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Ovechkin, Brashear and Fighting

At last year's Skillz thing. (By Bruce Bennett - Getty)

So when I was talking to Donald Brashear about his Russian language lessons, I also managed to ask what he thought about Alexander Semin's recent experiment with the pugilistic arts.

"I'm hoping it was his last one," Brashear said.

Then I asked whether he had offered up any tips to Semin.

"No, because I don't really want him to do that again," Brashear said. "The thing is, people make fun of it, but it's probably his first or second fight ever, you know? And that's not that guy's game, and you don't want him doing that. He might hurt his hand, too, so that's what I tell him. I tell him, 'Don't do that, other guys do that.' We need him out there to score goals.

"And even Ovie asks me at times, 'I want to learn how to fight.' "

Wait, huh? Alex Ovechkin wants fighting lessons, really?

"Ovie's that type of guy, always wants to take his game to another level," Brashear continued. "And he's a competitive guy, and he sees a good player that fights; well, he wants to learn how to fight so he can be better at it. He's just that type of guy. I mean, I didn't say no, but I said, 'Well, make sure you learn a few lessons before you start doing this. You need a little experience.' "

I wasn't sure how serious Brashear was being--and actually, I'm still not--but I asked him whether he's actually helping Ovechkin learn how to fight.

"Not yet," Brashear said. "We'll work on it. Might as well. Because he's stubborn, I know he'll do it anyway, so might as well."

Later, I briefly asked Ovechkin whether he was really trying to pick up fighting tips from Brashear, and he clarified, saying he wants to be prepared just in case anything happens, but that he has no intention of becoming a brawler.

"Show me how I have to do something if somebody grab me," he said he asked Brashear. "It's normal thing. I don't want to fight. I don't want to get hurt. I'm terrible fighter. Probably worse than Sasha."

Earlier, Ovechkin had joked that Semin "hits pretty cool, actually," but when another media person now asked jokingly about Semin's fight, Ovechkin bristled a bit.

"Well, he do it for our team," he said of Semin. "And he fight. I want to see if you go over there and fight with Staal, and how you're gonna be fighting."

I also asked Bruce Boudreau what he thought about a Brashear tutorial for his best player; "I SEE NOTHING!" Boudreau joked, quoting Sergeant Schultz. "No, we don't want Alex to fight," he added, "but, I mean, if he wants to learn how to defend himself better than he does, then more power to him."

Also, Ovechkin was indeed practicing his bounce-the-puck-on-his-stick and then 360-tomahawk-it maneuver he'll use in the skillz competition yesterday, for the benefit of a visiting film crew. I saw him make six attempts, bouncing the puck on his stick anywhere from three to nine times before the 360 spin. The last time, he made solid contact, but his stick snapped, and the puck went wide.

"Pretty good, but he has to hit the net," Jose Theodore said.

"I taught him whatever it is," Matt Bradley said, of Ovechkin's trickery.

"I just show my old trick," Ovechkin told WJLA. "I broke my stick over there, so I probably tried too hard."

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 9, 2009; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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I love the Caps related stories. Nicely done! Keep up the good work! :-)

Posted by: ShariLeigh131 | January 9, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Broke his stick again, eh? That's been a recurring theme these last few games - is he testing out new balsa-wood sticks?

Posted by: jhorstma | January 9, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

haha good stuff. I'm all for Ovie learning how to defend himself, but I don't want him trying to become a brawler.

Posted by: SombreroGuy | January 9, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see him use a flaming puck - he needs to up the trick from last year.

Posted by: stormblue | January 9, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

@stormblue - A flaming puck would be good, but only if the lights were out. How about one with a neon light stuck inside it so it glows red instead? ;-)

Posted by: irockthered | January 9, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

This team warms my heart on a hourly basis. Where has this been all of our sports-loving lives?

Posted by: MarylanDChris | January 9, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Your really have to love Donald Brashear. He adds some real intangibles to this team. I was surprised not to see him with an "A" this season, honestly.

Posted by: DC_Flyer | January 9, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

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