McSorely-Domi-May-Orr style where you throw caution to the wind and you stand back and just swing away. And I'd venture to say that kind of style garners more respect from other players as well.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 11, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

You don't think I'm aware of all the Orr-Brash fights? If you read my post you'd see that I said "IF Brashear decided to open things up instead of his hug and punch style" then he'd get his a___ handed to him. Brashear has adjusted his fighting style to what helps him, and that is NOT fighting a wide open style where its rockem sockem hockey. And if you notice, thats the style he fought against Belak and he lost, he doesn't do well when he opens things up. He needs to close the gap and bring his opponent close to him and he generates power from those short left hooks to the head. Guys like Orr and many other fighters past and present prefer to throw caution to the wind and they fight a more entertaining ballsy style where they leave themselves open to a possible KO but they also have a better chance of KO'ing their opponent. For my money, its a more honest way to fight. But I can't hold it against Brash either, he's very effective (and boring) but I can't fault him for looking out for himself.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 11, 2009 4:41 PM

I used to box, so I know a bit about fighting, and Donald lost because he didnt keep his chin down. You can wail away all you want, and I agree that a style like that leaves you more vulnerable, but if he keeps his chin tucked close to his chest he doesnt get knocked out. Watch the fight again and you'll see that it looks like he is standing straight up when Belak punches him. That is a huge no-no.

Posted by: thegr8one | March 11, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

That's not why at all I dislike Orr. Orr comes off as a DB who picks his fights, and he owes his whole NHL career to guys like brash, cairns, roy, etc giving him a shot two years ago. He should offer that to other up and coming enforcers, instead of with his snide,egotistical remarks. If he has a reason to turn down a tilt, then he doesnt have to come off like the king of enforcers when his entire career is owed to other guys giving him that shot not even that many years ago..

Orr is one of the best fighters in the league, but he still picks his fights.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

susprising that Brash would make such a fundemental mistake like that, sicne he trained as a boxer during the lockout.

Posted by: RedBirdie | March 11, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

i know its not the same sport, cstanton1,but in boxing Brashes style would be called smart fighting.

Posted by: doughless | March 11, 2009 4:47 PM

Of course its smart fighting, you'll get no argument from me. I never said it wasnt' smart, just that its not reflective of throwback hockey in any way shape or form. Holding an opponent close to you and closing that gap and trying to fire rabbit punches is definitely a smart way to fight, whether its the UFC or boxing or in Brashear's case -- hockey. Most fighters choose not to fight so defensively. If you're gonna play that role, then I think you kinda have to be willing to eat some punches to give some punches. Thats what made the legendary fighters so respected.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 11, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

redbirdie:

here is betting he won't make the mistake again this season.

Posted by: doughless | March 11, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I used to box, so I know a bit about fighting, and Donald lost because he didnt keep his chin down. You can wail away all you want, and I agree that a style like that leaves you more vulnerable, but if he keeps his chin tucked close to his chest he doesnt get knocked out. Watch the fight again and you'll see that it looks like he is standing straight up when Belak punches him. That is a huge no-no.

Posted by: thegr8one | March 11, 2009 4:49 PM

He's not used to fighting open, so I'm not surprised that he looked a little unpolished in his bout with Belak. The other thing you have to realize is, Belak is probably the most improved fighter over the last year. He used to be a real spotpicker himself and either jump guys or try to catch guys at the end of their shifts. Leafs fans got pretty sick of his act. He's redefined himself now, first briefly as a Panther and now as a Predator.

Brashear fought Belak before, and he definitely faced a more formidable opponent this last time out. Belak's a better stronger fighter now, he KO'd Cam Janssen recently too.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 11, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Belak appartently has not kicked his old schtick of jumping opponents ala Lumberjack last night. glad Lumberjack meted out some punishment.

Posted by: doughless | March 11, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Fighter sometimes have "rebirths". Guys who used to lose a lot or weren't interested in fighting suddenly mature and have a lightbulb go off in their heads. Happened to Jeff Odgers, happened to Andre Roy, and now its happened to Belak. He's finally embraced his role as a tough guy because he's realized thats the only way for him to make money in this league. In the past if he had his "token" fight, he'd stay clear of trouble the rest of the game if he could. He'd do the bare minimum to try and keep his role on the team. After losing considerable ice time the last few yrs with the Leafs, he adjusted.
He doesn't play that way anymore, the Preds are gettin their money's worth.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 11, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

and look at it this way, the Caps really need to have a better balance of players who can throw down when needed. Right now you have 3 guys on the caps who can be considered potential pugilists. And of them, only Brashear should even count. Erskine's concussion-nervous and Bradley's a bleeder who loses every fight badly. You need a couple more forwards who are willing to play that role and a couple more defensemen. Many teams have between 5 and 8 guys who can throw down if necessary. We have just one.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 11, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

@Cheef:

It's with great sadness I have to let you know that...Tarik knows what he's doing. He doesn't need to be told how to write an article. Oh, and I have to let you in on something - your opinion doesn't matter. Thanks.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | March 11, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

@YFM1: Not all families are created equal. I grew up in a household where our favorite sports were Ice Hockey, Boxing, and Wrestling. My dad taught my brothers and I how to fight at an early age, which meant after one good youth bout nobody bothered us.
How is seeing 2 men fight with some blood any worse than seeing somebody take a high stick?

I enjoy the fighting in hockey, but I really like it when the enforcers arent the ones getting involved. I mean fight of the year for me was Semin playing the bongos. Sure it wasn't an epic ko but it was quite entertaining. Backis is next in line. I can feel his rage growing.

Posted by: trunkenmath | March 11, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse


Physical intimidation (including fighting) has always been a tool (if not a 'skill' in the strictest sense) used by teams to enforce their will on opponents not willing to come back at them in like fashion. The Broad Street Bullies used these tactics to win two Stanley Cups in the 70s and more recently, the 2007 Anaheim Ducks did the same.

If you think this isn't true, then why do we complain seemingly after every game about the Caps unwillingness to go to the net or go into the corners to dig the puck out? It takes a huge physical (and mental) toll to accomplish these things on a regular basis. After all, who wants to go to the spot where you know you're gonna get pounded or have to face the music?

So, teams that play physical (yes, that includes fighting) will end up on the winning side of the ledger more often than not. Of course, if you have a great power play, you can take the wind out of the more physical team's sails, but that's a different argument...

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | March 11, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

laich and clark will drop em when necessary. i think even mo has danced a couple of times. this is less and less relevant as the playoffs begin. much less fighting in the playoffs, but certainly requires more toughness. i have no doubt brooks will do what it takes, i'm less sure about guys like fehr and flash.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | March 11, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

agree that the Caps need a more physical presence on both ends of the ice. they experienced first hand in the playoffs last year what happens if you don't bring some physicality. get ready Caps, the same is to be expected this year.

Posted by: doughless | March 11, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I cant understand this rational that its OK to fight in Hockey but not in football and basketball. Is this a thugs vs goons thing? Come on hockey fans, please give me an explanation to this rational. I really want to know. I have yet to see one post that condemns fighting in hockey. As a matter of fact you fans seem to have deemed it a necessity to the game. I have seen NHL players do things to each other that you and me would be facing felony assault charges for doing in the street. Marty McSorley hits Brasher in the head with a stick and knocks him unconscious, another player smashes a guy face first into the ice. Both were suspended but none face charges. Meanwhile a minor league baseball player faced assault charges for threatening a guy with a bat during a fight. He was arrested after the game and charged. Both NHL incidents I mentioned were base on retaliation from previous fights between the players. Just because it is entertaining to fans does not make it any more right than any other league permitting it. I think I get it though, its ok to be a goon but not a thug. I just wanted to know why.

Posted by: ged0386 | March 11, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

susprising that Brash would make such a fundemental mistake like that, sicne he trained as a boxer during the lockout.

Posted by: RedBirdie | March 11, 2009 4:50 PM

You usually abjure fundamentals when you let emotions creep into a fight. Brash has been in tons of fights obviously, and that experience typically allows you to think clearly in situations like that. Its possible that something said caused Brashear to take the fight personally, and allowed anger to cloud his thought process.

In the Youtube clip of the fight, one of the anouncers said something like Belak "called his shot" (meaning he predicted the outcome i surmise, although the clip didnt provide full context to the statement.) Maybe Brash caught wind of the prediction and said to himself that he would teach the guy a lesson. Or perhaps he panicked when he was taken out of his comfort zone by Belak's reach advantage, who know's, but i doubt it was a matter of fighting style. Brash has opened up before (on McSorley, Orr, Cote, Boogard) and not been knocked out and you could argue that two out of the four were/are superior fighters than Belak.

Posted by: thegr8one | March 11, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

thegr8one,

You can point to countless links where Brashear dominated another player. Just like a Caps losing streak, some will panic beyond belief. They don't remember the tremendous beat downs Brashear has handed out while in DC including Cote a few weeks ago.

Brashear will be back, more cautious moving in and just as punishing as ever.

Posted by: FLDave | March 11, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Belak's a better stronger fighter now, he KO'd Cam Janssen recently too.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 11, 2009 4:55 PM

If you think Brash is a boring fighter, you must hate Janssen :).

Posted by: thegr8one | March 11, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

doughless:

Of course I know they're talking about eliminating or reducing hits to the head. They're trying to minimize the number of concussions. They've also made hitting from behind illegal, although they don't seem to call it unless it's a really heavy hit. That's not the same as someone saying that if they make fighting illegal, next they'll take body checking out of the game. I love a good body check (well, watching them anyway. One of my separated shoulders came from a body check -- if you call boarding a body check.)

I understand your disagreement with my comments about fighting. Everything I say is preceded with an unspoken or unwritten "in my opinion."

I appreciate that we can disagree without bashing each other.

Posted by: rw-c | March 11, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

@ged0386: I think you might be overthinking this one. Fighting has always been part of hockey. It hasn't been part of those other sports. I think the reason it's allowed in hockey today, and not allowed in other sports, is because that's just the way it has always been. Doesn't necessarily make it right, of course; many things in this world "have always been" that shouldn't be and never should have been in the first place. Personally I don't think fighting in hockey is one of them, but that's purely a matter of personal preference.

Perhaps the real question is why, when the professional hockey league rules were first being promulgated, was fighting allowed but penalized, whereas when the football and basketball league rules were being developed, fighting wasn't allowed at all? I have no idea.

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 11, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

rw-c:

no problem. everyone has an opinion. my worry is that some would do more regarding fighting and checking than is required by facts on the ice. cheap shots to the head should not be a part of hockey. unfortunately, many of the examples from this year were legal checks. in some cases, the player hit made an untimely move resulting in contact with the head. as much as I don't want it to see it, these things happen in hockey. in some cases a player is not keeping his head up. what is the call in that case, RW-C?? is it a legal check, or not? should a legal check result in punishment??

hockey is by its very nature a physical game, played at an extremely quick pace. all i am saying is that the people in charge should be careful in addressing these issues. some of the rule changes being talked about have the potential to change hockey in ways that many may not be willing to endure.

Posted by: doughless | March 11, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey ged0386...

Any casual observer of ESPN's Sports Center can pull those extremely infrequent incidents out of the air to try to illustrate the goonish aspects of the NHL. Yeah, those were horrific acts and should not be tolerated or allowed. And, for the record, McSorley did have criminal charges brought against him (he was convicted http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-4566229.html ), as have other players who have commited on-ice acts of violence (Dino Ciccarelli in 1988: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=940DE2DD1331F936A1575BC0A96E948260 ).

However, those thankfully rare events you mention are not/have never been allowed under the rules of the NHL and were dealt with accordingly by the league. The simple fact of the matter is that most (if not all) professional hockey leagues in North America allow fighting to occur within the game. Other sports have decided not to incorporate fighting, which is their prerogative.

There is no goon vs. thug issue as you are trying to portray it. It simply comes down to what is/is not allowed by the powers that be who are in charge of each respective league. Whether fighting is 'right' or 'wrong' is purely a subjective opinion and a completely different argument altogether.

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | March 11, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Brash has opened up before (on McSorley, Orr, Cote, Boogard) and not been knocked out and you could argue that two out of the four were/are superior fighters than Belak.

Posted by: thegr8one | March 11, 2009 5:12 PM

no, he doesn't "open up". He grabs the other fighter, gets the deathgrip on them, and then pulls them in close. Once he gets that good grip he starts firing lefts into their right temple. If you've watched brash over the last several years, this has become his modus operandi way to fight. That's not a judgment, thats just a fact.


GEDo386: "I cant understand this rational that its OK to fight in Hockey but not in football and basketball. Is this a thugs vs goons thing? Come on hockey fans, please give me an explanation to this rational."

its cultural for one. Canadian kids have been doing this for a hundred+ years playing pond hockey which then graduated into the junior leagues in Canada and then into the NHL. Its a huge difference btwn that and the way kids get into sports like football and basketball.

also, the way hockey is played (getting hacked and whacked with a stick, getting pushed or hit into the boards, scrums etc). When you play football, the play only lasts a few seconds. Its not continuous aggression. If it was, that would escalate to fights also.

hope that clears the picture up a little.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 11, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Did Locker say a lot of soap on the rope for that trio?!? What the heck does that mean?

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 10, 2009 9:15 PM


@ --Boo--: Yes he did, and I don't know. I think he's making a run at the Malaprop Hall of Fame, with Jerry Coleman (former SD Padres announcer), Casey Stengel and Yogi Berra...

Barry Trotz looks evil. Shooting he be mugging someone outside the arena instead of coaching inside it?

Posted by: crooks_c | March 10, 2009 9:16 PM


@crooks_c: "Yesssss....everything is proceeding as I have forseeen, my young apprenticcccccce"

@all: Now THAT's what I'm talking about! We just out-worked and outplayed the team that beat defending SC champion DET 8-0. Let that sink in...maybe we CAN win it all...


Other notes:

1) I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed: what is this with every goalie we face lately somehow channeling Martin Brodeur?

2) Great all-around play by Morrissonn (sp?): he did a lot to silence the haters breaking up the 2-on 1 with Arnott and later wth the massive hit on same.

3) Also encouraging is the fact that we mostly stayed disciplined and won in spite of the arch Cap-hater McBleary...I could see the barely restrained glee on that SOB's face when he waved of the Fleischmann goal.

4) Great hits by Green too!

5) SOmeone please tell CSN that a few LESS graphics on the bottom of the screen (while the puck is in play) would be a good thing


By the way, I though Brooks played phenomenal last night. His interview between the first and second did sound like a Captain. Our boys are growing up right before our eyes.

Posted by: fanohock1 | March 11, 2009 11:18 AM


@fanohock1: Too True; I was thinking the same myself!-- I wonder if another "21" was added to the Hard Hat last night...

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 11, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

perhaps add a rule that if a guy on one team steps in the circle to go, and no one on the other team steps up, then that team gets a two minute penalty for "lack of roughing" or "boreding".

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | March 11, 2009 2:33 PM

@dcsportsfan1: IIIIIII LIKE IT!

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 11, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

doughless:

If the player hit made an untimely move resulting in contact with the head, it should be ruled an accidental hit to the head, and not penalized. But if they are going to eliminate hits to the head, they will have to make the hitter responsible for avoiding hits to the head, even if the opponent has his head down. If the league eliminates intentional hits to the head, the rule will have to be something like "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it." :-)

Posted by: rw-c | March 11, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

I cant understand this rational that its OK to fight in Hockey but not in football and basketball. Is this a thugs vs goons thing? Come on hockey fans, please give me an explanation to this rational. I really want to know. I have yet to see one post that condemns fighting in hockey. As a matter of fact you fans seem to have deemed it a necessity to the game. I have seen NHL players do things to each other that you and me would be facing felony assault charges for doing in the street. Marty McSorley hits Brasher in the head with a stick and knocks him unconscious, another player smashes a guy face first into the ice. Both were suspended but none face charges. Meanwhile a minor league baseball player faced assault charges for threatening a guy with a bat during a fight. He was arrested after the game and charged. Both NHL incidents I mentioned were base on retaliation from previous fights between the players. Just because it is entertaining to fans does not make it any more right than any other league permitting it. I think I get it though, its ok to be a goon but not a thug. I just wanted to know why.

Posted by: ged0386 | March 11, 2009 5:12 PM

if you avoided the condescending attitude and the need to look cool with rhetorical questions, then maybe youd garner more respectable answers.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

"Soap on a rope" is like saying it looks like he has the puck tied to his stick with a short piece of string.

Posted by: OldFan | March 11, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

The best hockey fight ever was Montreal and Quebec in the playoffs, I forget the year. All 6 guys on the ice going at it. Then once over 6 more guys got on the ice and they went at it. So they sent everyone to locker room with like 2 minutes left in the period. When they came back out during warmups, it started all over again. Classic Brawl. Now there were two teams that did not like each other.

Posted by: RichC3 | March 11, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I remember an old-timers game during one All-Star weekend when someone (Mikita maybe?) actually had a puck tied to his stick. Random, I know, but OldFan's description of "soap on a rope" made me think of it. Plus, I've had one of those days at work where my brain has turned to complete mush, so the memory is making me giggle uncontrollably. :)

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 11, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

@RichC3: I was at a Caps game in Boston years ago when all 12 guys on the ice were fighting, including Kolzig and Dafoe. (I guess those two weren't "fighting" so much as turning in circles while holding each other's jerseys. But you get the idea. It was quite the melee.)

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 11, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I miss the days of the bench clearing brawl

Posted by: Leeguru | March 11, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I've been against fighting for a few years now, there's no place for it in the game and all the arguments, it keeps the game "clean," the fans love it, adds intensity, are pure bunk.

Furthermore, while I don't agree with Larry Brooks very often, he was dead right that the NHL is backing itself into a corner by taking action in addressing hits to the head. There is no way for the NHL to properly address hits to the head, yet allow fighting to remain in the game. It is long past time for the NHL to grow up and get rid of the nonsense that has been holding the game back for decades.

I'm old enough to remember when you were allowed two steps after the QB threw the ball in the NFL and head shots weren't penalties either. Has anybody seen the ratings and ticket sales of NFL games suffer?

Posted by: CapsNut | March 11, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

The best one I ever saw in person was Caps/Redwings. Bob Probert got ass kicked by a Mike Lampman, then Bugsy fought Lampamn, and Lampman kicked blasted him, then nasty little Dennis Polonich skated over to the caps bench and challenged the team and both benches emptied, went on for about 1/2 hour....was crazy.

Posted by: RichC3 | March 11, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey Rhino40...

McCreary hasn't done the Caps too bad this year (evidence below), but I still cringe evry time I hear he's officiating a game the Caps are playing...


Capitals record in games officiated by Bill McCreary in past 3 seasons (compiled by OldChelsea on the Capitals message boards - great work!)

BILL McCREARY (Guelph, ON) 5-2 (6-4 last season, 9-9 last two seasons, 9-13 last three seasons)

11th October vs Chicago - W 4-2
21st October at Calgary - L 1-2
15th November at New Jersey - L 5-6 (SO)
13th December at Montreal - W 2-1
3rd February at New Jersey - W 5-2
7th February vs Florida - W 3-1
10th March at Nashville - W 2-1 (OT)

Check out the Caps record with all refs here:

http://boards.washingtoncaps.com/index.php?showtopic=76898&st=75&start=75

and all linesmen here:

http://boards.washingtoncaps.com/index.php?showtopic=76900&st=60&start=60

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | March 11, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

@CapsNut: I see a big distinction between hits to the head and fighting. When two guys are fighting, they're both explicitly consenting to do so. The guy getting hit in the head is not consenting to get hit in the head. How is that not a huge difference? It's a perfectly valid opinion to say that both fighting *and* hits to the head should be disallowed (I disagree as to the fighting, but again, it's a matter of opinion), but it's not hypocritical or inconsistent to address hits to the head while still allowing fighting.

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 11, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

ALL! Granted I am new to this blog and I don't know any of you from Adam but I can't believe what I'm seeing here on this board. Guys and girls, fighting IS a part of this game like it or not and it NEEDS to remain a part of this game. I can only guess that most of you that don't like it or say that it isn't needed, must have never played the game. And don't get me started on the Canadian guy dying in an adult league, I agree you should only fight as a pro. I'm here to tell you that if fighting isn't allowed then there will be ALOT of other bad things happen. I guarantee stick work will be up, chargings will be up and hits from behind. The league is already diluted of talent enough, if you take out fighting then I might make a team someday! LOL! I've ref'd this game for a long time and I can tell you that it is a very necessary part of the game. Players WILL take liberties if they know that nobody can touch them. It's engrained in a hockey players brain. It's much like life itself, you do what you can get away with. For example, I'll never forget going to a reffing camp and them teaching about how to conduct a faceoff. If you guys look at a faceoff dot you now see the lines where skates are supposed to be in back of and outside of, well you tell me how many times a player has his skates where they're supposed to be. Almost never. So the book says that's what's supposed to happen yet it never does. They get away with what they can. So anyway the lead instructor said this and I quote, "You will never get them square, so get them even". It goes along with, if you're not cheating, you're not trying. Trust me folks (and I don't know why you would to be honest LOL!) fighting needs to be in this game. Hey if you don't like it, you don't have to watch it! It's like a car wreck though, you gotta watch it. I mean have you ever gone to somebody and said hey man did you see that fight last night and somebody say, "Na, I turned my head as soon as they dropped the gloves"! LOL!

Posted by: pokerface1208 | March 11, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Hockey is unique in that it's the only professional sport that allows regulated fighting. It's been that way from the beginning and trying to change it now is wrong! I don;t have a problem regulating it so it stops bench clearing brawls, but for heaven sakes leave it alone. It's part of the fabric of the game..it always has been and I have no problem with it.

Posted by: sammie21 | March 11, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

More on the fighting debate, from the mouths of the players who are on the firing line, great book with interesting insights to the 'game within the game' that occurs on the ice...


The Code: The Unwritten Rules Of Fighting And Retaliation In The NHL

http://amazon.com/gp/aw/d.html/ref=mp_s_a_1/178-4226439-9041603?qid=1236810196&a=1572437561&sr=8-1

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | March 11, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

glad someone mentioned Morrisonn's play. He's stepped it up as of late and he's been very physical on the back end. Sometime's he'll go 30 games without a strong hit then he'll find a groove for 10 straight games where he looks like Phaneuf.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 11, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Ken Beatrice used to always say, "in order to win the Cup, a team needs two gunners and a lights-out goaltender." I would add to that list some "goal crashers" and "bone crunchers" as well. Look at every team that has the Cup in recent years and you'll find many of those ingredients!

Posted by: Terptwin | March 11, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

@RichC3: I was at a Caps game in Boston years ago when all 12 guys on the ice were fighting, including Kolzig and Dafoe. (I guess those two weren't "fighting" so much as turning in circles while holding each other's jerseys. But you get the idea. It was quite the melee.)

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 11, 2009 6:08 PM

Here's the vid :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RhrFsUyfec (Olie and Dafoe are very close friends, which makes it all more hilarious)

this is the full Wings vs. Avs all out brawl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Xb4lS_eKQ4

Posted by: RedBirdie | March 11, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

and the 1998 re-match, which features some quality goals by our own Sergei Fedorov, and Osgood beating on Roy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHNE7rIPZzM

Posted by: RedBirdie | March 11, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Someone mentioned this classic in the comments above...

The "Battle of Quebec" - Canadiens vs. Nordiques in Game 6 of the Adams Division Final...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veX55rLYAgQ

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | March 11, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Hockey is unique in that it's the only professional sport that allows regulated fighting. It's been that way from the beginning and trying to change it now is wrong! I don;t have a problem regulating it so it stops bench clearing brawls, but for heaven sakes leave it alone. It's part of the fabric of the game..it always has been and I have no problem with it.

Posted by: sammie21 | March 11, 2009 6:28 PM

"fans" who are against it are few and far between and for the most part don't really understand hockey well enough. That goes for broadcasters and journalists too. The big difference between fighting now and in the past is that in the past you rarely saw the frequency of fighting that occurs today after a big hit on a player. Certain teams ALWAYS throw down after one of their players gets hit. I'd say more than half of every fight that occurs in the league now is due to teams reacting to a hit, most of them clean. Also the scripted fights where two tough guys talk to each other and then face off never really ever happened until the last several years.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 11, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

For what its worth, I'm not sure Belak/Erskine qualifies. Its close, and reasonable minds can differ, but Erskine looked pretty willing to me.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | March 11, 2009 2:11 PM

Agreed. Erskine hit Belak a little late. Belak reacted in a predictable fashion. He must have felt Erskine was looking to fight considering Belak had knocked out Brashear early in the game and then Erskine bumps him late. Thats pretty common in hockey. Erskine did get a late jump on the fight but that was really his fault. You don't bump a guy like Belak a little late and not expect some kind of reaction considering the way the game had been going. I would've given Belak maybe an extra roughing call but not the instigator.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 11, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I believe the game is fine the way it is. The Caps got the Flyers by-product for the simple reason to protect the "ONE MAN SHOW" The Flyers would have never taken a player from the Caps. This just shows how desperate the Caps are. Brash isn't have the player Belak is and it was great to see the hockey player pound the goon!

Posted by: toysoc | March 11, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

@ toysoc
Didn't the flyers hire Terry Murray after he was fired from the Caps? Didn't the flyers get Eminger from the Caps? Didn't they get Oates from the Caps? Please tell me I'm wrong. I need you to zing me, please tell me I'm wrong and you're glorious...

Posted by: Andoy | March 11, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

oh cool, more trolls.

quick look at Belak's and brash's career stats.....then a quick look at their age......then i laugh at toysoc.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

it's not like brashear has (as an enforcer) put up more points in one season then Belak has his entire career almost.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Could this be our first Flyers troll?

Posted by: ludeman95 | March 11, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Metal.......thanks for Montreal/Quebec clip. A couple of observation. 1) GMGM was on Montreal at the time. 2)If I remember right, it was end of 2nd period start of the 3rd. 3)Hunter was fighting Hunter....
@TEB......You should ask GMGM about this fight and how he remembers it and please do let us know.

Posted by: RichC3 | March 11, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Was that the same McPhee? I looked on wiki and it said that GMGM only played 7 years in the NHL with the Devils and the Rangers. I did see Bob Gainey and Guy Carbonneau skating around in the mix.

Posted by: ludeman95 | March 11, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

toysoc must be quite grateful that Belak might just have saved his beloved Cote from yet another beatdown at the hands of Brash tomorrow evening. Prepare for the Philthy trolls people!

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | March 11, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

A flyers troll? With computer skills? My breath is baited.

So, since fighting is stil lthe hot topic, when was the last time Bradley actually won a fight? I like Bradley a lot, and his +- reflects that his work breaks the team about even, and he will always fight when necessary, but when does he win?

Still, I love him, I'm just sayin...

Posted by: oo7 | March 11, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Rhino40/OldFan:
Thanks - I needed that! :-)

capsfan26:
What's weird is that there is only one of them (can you say token?!?). He is clearly the result of the uproar over the plan to start the 'spirit squad' this season. They went from recruiting just women who would wear skimpy uniforms to men and women who would wear more respectable uniforms. While I appreciate these "improvements" I would prefer that they not be there at all. There's no crying in baseball and there are no cheerleaders in hockey. Period.

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 11, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

There's no crying in baseball and there are no cheerleaders in hockey. Period.

Posted by: --Boo-- | March 11, 2009 10:13 PM

Amen!

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 11, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

For those of you who watch South Park: Donald Brashear has been waived; The Capitals have signed Mickey Mouse as the team's new enforcer. Don't F with Mickey.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | March 11, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Complete Matt Bradley fight card...

http://www.hockeyfights.com/players/333

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | March 11, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

@RedBirdie: thanks for the link to the Kolzig vs. Dafoe fight! (Using the term "fight" very loosely, of course.) I've actually never seen the video before. I'd totally forgotten that either of them actually mixed it up with any of the skaters before they paired off with each other. It was such a mess out there - every single player on the ice was throwing punches at someone, and there was nothing the officials could really do about it. And it took forever to sort out all the equipment that was scattered all over the ice afterward. I do remember thinking it was funny that the two goalies were paired off, since they were such good friends, and now that I watch the video, it does kind of look like they're both laughing by the end.

Posted by: capsfan26 | March 11, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

That's why they even went "at it." Dafoe and Kolzig are good friends and it was moreso in jest.

I remember that game very clearly.

anyways, everyone know that 2001 Sens game I always bring up when we need a come back? They did a special on that game on Caps Red Line. Kind of weird.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

The best fight I ever saw was when Bengt Gustafsson and Stan Jonathon went at it. And Bengt won!

Posted by: dezlboy1 | March 11, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

The Blackhawks take a bad, late hooking penalty then fail to clear the puck with about 30 seconds left and the Canes tie it up. Goint to OT.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 11, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Now Kane hits the post with basically a wide open net.

Sigh...

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 11, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

go canes.

go 3 SE teams in playoffs.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Now Kane gets a pass on a breakaway and puts it right into Ward's chest.

Eh...

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 11, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Huet stops a breakaway as time expires in OT.

At least something good...

I hear you, richmondphil. I'm still rooting for the Blackhawks.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 11, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

--Boo--:
There's no crying in baseball and there are no cheerleaders in hockey. Period.

unless they wear skimpy uniforms :)

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 11, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

CHI and CAL are my west teams, but potentially three SE teams in the playoffs again is too awesome to pass up.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

I won't be disappointed with 3 SE teams. That would get our division some respect but I'd rather see a little bigger gap between the Caps and Fla/Car before I start cheering for Fla/Car.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 11, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Huet can get the win with a stop here.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 11, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

And Huet stops Samsonov.

1 point for the Canes.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 11, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

the division is ours, no doubts.

canes/panthers need to edge out pens/rags.

it would be hilarious.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

"I won't be disappointed with 3 SE teams. That would get our division some respect but I'd rather see a little bigger gap between the Caps and Fla/Car before I start cheering for Fla/Car."

AGREED! The way the Caps are playing I live in fear of history repeating itself from last year, with us on the end that Carolina found itself in last March-April. And that's NOT a result any of us want! I'd just as soon have no SE division teams but the Caps!

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | March 11, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Just got home from the Bears game. Lost 3-2 in a shootout. Bears goals from Giroux and Gordon.

Pothier look GREAT. Played a regular shift paired up with Kronwall. Had no problem keeping up with the pace...positioning was good...skating looked strong. Played a little bit on the PK and PP but mostly even strength. Didn't get real physical with anyone, but didn't shy away from anything, even dropped to one knee to block a shot in the OT. Can we pleeease keep him in Hershey a while longer? :)

As for Varly, he was kind of squirrelly at the beginning but got better as the game went on. He gives up some juicy rebounds, though. Not impressed with the shootout...he didn't seem to challenge the shooters too much.


Posted by: tess2201 | March 11, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil:
canes/panthers need to edge out pens/rags


its hard to root for the canes and panthers - but easy to root against the pens and NYR - i'm with you on this one

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 11, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

thats why i left out the sabres, haha. the reality is is that the sabres are probably going to be edged out, but i would like it to be the rags or pens.

dont worry guys, weve got nothing to fear by rooting for CAR/FLA.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil:
i don't fear them catching the caps - it's just that they are only one rung up the ladder from nyi, pit, phi and nyr on my scale of hate

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 11, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

good ol patrick division..

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

my dislike for the islanders is still greater than it is for the pens. my most hated player is billy smith

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 11, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

battle billy is a lunatic.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

and chico >>>> billy.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Hershey lost 2-3 in OT but Varly had a great game with 26 saves out of 28 shots or a 92.9%. Has anyone heard about when they plan to bring him back up here? Why are they waiting?

Posted by: caraveli | March 11, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

what sucked is that he really wasn't an elite goalie - i think the caps from that era made him look like brodeur - or any of the other 'lesser' goalies that this years caps have made look like future HOF's

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 11, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

ehh, id say he was an elite goalie for his time but he is a perfect example of how the caps make everyone look like Roy.

gerber and dan ellis of recent comes to mind, haha.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 12, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

@caraveli
Read what I wrote about half an hour ago. Varly needs work. He won't get it sitting on the bench behind theo.

Posted by: tess2201 | March 12, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Was that the same McPhee? I looked on wiki and it said that GMGM only played 7 years in the NHL with the Devils and the Rangers. I did see Bob Gainey and Guy Carbonneau skating around in the mix.

Posted by: ludeman95 | March 11, 2009 9:54 PM

no, it wasn't the same McPhee. The Habs had Mike McPhee who was a demonstrably better player than George but both were cut from the same cloth.

by the way in Tarik's new article GM is quoted as saying the Bradley-Tootoo fight was unnecessary. Unnecessary for who? Bradley crushed Tootoo from behind into the boards after Tootoo hit Brashear. Why shouldn't both of them settle their differences? McPhee better just keep his trap shut and quit screwing around with the game. He's apparently one of the GMs who wants to penalize players an extra amount if they fight off the faceoff and players who fight to defend a teammate after a clean check. That's a real slippery slope. What if two minutes pass after a clean hit? Will they be able to tie that fight back to the hit? What if a fight off the faceoff really had its roots back several minutes when two players were jostling for the puck and got mad at each other but decided for whatever reason not to fight right then? Technically, thats still in the "heat of the moment".

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 12, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

CHI and CAL are my west teams, but potentially three SE teams in the playoffs again is too awesome to pass up.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 11, 2009 11:16 PM

Calgary will be tough once the playoffs start. I think the best series if it comes about somehow would be Flames-Sharks. The Sharks should finally match their results with their talent and win the Cup this year. When they're on they make good teams look bad.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 12, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

tess2201

Thanks. Just read it. Varly seems more experienced than Neuvy, however, don't you agree?

Posted by: caraveli | March 12, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

I went to the Bears game as well and had a few observations on Pothier.

He looks like what he is - an NHL-quality defenseman skating with the AHL. He stuck out like a sore thumb to me for that reason. He was just that good. Positionally solid as a rock, always had his man covered, smart, patient, composed. When he had the puck, the pace seemed to slow a little bit, and you could almost see him mentally planning. He didn't panic and try to clear too fast the way some of the guys do (Alzner, I'm looking at you). He looked for the right clear instead, and was successful nearly every time because of it.

Physically, he's not initiating a lot of contact, but he doesn't shy from it either and doesn't appear to take any harm from it. He laid out a few hits and took a couple as well, but like Jeff Schultz, his game seems to be more mental and positional, and he takes the body only when he needs to. He's also got a nice point shot that manages to get through traffic more often than not.

I do think he needs a couple more games in Hershey, though, because he's losing puck battles along the boards. Whether that's because of a strength issue or a little bit of tentativeness, I'm not sure. His timing also seemed a tad off, but he won't fix that playing in Hershey. He needs to come up to fix that.

Varlamov was amazing tonight. The rest of the team was kind of sloppy, and the refing is best described as Devorski on crack. We didn't deserve more than the one point, but the Falcons didn't deserve two, either.

Posted by: kittypawz | March 12, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Caraveli:
It's a tough call. They're very different. Varly gives up rebounds way more than Neuvy. Neuvy is very strong positionally whereas Varly is diving and flopping all over the place, but yet that style works well for Varly. By all reports, Neuvy is much calmer and unflappable than Varly. Both have played well in Hershey and in DC, but they're both so young, and many goalies don't reach their potential till mid-20's. I think they both would benefit from a ton of playing time, but whoever ends up in DC right now is going to sit alot while Theo plays. The ideal situation would be for Johnny to come back healthy soon so that the kids could split playoff games in Hershey.

Posted by: tess2201 | March 12, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

kittypawz:
good to hear a first hand account about pothier. i hope if all goes well with him that he can get 5+ games in dc, to get reacquainted with his teammates, before the second season starts

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 12, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Whoever asked about Bradley ever winning a fight, i was looking for a Semin photo and came across one of Bradley laying the smack down on Voros.

sharks cant compete with the flames or wings come playoffs..watch.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 12, 2009 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Varly has a ton more experience and actual playoff experience, albeit over in Russia.

Varly is a Hasek in the making...at least I hope so.

Posted by: richmondphil | March 12, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update on our guys, tess & kittypawz! Looking forward to seeing how he looks up (down?) here.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | March 12, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

richmondphil:
i can't get past det - they've been there so many times i don't see anyone taking them in a seven game series (though i don't follow the west all that closely). i would give the current top four in the east about the same odds right now.
i think the caps and bos are most vulnerable in any series - nj and phi, if they lose, would probably take the full seven games

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 12, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

A win over Philly tomorrow would mean a little more than 2 points, in my opinion.

It was probably just a coincidence but the Caps slump, at least in terms of results, started around the time the Flyers came back from behind and won on our home ice the last time we played them.

Regardless, beating Philly would not only get us to the 90-point mark but also give us a boost of confidence for the stretch run. As Boudreau said, winning a couple in a row would help us to psychologically put that recent slump in the rearview mirror.

Posted by: tmac2yao | March 12, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

I'll go on record as saying if the Sharks meet the Wings the Wings lose. I don't care how many times they've been there. They're goin down this year.

Kitty "I do think he needs a couple more games in Hershey, though, because he's losing puck battles along the boards. Whether that's because of a strength issue or a little bit of tentativeness, I'm not sure."

If he's losing battles against AHL players along the boards thats a problem. That was one of the flaws in his NHL game as well. He lost a lot of board battles for the puck. He was never strong enough to push forwards off the puck. And if he's having those issues in the AHL then I'm not looking forward to him getting recalled to DC

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 12, 2009 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Thinking about the future a bit, how difficult is it going to be to play our boys when we've got such contrasting talented goalies, possibly running 1A & 1B. Varly seems to be athletically gifted to the nth degree, capable of making the jaw dropping "how'd he do that?!?" saves. Neuvy is all poise, glove hand, and economy of motion, making the "how'd he do that?!?" saves seem like child's play. How scary would it be if we could find a mad scientist to combine the two?
I guess my concern would be how they would take splitting the season. Does anyone know if either or both of them works much better as a workhorse? I know some goalies prefer it (looking at you, Marty B) while others are okay to split time. (Okay being relative) I think Varly gets a ton of the attention and seems destined to be the #1, but Neuvy seems to be challenging the preconception, at least in my mind. Thoughts?

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | March 12, 2009 12:51 AM | Report abuse

the returning cup champs are the same team plus Hossa.

sharks and bruins will get dropped before the Finals.

nj-wings

Posted by: richmondphil | March 12, 2009 12:57 AM | Report abuse

Varly is far from ready to play at the NHL level consistently. He needs to work on his endurance and conditioning.

Neuvy, I dont know too much about, but judging from his performance last game, he has a lot to work on..

Posted by: richmondphil | March 12, 2009 12:59 AM | Report abuse

jmu_capsgirl:
right now i like noy-verts calmness a little more than varly's spastic flipping around - not that one is better than the other though. my feeling is that varly can hone his techniques and learn to keep his emotions/adrenaline in check. i don't know which will develop faster - but either one stands a good chance of 'spitting' time by the second half of next year. i wouldn't be surprised if BB rotates them up/down between dc and hershey the first half of the season and keeps the one that seems to have progressed the best

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | March 12, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

@rw-c:

I agree with your responses to FLDave and doughless.

If I go to a hockey game and a fight breaks out okay, but I don't want to go to a fight and see a hockey game break out. :) In other words I don't care if they fight or not I'm there for the hockey.

But, I will say this, I don't agree with the proposed rule changes. If fighting is in the game and two players agree to drop the mitts let 'em go and give 'em 5 minute majors just like now.

Posted by: BetterOffWithFederov | March 12, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

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