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Boudreau discusses Matt Bradley's stolen fight

When Matt Bradley was preparing to play for Canada in the 1997 World Junior Hockey Championships, the Ottawa Citizen wrote a little profile of the young winger from Stittsville.

"Some scouts, however, rate him as skilled but 'soft,' -- a player needing to be more aggressive or more physical on the ice," the paper wrote.

Which is interesting, because Bradley's reputation no longer seems to be "skilled but soft." I mentioned the other day how he "stole" Alex Ovechkin's fight, a move that earned plaudits from Caps fans, scorn from Lightning supporters and praise from Red Wings forward Brad May.

"That right there is awesome," May told SportingNews.com, via Japers. "What Matt Bradley did was the epitome of fighting. Loved it."

Bruce Boudreau also liked it. He discussed the incident on Thursday's Mike Wise Show, saying Bradley acted on his own.

"You know what, it was all Brads," Boudreau said. "He gets all the credit, because he looked up at me and he says 'Put me on the ice next, because I've no doubt he's gonna go after Alex when he gets [out],' and he knew that. I mean, it's just a feeling. Sometimes I'm not thinking, I'm thinking who's up, blah blah blah. And so he knew and he was waiting and he was yelling at Eric [Fehr] to get off the ice because he knew Downie was gonna go after Alex. So when he did, even though it was sort of a little later than we were hoping that it would happen, he rushed over there to his aid. I mean, Brads knows his job, and this is what makes him such a valuable member of this team and such a great teammate....We want to stand up for each other all the time. And we may not have the toughest team in the league physically, but if we stand up, strength in numbers, we're not gonna get beaten up."

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 15, 2010; 12:37 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Comments

Nothing short of heroic.

Posted by: TheFunBunch | January 15, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Heroic?

Posted by: fushezzi | January 15, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

That picture of Bradley in the SportingNews link is 100% pure awesome. The expression on his face is all violence and punishment for what Downey was about to do to our franchise player.

On the other hand, it's a large part of why hockey does not garner the support of a wider sports audience. A lot of people look at something like that and have no clue why fighting is part of the sport, "Code" or no "Code"

Posted by: LouLewis | January 15, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Yes, heroic. I'd take him over Sully Sullenberger.

In all seriousness, if Ovechkin breaks his hand -- or worse in a fight, the Caps can kiss their season goodbye. The fact that Brads had the presence of mind and the courage to take a proverbial bullet for Ovie and his teammates is awesome.

Posted by: TheFunBunch | January 15, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I also like the fact that Ovie not only was ready to go but he respected the code and took his helmet off due to his visor.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 15, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

These stories would be even more awesome if they happened with more frequency from October-December.

Posted by: Section117 | January 15, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I can see why Bradley did that, but OV is a big boy and I would've rather seen him fight Downie for this reason. If OV had beat Downie down or at least got in a few shots then the league would know that A. Ovechkin can not only dish it out he can take it and B. Ovechkin can stand up for himself and won't hide behind anyone!

Posted by: templetontherat1978 | January 15, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you Templetontherat... to an extent. I would have loved to see Ovi land a few shots on Downie from a pure entertainment perspective.

However, I doubt anyone in the league doubts whether or not Ovi would throw blows if it was absolutely necessary (he was definitely ready to go against Downie - notice the dropped gloves, removal of facemask). In this situation, it was not necessary and Brads knew it. Players like Downie are valuable to their team by instigating fights and taking superstars off the ice for 5 minutes at a time. Players like Ovi are valuable to their team when they are on ice. Yeah, the game might have been out of reach, but heaven forbid Ovi breaks a hand trying to send a message to the league. Ovi already delivers one of the most brutal hits in the game. That should be message enough for players looking to start picking on the Caps skill players. There's always the chance that Ovi will LEVEL you.

But yeah, I definitely want to see Ovi throw some blows at some point, just because I never have and I LOVE seeing angry Ovi out there.

Posted by: MillBurray | January 15, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

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