Matt Bradley on blood, fights and stitches
Since this has obviously been declared Matt Bradley Week, I'm gonna take another crack at this thing.
Bradley was on Mike Wise's 106.7 radio show earlier this week, and since Wise is never shy about asking exactly what he wants to ask, the interview turned into a nice extended discussion of the fighting ethos. (Listen here.)
"I don't know, it's just one of those things, it's just part of the game," Bradley said. "You know, to people who don't play the game, I know it seems kind of weird. But it's something we've grown up doing, and I guess it seems normal to us. I guess it does seem a little odd to other people....
"There's still nerves. I mean, any time you go into a fight, whether it's just spur of the moment or you want to go out and get a guy or whatever it is, in the back of your mind you're always thinking about it. And you obviously don't want to embarrass yourself out there. I think the key is just going out there and kind of forgetting about everything and just going on instinct. You punch him, he punches you, and you hope you get the best of it."
That's a slogan for you. Anyhow, I don't think there's any question that the Bradley fight doesn't get the same amount of focus and appreciation minus the blood. And Bradley again said that the bleeding thing seems to be a part of his constitution. He only ended up needing six stitches the other day, and he dismissed the bloodiness of his face.
"I haven't watched the fight, I just know halfway through the fight I could feel the blood coming down my face and I wasn't really sure how it happened," he said. "There was a lot of punches thrown. Maybe he hit me with a punch, maybe it was the helmet, I don't know what it was....I have a very paperish face, I guess you could say. If the wind blows the right way, I get cut, and it looks like I'm in a horror film. I'm a bleeder and I cut easily, so that's probably not a good thing. Lots of times those cuts look a lot worse than they actually are. Going off, I guess, with my face bloody doesn't look too good, but when you get off there and clean it up, it's one little cut and it's easily stitched up."
Bradley said in juniors he was the sort of guy others would fight to protect, and that he didn't really turn toughness into an attribute until he got to the NHL. He said Donald Brashear used to offer him pointers, that they remain friendly, and that he had no plans to engage his former teammate, "not if I ever wanted to have my face resemble anything like it does right now."
"I mean, Brash, he's one of the toughest guys of all time," Bradley said. "The guys he fights, I'm not gonna be fighting. You know, those guys are definitely in the heavyweight division and I'm nowhere near that. But for me, it's just a matter of if you need to stick up for your teammates every once in a while. If it's the right time, I'll do it, but our team I think now prides itself more on everyone playing and contributing from a hockey aspect. Fights'll happen, but it's not something that any of us go out and look for."
So why did the Aaron Voros thing happen? Well, the two have a brief history--two prior fights--but the way the game had been going and the Caps' one-goal deficit also figured in.
"It was just kind of the time," Bradley said. "We got out on the ice together, they had kind of taken it to us for the first 10 minutes, and he came out and we kind of looked at each other and knew it was gonna happen. I went out there, then I think he came on after I did. He might have actually tapped me on the back of the legs on the way by, and then I just looked over and saw it was him, and I guess the rest is history."
(Want more? Japers' Rink goes inside the Bradley numbers, and notes that "he's become one of the team's best penalty-killers, and has more points per 60 minutes than either Alexander Semin or Brooks Laich - with considerably less skilled linemates." National Geographic writes about his environmental concerns, with Bradley noting that he and his wife "are hoping in the next little while to build our house back home as close to off-the-grid as we can, and even that isn't a hard thing to do. It's a choice you have to make."
And Dan Daly does the praise-of-Bradley piece, writing that "By the time the officials pulled [Tuesday's combatants] apart, Bradley looked like one of the victims in a slasher movie. There was blood coursing down his face, blood polka-dotting his jersey.)
(Wise also baited Bradley into commenting on Sean Avery, and he did a dang good job of that, as well.
"You know what, that guy, to me, I don't even really think that much about him," Bradley said. "He's out there trying to get attention, that's what he wants, he wants attention....He's just another guy, look at me, trying to do stuff to get on TV and stuff.....He is a good player and he could be effective, but he's more interested in getting publicity than being a good hockey player, to me. And if that's what he wants to do, that's what he wants to do. I have no control over that.")
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